The Primate Diaries

Haiti-born hip hop artist Wyclef Jean has been one of the leading artists promoting Haitian relief since the earthquake. In this Creole version of his song “24 Heures a Vivre” (24 Hours to Live) on his 2004 album Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101 he asks the following:

Et si t’avais 24 heures à vivre
Aurais-tu chanté? Aurais-tu dansé? Aurais-tu pleuré?
Ou dit : oh non j’veux m’en aller!

And if you had 24 hours to live
Would you sing? Would you dance? Would you cry?
Or would you say: I don’t want to go away!

(Note: this is my rough translation of the French)

Jean lost fifteen family members and friends in the earthquake and the resulting devastation. On February 25 Jean received an Image award from the NAACP and on February 27 he was honored at Harvard University as “Artist of the Year.”

For more on Haiti see my posts How Can Haiti Be Sustainable?, Haiti’s Political and Economic Earthquake “Made in the USA” and my interview with the Inter Press Service US-Haiti: The Loan That Wasn’t.


  1. #1 Jim
    March 8, 2010

    @EMJ: A slight problem of translation. “oh non j’veux m’en aller!” means “Oh no, I want to go away!”. What you meant was “oh non j’veux pas m’en aller!”, which translates to “Oh no, I don’t want to go away!”. The french word “pas” is an adverb usually used to negate a verb (in this case, it negates “aller”). “pas” can also have other meanings in French.

    And yes, keep donating everything you can to Haiti. They need it badly. Me and friends gave up buying a new TV for our apartment and instead donated all the cash to Docs Without Borders, so no whining that you don’t have enough!

  2. #2 EMJ
    March 8, 2010

    Thanks Jim, though now I’m wondering if the translation should have been “I want to go away” (suggesting the difficult life of Haiti). The French lyrics are from a reproduction of the liner notes and I have no reason to doubt them.

  3. #3 Jim
    March 8, 2010

    @EMJ: I sure hope they didn’t give up hope yet. I understand that they’ve been through a lot with France, the US, the IMF/World Bank/WTO cartel and now the quake, but if they give up hope it’s really over. The return of Aristide to the country would really help.

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