“One fifth of the population is always against everything.” - Robert Kennedy.
Many EU politicians are opposed to Esperanto. I believe that they see the language as a threat against their well-paid existence as EU-politicians. A decision to introduce Esperanto as the EU’s common language would mean that the politicians would have to learn the language themselves, and they neither have the time nor the desire to do so. If they do not learn Esperanto, they risk being replaced by people from their home countries who speak it. Under these circumstances, I think it unlikely that the proposal to introduce Esperanto will ever gain a majority in the European Parliament. The proposal must be brought forward in the European Council or the Council of Ministers as a demand from many of the current and coming member states.
Some interpreters and translators are opposed to Esperanto. Many linguists see Esperanto as a threat, a threat of unemployment or a weaker economical position. My view is that people with good language skills learn Esperanto very quickly. Under many years of transition there will be a need for interpreters and translators with knowledge of Esperanto. Furthermore, language teachers and translators will always be needed.
But those who work as interpreters, translators and language teachers are experts in languages. Should one not listen to them? Cannot they see the positive aspects of using an international language like Esperanto in the UN and the EU, better than non-specialists? One would think that this would be the case, but experience shows that experts have been the strongest opponents to changes that affect themselves. The examples are innumerable.
One such example is the modern number system 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc (i.e. the decimal position system), that was born in India 1700 years ago. What was the reaction when this system of counting reached Medieval Europe through Arabic migration? Was the innovation gratefully received by the mathematicians of the day? Certainly not. When calculations were made in Europe at that time, complicated operations with counting-boards were required and a university education was necessary to perform multiplication. Resistance towards the new system was intense for a long time, as the art of counting was reserved for a small elite and the thought that the people would have access to this fine art was a very threatening one. We all know which side won. This was a victory not only for mathematics but also, in the long run, for democracy and equality. As of today, numbers are the only completely international language we have. Read more about this in Georges Ifrah’s book “The Universal History of Numbers: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer”.
To my great surprise I have noted that there are a few people even within the Esperanto movement who oppose the introduction of Esperanto as a common working language in the EU and the UN. It seems that they want Esperanto to be a secret language for a small selected group.
Then we have those who are afraid of everything that is new or foreign. On the whole, though, I believe that they will embrace Esperanto as soon as they recognise its benefits because Esperanto will become a protection for all small languages. To care about your own language and culture is natural but ought not create an obstacle to understanding that other people want to preserve their language and culture too. We all have history to preserve and honour.
Many feel safe in their corner of the world, safe behind the language barriers. Perhaps they fear that their country will be flooded by refugees and immigrants. These are two separate questions. Regardless of whether we choose Esperanto or not, a country’s refugee- and immigration policy is decided by those who hold power in the country rather than by the refugees themselves. Although I may be accused of seeing the world through rosy-coloured glasses, I claim that in a world where many speak Esperanto, many of the reasons behind the international refugee problem will diminish or disappear.
Businesses focussed on export in the English-speaking world have a competitive advantage of the dominance of the English language. Many of these companies will work against Esperanto. This is foolish and short-sighted, as Esperanto will further worldwide trade and the exchange of ideas between countries. Everyone will gain from this, rich ad well as poor. The world economy is not like a cake in which there is less left for others if someone takes a larger piece. Everyone can have larger pieces.
Esperanto will, in vain, be opposed in some totalitarian states as it will be more difficult for governments to keep people in the dark behind language barriers if there is a common international language that is easy to learn.
Ideas of respect for the single person, of democracy, of freedom of religion, of freedom of expression, of the self-evident rights of women, of environmental protection, of economic freedom, of the destructive powers of corruption and of the contents of the UN Declaration of Human Rights can reach out into the world via the new international language, which in the long term will give a more secure world with less suffering.
Through Esperanto everyone will be able to take part of world wide knowledge and the political and economical debates going on around the world. The more informed a person is, the smaller the risk that he becomes a fanatic. No regime is likely to be able to prevent that some curious citizens learn Esperanto by themselves, perhaps through smuggled books or radio transmissions from other countries. Language skills pave the way for democracy. In the history of man, a democracy has never been in war against another democracy. This is a document of peace.
Why did both Hitler and Stalin forbid Esperanto in 1937? Was it because it is so easy to learn?
The apostles of hatred and dictatorship, they who shun the free debate, they who want the people to uncritical accept their preaching, they are against Esperanto.
A given and dangerous adversary to Esperanto is the international organised crime syndicates. Se above under the heading “Language, A Question of Security”.
Some counteract Esperanto because they think that there are other international languages that are better. Some support Interlingua, others Volapük, Ido, Novial, Occidental, Ling or Latin, not to mention those who feel that only English, German, French or Spanish would be the most suitable language.
Of course those responsible in the EU and the UN should investigate the different alternatives with an open mind and without prejudices.
Some argue that there are enough languages in the world and that Esperanto is therefore unnecessary. To this I can only reply that Esperanto is needed because there are so many languages. –2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2- = To know two languages is enough, and 2-2= 0 = No problems of communication.)
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