Who Supports Esperanto?

According to an article in USA Today from January 27th, 2000, the Catholic Church in Germany has investigated whether or not to suggest a transition from Latin to Esperanto in this world-wide organisation. The article says that the Catholic Church has long been positive towards using Esperanto as a common language of communication for its members around the world. There is an international Catholic Esperanto Union since 1910 (Internacia Katolika Unuigo Esperantista, IKUE) and its newsletter Espero Katoliko was founded as early as 1903. The Vatican radio has held transmissions in Esperanto since 1977. Masses have been held in Esperanto since 1981, mainly in Europe.

When the participants of the 50th IKUE congress met at St. Peter’s Square in 1997, Pope John Paul II addressed them in Esperanto. He has held speeches in Esperanto on many previous occasions as well.

Some EU-politicians have already understood the value of Esperanto. When asked about it in 1996, only 84 out of 626 EU-parliamentarians were positive towards Esperanto. Therefore, a change has to be brought about from below, from ordinary people.

Text of a Resolution passed at the 1994 Liberal Party Assembly in Morecambe, England. This Assembly notes that:

  1. the Liberal Party is committed to supporting the rights of peoples in all countries to govern themselves under conditions of freedom and democracy, and to express themselves through the languages and cultures of their choice;
  2. the Party not have a commitment as to how people of differing languages and cultures should communicate with each other across such language differences, and that adoption of any national or regional language for this purpose would risk imposing the culture of that language group on the peoples of other language groups;
  3. the neutral international language, Esperanto, exists for precisely the purpose of communications across language parries, without any risk of such hegemony;
  4. Esperanto already has a history of more than 105 years of use, in more than 100 countries, with active practitioners of the language in many fields of government, the arts, science, commerce and industry, in schools and educational establishments, and in the service industries;
  5. Esperanto has a permanent world headquarters in the Netherlands with a salaried staff for all the usual requirements of a world-wide organization, and that the permanent organization is a member organization of UNESCO, in the category of non-governmental agencies, and also has consultative status at the world headquarters of the United Nations and other international bodies;
  6. the language, being totally regular as to grammar, word-stock and spelling, is straightforward to learn from any national language, by teaching and learning aids readily available from those many other languages.

This Assembly supports the wider use of Esperanto as a language for all governments and people who wish to use it.

The famous Italian author and Professor of Semiotics, Umberto Eco, said in a newspaper interview that “I see what is happening in France; they are still talking about the threat from English. Soon, they will be prepared to support a bridging language, solely to prevent another national language from taking over. We are in a historical time, in which it is easier to have a language accepted, even an artificial language. Besides, the artificial nature of Esperanto is not an impediment. Had I not known that it was an artificial language, I would not have been able to tell the difference.

The Russian author Leo Tolstoy has written, “For he who knows what Esperanto stands for, it is immoral to not promote it”. Do you agree?

© Hans Malv, 2004