Why English speakers ought to support Esperanto

Everyone, including the English speaking people, benefit from a world in which all the people in all the countries can exchange thoughts with one another. If ordinary people can begin a dialogue, beside those of politicians, ordinary people will not merely hold ONE dialogue, but thousands of dialogues. From these, new solutions for understanding and economic growth will flower and innumerable ties of friendship will form. Such a world will be both safer and more fun. To make this happen, we have to agree on a language that is easy to learn for international communication; a language that belongs everyone rather than to a single nation. This language does not necessarily have to be Esperanto. However, I am not aware of a more suitable language, but perhaps there is one out there.

Such a language is an important key to a lasting peace in the Middle East. Despite the wealth of oil, the Arab world is one of the worlds least developed regions. For example, 43% of all adult Arabs are illiterate, compared to the Third World average of 29%. Many millions of children, between six and 15, do not attend school. Since the caliph al-Mamun in the ninth century, only 100 000 books have been translated into Arabian, which is about the same as the annual number of translations into Spanish.

If you leave oil out of account, the World Bank statistics show that the total exports from the Arabic countries is less than that of Finland. Finland has five million inhabitants, whereas the Arabic countries have 280 million. Every fifth Arabian has less than two $ a day to survive on. The only way to breach the relative isolation of the Arab world is through raising the level of education and of language skills. Increased knowledge in an international language would pave the way for an influx of new thoughts, new technology and new solutions.

Due to the extensive enmity towards everything American or English it is unthinkable that the way to greater language skills would go via English. Only when the Arabic people begin to be able to communicate with and understand the outside world will they be able to choose their own path. Optimistic? Yes. Unrealistic? No. I believe that the average person is a peaceful being who wishes to live in a mutual understanding with the rest of the world. But a dialogue is necessary if this understanding is to be reached.

How shall we promote progress in Afghanistan? Do you have any idea?

There has never been a war between two democracies.

A Protection

A common international language is not a threat but a protection for those languages that are now threatened by extinction. A multiplicity of language is important as language is strongly linked to our identity and is also a carrier of culture. A world in which manifold languages and cultures live side by side, without feeling threatened by one another, will be a happier and more peaceful world, a world in which people do not have to feel alienated.

Latin, French, Portuguese and Spanish have all been dominating world languages and were all believed to continue to hold that position. One of the main reasons why the League of Nations did not take Esperanto as its common language was that the representatives of the diplomatic language of the day (French), blocked the proposal, as they believed that French would continue to be the dominant international language.

15 years ago Russian was the language of the Soviet Empire and was used for the communication between the different Soviet states. Russian was also the first foreign language taught in schools for those who did not have it as their first language. Today, English is increasingly used as a means of inter-state communication between the former Soviet Republics and English has almost completely taken over as the first foreign language taught in schools. Who would have thought this could happen?

Through the dominance of the English language, many people in English speaking countries have weak skills in other languages which decrease their understanding of cultures outside the Anglo-Saxon sphere. One only gains a perspective on one’s own culture when one has learned about others. A Europe and a world where everyone speaks Esperanto would be a Europe and a world where people could easily exchange thoughts and learn to understand other people and cultures. An exchange that everyone would benefit from.