Hillel Schenker, Renato Corsetti and Leo Semashko
Esperanto and international Bilingualism for Children and Social Harmony
I was happy to receive your letter, and to learn about your website (www.peacefromharmony.org), which looks like a very positive and constructive initiative. I definitely agree with the idea of a multicultural and multilingual site, and the emphasis on building a new culture of peace and harmony.
As for your question, yes, I would be honored to have my report “Trying to Mobilize Global Will in Helsinki” included on your website, and to be listed as one of its authors. You can also include me in your distribution list. The translation question is more difficult, but what would life be without difficulties? By the way, I particularly appreciate the fact that you include Esperanto. I greatly admired its inventor, Zamenhoff, who aspired to create an international language. There's a street named after him in Tel Aviv not far from my house.
But to be realistic, in today's globalized world, English has become the actual Esperanto of the international community. Yours,
Co-Editor, Palestine-Israel Journal
September 23, 2005
Thank you for your kind words about our Multicultural and Multilingual site and for cooperation with us. I shall be glad to publish your remarkable report about Trying to Mobilize Global Political Will at the Helsinki Conference. Excuse that I have detained the answer. You have mentioned a very difficult, language problem, above which it was necessary to think. From my point of view on a way to the sustainable peace and social harmony in the 21st century two global cultural obstacles of general character or quality stand. The first obstacle is a hostility of languages, second is the hostility of religions. Both obstacles have a deep historical origin and general quality: it is hostility, intolerance, aspiration to ennoble the own language and religion and to humiliate other languages and religions. You have mentioned a question of language (about religion we shall talk next time) and have told, that "English has become the actual Esperanto of the international community". This statement is represented to me disputable, at least.
The English language has included less than half of the Earth population. Such countries as China, India, Russia and such areas as French, Spanish and Arabian (wider - Muslim), or in general refuse from English, or it is known only for elite making 1-5% of the population. The monopoly of one national language always is discrimination of the peoples, inequality of the cultures, which constantly reproduce the linguistic hostility and intolerance. Therefore English never becomes universal international language and its domination today is only historical period.
Probably a new quality of economic globalization and political integration in the new century liquidates the appropriate domination. However for overcoming linguistic discrimination there is no other way as an establishment of the sole, neutral and planned international language, in relation to which ALL the peoples, cultures and languages are equal. Such language can be Esperanto, which has a century practice, has gone through two world wars, and has penetrated into all countries and cultures of the world. About advantages of Esperanto as the international language the President of Universal Esperanto Association Renato Corsetti excellently has writtenin short (2 pages) article "Esperanto for Sustainable and Harmonious Development" which is published on our site: page 7-3-1. Without united and neutral international language it is difficult to speak about sustainable peace and harmony.
However the transition from English to Esperanto as to the united international language can not be fast, it will borrow 30-60 years, life of several generations. This period can be only time of the international bilingualism, when English and Esperanto on equal will be studied at schools and to exist in the international relations. For the new generations should give chance of a choice of the united international language from two most powerful pretenders for its role, and the appropriate period, and institute is necessary for this purpose, that children could study both the languages. International bilingualism is a necessary step to the united international language. About the international bilingualisminstitute to look on the pages 1-5, 2-2 and 7-3 our sites in more details.
Transition to the international bilingualism and overcoming of the linguistic hostility requires recognition of a united social priority, which for all peoples is made by children. only on the basis of the children priority, conventional in the world, it is possible to expect overcoming of any hostility, including language and religious, overcoming of economic and political domination and establishment of the new social order of the sustainable peace and harmony of humanity. only from children, as spoke Mahatma Gandhi, the sustainable peace can begin. only from children also elimination of hostility, intolerance and disharmony can begin. International bilingualism also begins with them. Priority of children and children sphere including up to 80 % of the population (children together with the parents and all the caregivers) excludes ground for hostility and is social base for a new culture of harmonious peace preventing war, terror, poverty and other social illnesses.
Our site is devoted exactly this. on it the paramount attention is given up to the priority of children as to that key, which closes hostility and opens sustainable peace and social harmony. I think that light has appeared at the end of an infinite tunnel of your Palestine-Israeli conflict your mothers and fathers should call the governments "Making children a priority in Israel and Palestine". The priority of your children, equal costly for you, will be your general humanitarian purpose, which will help you through 2-3 generations to eradicate enmity between your peoples. Between Israel and Palestine Peace and Harmony will not appear and hostility and violence will not disappear without this priority. The parents should live for the sake of children instead of kill each other in war and terror. As well children do not become the alive bombs - suicides if their priority will be established.
Excuse for the long reply but the question, lifted by you, is very much complex and includes a lot of the steps, on which it was necessary to pass. I hope the stated ideas will serve as a subject for our further discussions. You could publish my response in your Journal if it like to you.
Best peace and harmony wishes,
September 26, 2005.
Many thanks to Leo for his appreciation of my article on Esperanto. Hillel wrote: >There's a street named after him in Tel Aviv not far from my house.> I was there two or three years ago for the World Espernato Congress in Tel Aviv.>But to be realistic, in today's globalized world, English has become the actual Esperanto of the international community.>
OK, but things are changing. May be, Chinese is already in the queue. The speakers of Esperanto think that you have to go beyond the logic: the language of the strongest nation of the moment is the international language.
Anyway I am at disposal if there are questions on Esperanto. See www.esperanto.net for general information. Sincerely,
President of Universal Esperanto Association
Via del Castello, 1
IT-00036 Palestrina, Italujo
September 28, 2005
Dear Leo and Renato,
I appreciate your comments about Esperanto, and don't want to be misunderstood. I'm not saying that it is a desirable situation that English is the de facto global language of communication. I believe this creates a lot of problems, one of which is the spread of American-Anglo cultural imperialism around the globe. Language clearly has cultural implications, and I would definitely prefer a situation where the neutral, multi-source language of Esperanto would be the lingua franca of international communication.
However, today, and for the forseeable future, it appears to me that English will continue to be the channel of much and probably most inter-cultural and international communication.
When Israelis and Palestinians get together, they in theory have three options of communication - Hebrew, Arabic and English. In reality, most Israelis don't know Arabic, while for Palestinians, speaking Hebrew means speaking the language of the occupier. Therefore, English becomes the neutral egalitarian language of communication. That is why the Palestine-Israel Journal, which I co-edit, is published in English, and our editorial board meetings are carried out in English, even in a situation where sometimes all the Palestinians present may know a fluent Hebrew.
I would add that in the beginning of September, I participated in the 3 day Helsinki Conference, with 700 delegates from 79 different countries. The language of discourse at the conference was English, with no simultaneous translation. The only delegates who spoke in another native language were a few of the Latin American delegates, who spoke in either Portuguese of Spanish, and had their words translated by their own translators.
I believe that all IFLAC conferences are also carried out in English, without simultaneous translation.
As for Esperanto, I wish it would take off, but I'm doubtful whether this is possible within 30 or even 60 years. Still, I admire anyone who tries to promote it, and would wish that learning Esperanto would become a required part of educational systems throughout the world.Yours,
P.S. Out of curiosity, is there any country or city where Esperanto is required learning?
October 1, 2005
many thanks for your message. I fully understand your position.
> Language clearly has cultural implications, and I would definitely prefer a situation where the neutral, multi-source language of Esperanto would be the lingua franca of international communication. However, today . . . - Really that is the situation.
>P.S. Out of curiosity, is there any country or city where Esperanto is required learning?
There is no nation or city where Esperanto is compulsory, but it is taught in many schools and university all over the world. In Hungary it is one of the languages you can choose in the middle school and one of the languages you can pass the examination to enter university (in fact many your people do that). In Italy, USA or China (just some examples) you find university courses regularly attended by students and giving credits for certain degrees, and so on.Sincerely
October 2, 2005