Esperanto-Asocio de Skotlando


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Language discrimination

Esperantists have a particular interest concerning language discrimination; it is not the only discrimination; it may not be the most serious; but it is wrong in principle and has many negative consequences.

In recent days I have noticed some flagrant examples. For example there was an interview with the Italian Foreign Minister concerning the possibility of Italy sending peace-keepers to Lebanon. The Minister understood the questions; but his command of English was insufficient to nuance any of his comments. His frustration was perceptible.

There is a tendency in the UK to interview only those who claim to be able to speak English: interpretation is not provided.

At one time correspondents were expected to learn the language of the country to which they were sent; there is little evidence of this now.

In the Middle East Israelis in general speak better English than Palestinians; this has obvious implications in relation to the ability to communicate a point-of-view.

Recently there has been another extraordinary example of langauge discrimination. Two passengers were asked to leave a British charter flight because they were not speaking English. So scrupulously avoid speaking Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic or even Esperanto. It was suspected that Arabic was being spoken; but these morons, of course, only recognise "non-English"!

We should be aware of language problems and prejudices, and the distortions which ensue; and be ready to protest.

The widespread use of Esperanto may appear utopian; but Esperanto is even more needed. And that need will not go away.


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