"Why Esperanto Is Different" somehow links Occidental language to Naziism

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How? By simply putting the two of them together in the same paragraph in the hopes that it will somehow associate the one with the other. It's actually quite fascinating in its brazenness and yet lack of a single valid reason why the two are supposed to be related. First the title:

4. OCCIDENTAL - The Reaction of Classicists, Linguists with a Grudge and the Nazis
Ooh, Occidental is related to Nazis, I'm all ears. The article continues:
The reaction to Esperanto’s success evident in the Ido project was to deepen and grow darker with the advent of nationalist extremism in Europe and the anti-Semitism of the Nazis. For Hitler, the explanation was much simpler, as expressed in his autobiography Mein Kampf, published in 1925.…

As long as the Jew has not become the master of the other peoples, he must speak their languages whether he likes it or not, but as soon as they became his slaves, they would all have to learn a universal language (Esperanto, for instance!),
Got it, Hitler didn't like Jews and didn't like Esperanto either. Next?
Hitler had struck a raw nerve with other German nationalists and right wing intellectuals in other nations who opposed Esperanto due to its relative success among the working class and the Jewish background and internationalist sentiments of its founder. Edgar de Wahl, an Estonian linguist, praised Esperanto but objected strongly to what he felt was its “unnatural” non-Western character. His own proposal termed Occidental set the tone for other similar proposals that rejected the “schematic“ nature of Esperanto, one of the most attractive features for ease of learning the language but aesthetically rejected by all those who demanded a devised language that would appear “natural."
Er...what? The first sentence is about Hitler and Esperanto, then all of a sudden it completely switches gears and goes into a simple introduction to why Occidental was created. Maybe I can do the same thing. Let's link Esperanto to the outbreak of World War I:
The world's first international Esperanto congress took place in 1905 when 688 Esperantists from twenty countries travelled to Boulogne-sur-Mer (France) and demonstrated that Esperanto, hitherto only used for correspondence and at small gatherings, was also a successful international language for large, multi-national meetings. Less than 10 years later Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins coordinated by Danilo Ilić. The bombing and murders of June 28 led to the outbreak of World War I a month later, a global war which took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths.
Hey, it works! Not to mention that Occidental was created in 1922 before there was such a thing as Naziism. Wikipedia in Esperanto sets the author straight:
Sekve, ankaŭ la lastajn volapukistojn kaj idistoj de Germanio, tiam jam tre malviglajn, naziistoj persekutis. Do, ili kontraŭbatalis ne nur Esperanton, sed eĉ la ideon mem pri internacia lingvo.
The article is full of unsubstantiated allegations / errors of this nature. Here's another obvious one:
3. The IDO “HERESY” - Active French Opposition to Esperanto in the League of Nations
Uh, the League of Nations didn't exist until 12 years after Ido was created. Sure, there was French opposition in the League of Nations but once again you don't get to link the two together just by writing them next to each other.

So, how many other errors and unsubstantiated allegations can you find in the article?


Edit: Olivier has added some relevant information to the subject so I'll just add it here:

Sellamat Dave ed dank ob publievs tod article con relevant observations!

I can add some unsubstantiated allegations.

In the same years when Ido was created (1908), Zamenhof was awarded the prestigious "Palmes Académiques" by the French Minister of Education. Those interested by theories of government conspiracy should better watch the new X-Files movie.

The "French plot theory" at the League of Nations is exaggerated, and even wrong. Don't forget that, at this time, there were proportionally far less French speaking countries represented at the LoN than today at the UN since colonies were not independent...

Another version is provided by Von Wahl himself:

The League of Nations had indeed appointed a Commission to review the feasibility of the adoption of Esperanto, but the Report was catastrophic for this one, emphazising the artificiality and the barbarian outlook of Zamenhof's invention.

And that's the only truth (today, we could add its eurocentricism).

Why don't Esperantists publish this report instead of accusing the French authorities which rewarded Zamenhof?



Remush said...

abour "The League of Nations had indeed appointed a Commission to review the feasibility of the adoption of Esperanto, but the Report was catastrophic for this one, emphazising the artificiality and the barbarian outlook of Zamenhof's invention."

Interesting. Could you give a link to this report?
Was it unbiased?

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