Esperanto And The EU’s Unusual Revenge

This evening as I was looking at my youtube video feed, I noticed that there was a video from a channel I look at from time to time to feed my polyglot interests that had an unusual news report that I have been unable to verify.  The short video stated that the EU would shortly make Esperanto a working language in the machinery of its operations and furthermore that it would do so as a way of trying to wean the organization against English in light of the fallout over Brexit, since the EU apparently believes that Esperanto can be a useful substitute international language instead of English, and one that does not force Europeans to speak in a language that will become increasingly problematic given the political landscape.  Additionally, the EU is apparently going to encourage the teaching of Esperanto in schools in order to help raise up a generation of youth who are more proficient in the language.  The news item was brief but striking, and sadly I have not been able to find any news reports on the web to corroborate this yet, as this is the sort of story that falls squarely within my beat as a writer of obscure but important commentaries on the intersection of language and culture.

My first reply to this story is that I want to see this in other newspapers.  If one could not obtain the EU documentation, I would at least want to see this news reported more widely as a way of considering it to be more credible.  On the face of it, without some sort of corroboration from the EU itself, this is the story that would appear to be an article from the Onion or something like that as a plausible but ultimately jokey sort of message.  After all, as someone familiar with a reasonably large body of writing in and about Esperanto [1], I am also familiar with the large amount of criticism that has come for Esperanto in English language circles.  In fairness, much of this criticism is fair, especially because Esperanto as a language has often (and lamentably) been connected with left-wing political causes that are inimical to the interests of the United States (and now, it would appear, Great Britain as well).  This move is likely to make Esperanto even more unpopular among patriotic native speakers of the world, given the bad blood that is going on between the EU and the UK right now, and the general hostility of the EU and progressive interests in general with our president.

If this story is true, it would be yet another piece of evidence to indicate the way that international relations is a lot like high school or other juvenile sorts of behavior.  In many ways the Brexit is looking like the sort of divorce that causes nightmares to people who dislike that sort of conflict.  Picture the scene.  The EU spent a great deal of time wooing a reluctant UK into joining, trying to persuade it to caste aside imperial preferences in exchange for the lure of wealth through a common market with the rest of Western Europe.  Now, in the aftermath of a separation due to concerns about illegal immigration, the UK has divorced from the EU and there is currently ugly custody fights over Gibraltar and other areas.  Additionally, the move has caused stress within the UK, as Scotland has a strong desire to remain with the EU and was opposed by the vast majority of the rest of the UK (London and parts of Northern Ireland excepted).  Now the EU appears to desire to change its language rules to encourage Esperanto and discourage English in revenge.  If we needed more evidence that politics brings out the worst in people in terms of the maturity of their decision making, this would be precisely the sort of story that we would look at.

So, for the moment, we must leave it at that.  Future updates will be given if there is additional reporting that confirms the breaking news report received from an unusual online source.  For the moment, though, I thought it worthwhile to discuss this odd story, as there are few people who would know enough about Esperanto in the world of my blog’s readers to sound the alarm, as it were.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, International Relations, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Esperanto And The EU’s Unusual Revenge

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