11. Nobody speaks Esperanto. It is a failure.

Since 1905 it is held an Esperanto Universal Congress every year, which people from all over the world attend. In 1993 it was held in Valencia (Spain), then in Seul in 1994, last year it was held in Tampere (Finland), and in a couple of months it will be held in Prague. Only a few thousands out of the millions which can speak Esperanto all over the world can meet in a city -every year a different one- due to economic, professional or political reasons, but they amount to a figure significant enough to prove that assertion is false.
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12. Esperanto is a utopia.

Yes and no. Generally people confuse utopia with chimera. The former is something desirable, which should exist and which we all should work to achieve, such as World Peace, Goodness, Justice, Freedom and a long etcetera which nobody misses to understand -though unhappily many are missing-. A chimera is something which does not exist, such as drakes, witches, winged horses and 90 cents dollars. It is possible that the mentioned utopias will never be achieved (among which must rank that people manage to understand one another, that is to say: Esperanto); but nonetheless we all must strife for that all the same, and there are many organizations which undertake those goals, such as United Hands, Green Peace, the Greens, Amnesty International, and the Universal Association of Esperanto, to which we must wish success in the end, even if we do not agree in all their postulates.

Incidentally, Utopia was an essay about an ideal city written by Sir Thomas More, and a chimera was a lion with a woman's head and eagle wings in old mithology... So confusing them is confusing dream and nightmare.

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13. Where can I learn Esperanto?

Anywhere in the world. The Universal Esperanto Association (UEA), whose see is in Rotterdam (Universala Esperanto-Asocio, Centra Oficejo, Nieuwe Binnenweb 176, NL-3015 BJ Rotterdam, The Netherlands), publishes a year book with the addresses of their delegates and national associations in every country, to whom you can refer. Also, there are several Esperanto courses in Internet -even in this very web page!- which you will find very easy to find, but if you had any trouble, you could always send me a line here or in FidoNet -my address is 2:346/401.4-, or even in the Post Box 4461, E30080 MURCIA, SPAIN, and I will tell you the best and fastest way to contact an Esperanto teacher.

If you are the teach yourself kind of student, there is an excellent book in the Teach Yourself Books series, in Britain, which also publish a bilingual dictionary English-Esperanto-English, written by John Wells, former President of the Unviersal Esperanto Association and teacher on English Phonetics at London University. There is also a good two volume course book on Esperanto written in English by Markarian and Sullivan, attainable from the Esperanto Association of Britain (Esperanto Centro; 140, Holland Park Avenue, London W11 4 UF; telephone: (0171) 727 7821). You can also ask them for a copy of their Esperanto bulletin, Ligilo, and if it comes to that, you can also ask me a paper copy of Kajeroj el la Sudo, which is the Esperanto magazine I edit myself on behalf of the Spanish Esperantist Workers Association. Unfortunately, either magazine is in Esperanto, but then you will have an idea about what the language looks like! :-) In case you can't wait, you can simply press here and you will see the last Kajeroj el la Sudo (Notebooks from the South) on your screen, free of charges whatsoever! :-)) Anyway, there are many other courses here, in Internet, in French, German, Dutch, English, Swedish, and Spanish.Here you can even get Dr. Zamenhof's original course translated into English by the Secretary of the American Philosophical Society.

If you need additional information on this, you can also refer to the Esperanto Home Page in Rotterdam.

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14. Esperantist sounds much the same as adventist or spiritualist..., is Esperanto a sect?

Of course it sounds like that! :-) But it also sounds like "analyst", "anarchist", "journalist" and "specialist", not to mention "archaist", "rapist" or "idealistic". :-) Esperanto has never been a secret society, such as masons or Rosacruci, but open to every body. Many esperantists are very religious, but others are atheistic. We can't classify the esperantists as a definite group, such as chess players or stamp collectors, but a heterogeneous group of people whose only common interest is just their wish to communicate something -even if that "something" has nothing to do with one another-. It is, in a way, something similar to radio hams, but we are only much more objective than them regarding languages...
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15. Who are the esperantists? What are they?

They are people from all social and cultural levels. Some belong to the Universal Esperanto Asocio, others are members of national or international federations (even there is a "non-national" one, SAT which stands for "Sennacieca Tutmonda Amikaro" or "Friendly circle of Whole World non-national Group of Friends") of Esperanto. There are also esperantists who do not belong to any club or association. That is why it is difficult to give an exact number of them. In 1966 they gathered 70 million signatures all over the world to ask a debate at the UNO about adopting Esperanto as official language (which would have the 8th one), but the Secretary General, Mr. U-Thant, showing how little democratic such a high office could be, refused to carry out such a proposal.

Besides all these associations, there are other more specialized ones, but still world wide: philatelists, writers, rail men, atheistic people, musicians, poets, catholic, oomoto, historians, mathematicians, philosophers, radio hams, astronomers, teachers, and many more. Many of these associations publish their own magazines and hold international specific congresses in Esperanto.

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16. Do you think Esperanto will be inforced all over the world?

I not only believe it will not, but I also strongly HOPE IT WILL NEVER BE INFORCED. One of the reasons why I enjoy being an esperantist is because I like precising my words (and Esperanto is unique for this), delimiting exactly what you say. Thus, you will certainly allow me to denounce the violent nuance which there is in the word INFORCING. Sensible ideas, such as that the Earth is not flat nor the center of the Universe, or that justice is good, are never inforced, but EVERYBODY ENDS UP ADOPTING THEM, that is to say: we all end up making them ours. An idea can be defended, but we should never inforce it. Esperanto is not a religious faith, nor a football team. That is why we cannot seek converts, nor unconditional partisans. If tomorrow a faster and more accurate language or procedure to achieve universal communication appeared, my true advice would be to adopt it, and I myself would do so without a moment's doubt. (By the way, that is what happened last century, when volapukists discovered Esperanto: in Nüremberg all of them migrated into the new International Language, including their magazine). I concede Esperanto is not a perfect language at all. But it is the least bad solution which there is today to jump over linguistic and cultural barriers. I think in the near future, when the chimeric and so much loved poli-linguistic system at the European Community (that is to say: let everybody learn every language in the Community, which are 15) goes bankrupt in the most pecuniary meaning of the word (when there were only 9 official languages the budget for translations and intepretations were over $3,000,000,000 EVERY YEAR), the only possible solutions will be two:
  1. A national language being spoken by everybody (for example, English, French or German)
  2. Adopting Esperanto, even if politicians don't want.

The rest of the world has taught Europe lessons on that: Swahili is the bridge language in Eastern Africa -and it is not the national language of any country-, and all over Asia people can read Chinese characters and understand them. Once Europe adopts Esperanto, all the Western countries will follow, and hopefully all the rest of the world will join in, being so much easier than the English they can't grasp.

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17. Who are the enemies of Esperanto?

In the first place, the English-speaking countries, more exactly, their governments. The reason is that as long as English is the most "important" language in the world, they will be able to sell more films, novels and other products -and by-products- of English/American culture. That means a lot of money, and therefore a lot of power.

In the second place, the élite which in every country are competent in English and who therefore act as brokers between plain people -who can't speak English- and the goods from the English speaking countries. It is well known that agricultural products are sold by peasants twenty times -sometimes even more- cheaper than their market prize; and the difference goes to the go-betweens, that is to say, the brokers. At the linguistic and cultural market it happens the same. These people who "cultures" English and send their offspring to England or the USA to study will never resign their lion's share in the whole thing. They are usually well-to do people, situated in key positions which "generate opinion" (publishing companies, radio stations, television programs or sponsors, newspapers, schools, educational institutions). One of the half-truths they usually broadcast is that "everybody STUDIES English". What they do not say is how many of them LEARN it.

But the main enemy of Esperanto is IGNORANCE and lack of thinking it over by the general public. They are told that Esperanto is an artificial language (insisting upon the "artificial" side of it, as if it were a sort of sickness, though then they praise such things as cinema, automobiles and other artificial things, in an improper double language) which was a good idea, but then failed. If it failed a century ago..., why is it insisted upon nowadays? Failures were Novial, Volapuk, Interlingua, Basic English and many more, so nobody speaks about them any longer. Why are people still worried about Esperanto? Why do they still speak about it? Could it be because it is false that it failed? No, Sir: Esperanto hasn't failed so far. And it will never fail as long as there are people who want to understand their neighbour.

This reflection is not very common, but usually people "swallow" the "official truths" said by "wise people" who, in their turn, have never tried to check them. This ignorance about Esperanto and what it represents (planet wide communication at low population level, among the non experts, the laymen of any cultures) is something the present day politicians of every kind in any countries are fostering more and more (with the exception of the Italian Radical Party). After all, if we voters -in all- were more critical and had our feet on the ground instead of our sight on the cathode-ray screen, they would not be where they are now...

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18. If the enemies of Esperanto are so powerful and have made things so difficult for it, why should we be worried about a language which will never be adopted all over the world?

We esperantists are not worried for the disappearance of Esperanto or its future. What worries us is the lack of communication and understanding which there is in the world among people from different cultures. If there is no need of understanding, let Esperanto die: that is only logical. But if there are people who wan to tell things one another, make friends and seek for mutual help over the artificial barriers which languages have developed into, then Esperanto is still a need. The power of the foes of Esperanto is huge and have made things very difficult for us, indeed, but that power is not omnipotent and it has gaps through which goodwill and benevolence can leak through, and that is enough so that Esperanto goes on living and gives many people happiness.

Esperanto may not be adopted by everybody, but it has been adopted IN all the world. And the scarce and select population which use it can give an idea about what every culture represented by Esperanto speakers is like. International relationships are always enriching, but they are more so when they are not filtered by the official lies from ministers, journalists and other victims of the Babel Syndrome, like the tourists who have gone to other countries provided with just the "airport or hotel English". Stones (historical or not) are stones in Spain, Germany or Japan. But a Japanese is much more different from a German, Spaniard or Eskimo. And when these five people can talk to one another about philosophy, politics, literature or folk song without a dictionary or headsets, there is no doubt: they are talking Esperanto. That is why we should worry about a language which works, though not everybody adopts it. }:->

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19. I would learn it, but since plain people do not speak it, what good will that be?

John Kennedy said once: It's not what your country can do for you, it is what you can do for your country. People who learn Esperanto usually have a solidarity feeling for all human beings in the world, and they feel like having relations -at least- through mail with people from anywhere. What could I do for Humankind? The most basic thing is talking to them. If one visits other country by chance, it is possible meeting those people we have written to for so many years, and if we are in problems we can ask for their help.

On the other hand, there are esperantists who cannot -or do not want to- go abroad, but who enjoy talking in Esperanto with people from other countries, and so they offer their homes to host people from other countries for free, on the only condition that they must talk Esperanto to them while they are at their house. Most of them belong to a world net of "hosts" of their own, called the PASPORTA SERVO, or passport service.

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20. If everybody disapproves on the idea of Esperanto, they must be right...

That is not true. Not everybody disapproves Esperanto, nor the idea it represents, the lagoon which it tries to fill. But I will tell you who disapproved Esperanto most strongly : Adolf Hitler. This man and his followers gassed thousands of esperantists on the accusation of being red. His communist paragon, Mr. Joseph Stalin, executed thousands of esperantists on the Soviet Union because he said they were reactionary burgeosie. This couple of great asses failed to understand that Esperanto was not -nor ever will be- a given political trend. It represents a unique culture in the world, it is a critical attitude of reality, but it is not a political or philosophical doctrine. In Spain and Portugal, during the dictatorships of Francisco Franco and Oliveira Salazar, Esperanto was persecuted in word, but not in fact, as much as everything which was "not dear to the régime", but if was tolerated. It is in democratic countries where Esperanto has been able to develop comfortably always, though at times it has been socially frowned at. Nonetheless, in the USSR's satellite countries it has always been much more popular, perhaps because they all each have their own language.

When an idea is good for everybody, it is bad for the minority who holds power. And that minority usually owns the communication mass media. So they create opinion. That is why so many people condemn Esperanto without knowing what it is or what on earth they are talking about.

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