Sunday Telegraph Nov. 6
Jen mia reago al la menciita artikolo, kiun afable afisxis Edmundo antaux
semajno. Mi jxus telekopiis gxin al Londono. Cxu la moderna tehxniko ne
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Joe Saumarez Smith’s article "Pop Star’s Words of Comfort for
Esperanto" (Nov. 6) seems to me to be a rather silly compendium of
errors and misrepresentations, coming from so reputable a journal as
Smith states that "Supporters of Esperanto … have turned to Michael
Jackson …" To the best of my knowledge, no supporters of Esperanto
turned to Michael Jackson; the idea of using Esperanto in his
promotional video was apparently the idea of his own creative staff,
and the first information those of us here on his own turf had about it
was an internet posting of a throwaway comment that appeared in your
own newspaper in September.
Smith advises us that "Esperanto has long been associated with
Marxism and anti-clericalism". This may come as a terrible shock to
the Catholic organization which publishes "Espero Katolika", the oldest
extant Esperanto magazine, to the Vatican, which regularly broadcasts
in Esperanto, and to Polish Solidarity, which used Esperanto to keep
the outside world informed of events in that country during its struggle
with the Communist government in the early 1980’s.
Smith also repeats the old chestnut about Esperanto enjoying "peak
popularity" in the 1920s and 1930s. A survey in 1928 showed that at
that time there were some 127,000 speakers of Esperanto in the world;
according to the 1994 "World Almanac and Book of Facts", the number
of speakers today is approximately two million. Some peak!
Furthermore, to state that Esperanto has "lost many devotees to
Interglosa" (which in fact has not existed since about 1943; perhaps
Smith means Glosa, a language which has received some publicity in
Britain in the past two years, though, to the best of my knowledge,
nowhere else) is, aside from the fact that there is no evidence of this,
logically akin to suggesting that every time a British schoolboy learns
French, English has lost another speaker.
Try again, Mr. Smith.
Donald J. HARLOW