Government Opposition to Esperanto
Today we have a guest post by Alexis Bonari
Although Esperanto arguably has the potential to serve as a unifying linguistic force, not every government has been convinced that such unification would be a good idea. Here are a few historical examples, by country, of oppression faced by Esperanto speakers:
- From 1895-1905, the Tsar of Russia outlawed all material printed in Esperanto.
- In the year 1938, the leaders of Soviet Russia ordered that all registered Esperanto speakers be shot or deported to Siberia. Although the language was legalized again in 1956, there was still strong government opposition to its use. It wasn’t until the 1980′s that Esperanto was once again fully accepted by the Russian government.
- In a 1922 speech and in Mein Kampf, Hitler stated that Esperanto was “a tool of Jewish world domination”.
- Iranian Mullahs initially encouraged Esperanto. Unfortunately, followers of the Baha’i religion began to show interest in incorporating the language into their teachings. In 1981, the Mullahs declared Esperanto a threat to the Islamic faith.
During the past decade, increased global access to the Internet has served to discourage overt government intervention in language use. Esperanto is thriving on online forums. Now that most of the bans have been lifted, many Esperanto enthusiasts hope to avoid further government intervention. It would seem that the language flourishes best where the least government regulation is present.
Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at onlinedegrees.org, researching areas of online universities. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.