October 12, 2016

Need for a universal language; Esperanto

February 12, 1913
Paris Esperanto group
Paris, France

In the material world of existence, human undertakings are divided into two kinds universal and specific. The result of every universal effort is infinite and the outcome of every specific effort is finite.

In this age, those human problems which create a general interest are universal; their results are likewise universal, for humanity has become interdependent. The international laws of today are of vast importance since international politics are bringing nations nearer to one another. It is a general axiom that in the world of human endeavor, every universal affair commands attention and its results and benefits are limitless. Therefore, let us say that every universal cause is divine and every specific matter is human. The universal light for this planet is from the sun and the special light here tonight, which is electric, illumines this banquet hall through the invention of man. In like manner the activities which are trying to establish solidarity between the nations and infuse the spirit of universalism in the hearts of the children of men are like unto divine rays from the Sun of Reality, and the brightest ray is the coming of the universal language. Its achievement is the greatest virtue of the age, for such an instrument will remove misunderstandings from among the peoples of the earth and will cement their hearts together. This medium will enable each individual member of the human family to be informed of the scientific accomplishments of all his fellowmen.

The basis of knowledge and the excellencies of endeavor in this world are to teach and to be taught. To acquire sciences and to teach them in turn depends upon language and when the international auxiliary language becomes universal, it is easily conceivable that the acquirement of knowledge and instruction will likewise become universal.

No doubt you are aware that in the past ages a common language shared by various nations created a spirit of solidarity among them. For instance, 1300 years ago, there were many divergent nationalities in the Orient. There were Copts in Egypt, Syrians in Syria, Assyrians and Babylonians in Baghdad and along the River Mesopotamia. There existed among these peoples rank hatred, but as they were gradually brought nearer through common protection and common interests, the Arabic language grew to be the means of intercommunication, and they became as one nation. They all speak the Arabic language to this day. In Syria if you ask any one of them he will say, "I am an Arab," though in reality he is not -- some are Greeks, others Jews, etc.

We say "This man is a German, the other an Italian, a Frenchman, an Englishman," etc. All belong to the great human family, yet language is the barrier between them. The greatest working basis for bringing about unity and harmony among the nations is the teaching of a universal tongue. Writing on this subject years ago, His Holiness Baha’u’llah said that complete union between the various sections of the world would be an unrealized dream as long as an international language was not established.

Misunderstandings keep people from mutual association and these misunderstandings will not be dispelled except through the medium of a common ground of communication. Every intelligent man will bear testimony to this.

The people of the Orient are not fully informed of the events in the West and the West cannot put itself into sympathetic touch with the East. Their thoughts are closed in a casket -- the universal language will be the master key to open it. Western books will be translated into that language and the Easterner will be informed of the contents; likewise Eastern lore will become the property of the West. Thus also will those misunderstandings which exist between the different religions be dispersed. Religious prejudices play havoc among the peoples and bring about warfare and strife and it is impossible to remove them without a language in common.

I am an Oriental and on this account I am shut out from your thoughts and you like wise from mine. A mutual language will become the mightiest means of universal progress toward the union of the East and West. It will make the earth one home and become the divine impulse for human advancement. It will upraise the standard of oneness of the world of humanity and make the earth a universal commonwealth. It will be the cause of love between the children of men and create good fellowship between the various creeds.

Praise be to God, that Dr. Zamenhof has constructed the Esperanto language. It has all the potential qualities of universal adoption. All of us must be grateful and thankful to him for his noble effort for in this matter he has served his fellowmen well. He has constructed a language which will bestow divine benefits on all peoples. With untiring efforts and self-sacrifice on the part of its devotees it gives promise of universal acceptation. Therefore, every one of us must study this language and make every effort to spread it so that each day it may receive a wider recognition, be accepted by all nations and governments of the world and become a part of the curriculum in all the public schools.

I hope that the business of the future conferences and congresses will be carried on in Esperanto. In the future two languages will be taught in the schools, one the native tongue, the other the international auxiliary language. Consider today how difficult is human communication. One may study languages and yet travel through a country and still be at a loss. I, myself, know several of the Oriental languages, but know no Western tongue. Had this universal language pervaded the globe, I should have studied it and you would have been directly informed of my thoughts and I of yours and a special friendship would have been established between us.

Please send some teachers to Persia, if you can, so that they may teach Esperanto to the young people. I have written asking some of them to come here to study it.

I hope that it will be promulgated very rapidly -- then the world of humanity will find eternal peace; all the nations will associate with one another like mothers and sisters, fathers and brothers, and each individual member of the body politic will be fully informed of the thoughts of all.

I am extremely grateful to you and thank you for these lofty aims, for you have gathered at this banquet to further this language.

Your hope is to render a mighty service to the world of humanity and for this great aim I congratulate you from the depths of my heart.
(Star of the West, vol. 4, no. 2, April 9, 1913)