Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How Do You Say "Stop or I'll Shoot" in Esperanto?

There's no indication who distributed the pamphlet, but in its May 27, 1902 edition, The Evening Times of Washington DC dutifully reported on a pamphlet distributed at an international meeting of police chiefs which advocated the use of Esperanto in international law enforcement. I suspect that even in 1902 no fugitive could count on the German police being unable to communicate with the French authorities. "I'm wanted in Berlin, so I'll just slip off to Paris." But that is what the pamphlet alleged is the case.
It was pointed out in a circular which was placed in the hands of all the delegates that one of the greatest obstacles to the police of the world acting as a unit in the detection and surveillance of criminals has always been, and is still the diversity of languages. These lawbreakers, it stated, profit by these difficulties and often escape because of the impossibility of promptly advising officers in all foreign countries to be on the lookout for them, and such would not be the case were there a common language.
No surprise, really, that the document advocated the use of Esperanto. Alas, this seems to be a case of a solution desperately seeking a problem. Not that there aren't problems with language barriers that Esperanto would easily solve, just that this isn't one of them.

The pamphlet set forth the qualifications needed for this international language for police, which of course Esperanto easily fulfilled.
The petitioners stated in the communication that it would be impossible to give in detail the advantages of Esperanto (a language composed by Dr. L. Samenhof, of Warsaw, Russia), but it fulfilled all the conditions required.
We all know that Esperanto did not become the international language of policing, and it was not a matter that the convention took up, no matter how positive a spin the article tried to put on it.
The convention took on action on the proposition on account of pressure of other business, but it is understood that the suggestion met with general approval.
At the time of the convention, Esperanto was not yet 15 years old, and its own convention was still three years in the future.

Oh, and it's "haltu aŭ mi pafos!"

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1 comment:

  1. All the conflicts in the world, including places where English is vastly taught, are the same as 135 years ago. China is willing to go to war with Japan, Vietnam and the Phillipines over uninhabited Islands, Ukraine's borders are in dispute. I am happy that I have friends in all these regions in Esperanto, have traveled to 34 countries using Esperanto. The quality of any relationship that I have with a foreigner who has studied English for 10 years is of a odd quality that I or any individual of high morals cannot accept. Quality relationship NOT business relationships are available for all those who choose Esperanto. English will come and go as has Latin, French and German as languages of culture, music, diplomacy and most notably MILITARISM.


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