Esperanto is indeed a living language, an effective medium of communication - which is why it was possible for people from a variety of countries and languages to gather in Braŝov (Romania) for a week in early August. The purpose of the gathering wasn’t just friendly holiday-making, but active, mutual learning among progressives of a rational disposition, working towards a world free of exploitation and oppression.
Esperanto has been in regular use now for 123 years, while the body organising this event appeared a generation later, in 1921, during a period of great revolutionary enthusiasm. Still committed to social justice and cultural innovation, ’Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda’ (SAT - the World Transnational Association), the association for worker esperantists, this year focussed on the theme ’The Economic Crisis and its multiple effects’. If, at the time of the Soviet revolution it was already apparent that a socialist revolution can succeed only on a worldwide basis and not in one isolated territory (even it that be a sixth of the world), today such global implications are all the more striking because of widespread, worsening world-wide problems afflicting mankind, such as war, famine and more generally, life-destroying poverty, all closely linked to political and economic circumstances.
What makes SAT unique is that it fulfills its educational, cultural and development roles by putting people in direct contact with one another, irrespective of ethnic or other origins, thus creating a direct network between individuals. Basing its work on mutual exchange of ideas and experience, SAT enables its members, through regular use of the inter-language Esperanto, to acquire the ’capacity to feel, think and act transnationally’ and takes part, complements, the work of non-esperantist organisations committed to social justice, whom it helps as best it can in the cultural sphere.
Another core integrating element of the Association is its non-partisan character. Because not itself party-political, SAT welcomes all progressive ideas that support the worldwide struggle of workers for emancipation, and leaves to its members the task of hammering out their own point of view and choosing the path which they consider most direct and most likely to bring humankind as close as is possible, to attainment of social and personal well-being.
In concrete terms, the Association fulfilled its constitutional purposes at the annual conference: on the one hand, holding its AGM about the work of the Association, both during the year past and for the year ahead; on the other hand, holding ’social forums’ on subjects generally socio-political, in a framework of one-hour debates, each with a brief introductory talk. Topics covered this year were, among others: Trade Unions in present-day Romania; Direct Action in Korea; Romanian Culture; Ethical Banks; Racism; the Labour Movement in the 20th Century; Esperanto and Ideology; the Economic Crisis. The outcomes of these discussions are reflected in the Congress Declaration.
It’s worth mentioning, too, that the Congress, alongside the serious, brain-taxing sessions, included an exceptionally rich programme of cultural activities, concerts and, particularly, excursions. As far as the concerts are concerned, it’s worth emphasising the work that went into the two musical concerts by Braŝov school students, who even sang in Esperanto. The children’s choir ’Kanzonetta’ also performed, in the impressive setting of a church nestling within the Preĵmera Fort. Something else that impressed was the near-perfect pronunciation of the non-Esperanto-speaking actors who performed Ionescu’s ’The Bald Soprano’, as translated by Georges Lagrange. Excursions included, among others, visits to Raŝinov, Sibiu - hometown of Andreo Cseh, an eminent Esperantist who popularised the teaching of Esperanto by the direct method - and excursions to Bucharest and Sighisoara, not to mention the post-conference excursion by ship to the Danube Delta Nature Reserve.
To coincide with the Congress, three new titles were published by the SAT Publishing Co-operative:
’Kanto Ĝenerala’ (Canto General) by Pablo Neruda, comprising nine poems, which the multi-cultural choir Interkant’ have presented on several occasions, in various places, most recently in the National Theatre, Havana (Cuba) during the World Esperanto Congress, to music by Mikis Theodorakis;
’Tuikero la harkio, kaj la cetero’ by Roger Condon, a young French soldier’s personal account of his experiences during the Algerian war of independence;
’Traktaĵo pri ateologio’ (’A Treatise on Atheology’) by Michel Onfray, an essay on atheism by a contemporary French philosopher, already known internationally through translations of his works into several languages, who will now reach a worldwide readership through this Esperanto version published with the enthusiastic approval of the author, who wrote a special Foreword about the language problem, in which he supports Esperanto as the answer to the Tower of Babel.
The Publishing Co-op have already, since the Congress, published another short work:
’Sonĝoj de Kristalo’ (Crystal Dreams) by Jérome Leroy, a science-fiction novella describing the adventures of two youngsters in an ice-bound, post-industrial world in 2064;
and already for a year there has been in hand an ambitious project:
a documentary film about Esperanto, by Dominique Gautier, who describes the everyday reality of the Esperanto world today, in 2010, which will be finished by April 2011 (further info: esperantofilmo.com).
Preparations for the next, the 84th, Congress are already in hand: it will be hosted in the Balkan town of Sarajevo, between 30 July and 6 August 2011.
Text: group of congress participants
Translation: SATeB (WORKERS’ ESPERANTO MOVEMENT for ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES)
Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda (SAT)
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