Several decades too late to the ballgame, I finally got around to watching Lawrence of Arabia last night, as part of my ongoing David Lean tour. An utter classic, of course, but one with significant flaws—chief among them the fact that all the Bedouins seemed to speak flawless English. I don’t recalls a single word of Arabic being spoken throughout the whole movie.
That directorial judgment call got me thinking about the promise of Esperanto, the language that was supposed to unite the world as one. I’d always thought that Esperanto formed as a reaction to the slaughter of World War I (so disturbingly portrayed in Lawrence), but it turns out I was way off—the putative War to End All Wars nearly destroyed the language altogether.
But, dankon dio, it survived. In fact, the 57th Annual National Esperanto Congress is scheduled for this Memorial Day weekend. And if you ever find yourself in Eastern Illinois, I’m sure the good folks at the UIUC Esperanto Club would love to have you pop by. Just bring a sixer of biero.