Esperantujo estu la avangardo de socia justeco anstataŭ lukti por adapti al la mondo.

Tonjo del Barrio prave skribis, ke Esperanto estas normala lingvo. Mi devas konfesi, ke la problemoj, kiujn mi vidas en Esperantujo, estas similaj al tiuj de la cetero de la mondo. Tamen, Esperantujo ne devas esti tia. Esperantistoj povus stari en la antaŭfronto de la luktoj por socia justeco. Esperanto povus esti elstara ekzemplo de kontraŭsubprema konduto. Kaj tio ne ŝajnas okazi.

Temas nek pri raŭmismo, nek finvenkismo, ĉar la sama interna ideo estas aplikebla al ambaŭ. Raŭmistoj nomas ĝin “kontakto sendiskriminacia” dum finvenkistoj parolas pri homa emancipo. Ĉiukaze la ideo estas, ke Esperantujo estu pli bona mondo ol la mondo ekster Esperantujo. La malsamo estas, ke finvenkistoj volas etendi tiun mondon al la tuto.

Bedaŭrinde, mi plej ofte preferas esti en aliaj soci-justecaj rondoj, ĉar laŭ mi tiuj multe pli bone praktikas konceptojn pri socia justeco kaj homa gefrateco. Tiuj aliaj movadoj ne nur estas aŭskultemaj kaj ricevemaj pri novaj ideoj, sed ili daŭre kreas kaj instruas ilin; ili gvidas la hodiaŭan soci-justecan mondon. Esperantujo tro rezistas novajn ideojn kaj donas ĉiam la saman informon; ĝi estas malnova kaj multasence konservema, kiel aliaj simile malnovaj grupoj. Por ke Esperantujo povu atingi kion ĝi celas, ne sufiĉus adapti al la mondo; ĝi devus esti pli bona.

Bonŝance, ĉu Esperantujo adaptos aŭ ne, malnovaj ideoj kutime postvivas en freŝaj movadoj kaj klopodoj. Oni vaste opinias ke Volapuko mortis, sed ĝia celo ankoraŭ vivas en pli bonaj formoj. Ankoraŭ neniu internacia lingvo plene venkis, eĉ ne la angla. Eble neniu lingvo venkos, sed la ideo daŭras kaj ne mortis.

Por multaj homoj la sveda, kvankam malpli facila, estas pli justa lingvo ol Esperanto, ĉar ĝi havas iusence oficialan kaj neofendan seksneŭtralan pronomon. Lastatempe tio iĝis vera ankaŭ pri la angla, kiam ununombra “they” finfine aldoniĝis al la Chicago-a Manlibro pri Stilo. Kial Esperantujo ne gvidas ĉi tiajn disputojn? Kial ĝi luktas por samrapidi?

Iuj dirus ke “ĝi” estas seksneŭtrala por neinfanoj kaj nebestoj, sed se tio verus, oni uzus ĝin. Se ĝi ne estus ofenda, oni ne vaste ofendiĝus pri ĝia uzo. Eĉ Zamenhof ne povis preskribi la kortuŝojn de aliaj, kaj certe ne povis priskribi la kortuŝojn de tiuj, kies spertojn li ne komprenis. Kompreneble neniu serĉas ofendiĝi. Sed ofte en ĉi tiaj disputoj mi vidas, ke Esperantistoj pensas, ke ni ja serĉas ofendiĝi. Kaj tia sinteno, kvankam sufiĉe ofta en la mondo, estas minimume konservema, maksimume reakciema. Ĝi neniel estas progresema aŭ justecema. Esperantistoj helpu ripari la problemojn de la mondo, ne imitu ilin.

Pri la elstara bildo: Mi ne povis trovi konvenan bildon, do ĝuu mian katon Viki.

Áya Dan YouTube channel

Raye Chell Mahela

Screenshot of Áya Dan channel on YouTubeClick here to visit the channel

A bit ago, I set up the Áya Dan YouTube channel, though due to lack of time, did not upload any videos to it. Last night, I migrated my videos from my Esperanto, Ido, and Láadan YouTube channels over here, so there is at least some content now!

Goals

The goal of the YouTube channel is the same as the blog:

  • First, to be a collaborative space for people to post about, or in, conlangs.
  • Secondly, Áya Dan is meant to also give a platform to amplify peoples’ voices, especially when it comes to social issues. One of the original blogs that was merged into Áya Dan was “La Aliuloj”, which was started as a LGBTQIA+ Esperanto blog.
  • Third, to build original content around conlangs – not just translations of existing works (though translations and reworkings are somewhat allowed). We want to encourage the creation of unique content from people with various viewpoints and backgrounds.

And, all conlangs are welcome!

Contributing

Sometimes people send me little news updates and I will post about that, or if someone would like to contribute a one-off blog post or video, we can upload those for you. If you would like to be a regular contributor, and have access to the channel/blog to upload content whenever you have free time, please email me at Rachel@Moosader.com !

 

 

The Shoe Doesn’t Fit: How Centrists Maintain Oppressive Power Dynamics

There is a theory that political beliefs are best arranged as a horseshoe rather than a straight line, where extremists are on the left and right sides of the horseshoe at the bottom, and moderates are at the top and middle. This theory says that extremists on both sides are more similar to each other than they are to moderates.

As a trans woman, the worst part about transition for me, so far, has been the horror of learning that most of the enemies of trans people are not extremists. It’s never pleasant when extremists show up to troll us anonymously or commit violent acts against us (I’ve personally been a victim of at least three physical assaults at their hands that were directly related to my being trans), but without the moderates who enable this, it would not be possible. Moderates enforce their oppressive agenda more subtly: splaining, tone policing, false equivalence, playing devil’s advocate, free speech fetishism, denial of our lived experience, etc..

Even worse, once the extremists have put the humanity of a marginalized group up for debate, our assertion that we are human becomes just one side of a “two-sided debate” in the eyes of moderates. And you can always depend on moderates to police us in any debate, telling us not to get angry, saying we’re being too emotional over the matter of whether we should be allowed in public, etc.. You can count on them to treat “the two sides” as being equivalent. Without moderates, the far right would have no real power.

Recently I learned that Esperanto-USA’s land congress would be held this year in Raleigh, North Carolina, and I found this to be a typical example of how the Esperanto movement makes no effort whatsoever to be accessible to marginalized people, preferring to pat itself on the back over its inherent righteousness and goodness for “la tuta homaro.” A “debate” over the exact same issue on Reddit originally led me to leave the UEA and Esperanto-USA. Still, I felt like I had to say something, and I don’t know why. Why allow the movement to occupy even more of my time as I’m worried about bigger things than constructed languages? But I thought that maybe I was the one being unreasonable, and maybe if I would just say something, they would immediately say “oh, we never thought about it that way!”

Instead I found myself once again being dismissed and tone-policed by a cisgender man, this time from North Carolina. As is almost always the case, if not always, the man who was dismissing me and tone-policing me claimed to be on my side. Despite my initial complaint pointing out that the pseudo-repeal of HB2 had no impact on trans people, and my follow-up showing that there was widespread consensus on this, he repeatedly insisted that HB2 had been repealed, as though a nominal repeal invalidates any practical complaint. When I said he could not possibly understand the situation of a trans person, he responded by telling me that I seriously underestimate the empathy of other people. The fact that this argument was happening at all shows, to me, that I was overestimating it by ever raising the issue to begin with.

At another point in the argument, he said that the fears of “both sides” were exaggerated. To me, it’s statements like this that are mainly responsible for our continued dehumanization. “Both sides” are not the least bit equivalent, and this false equivalence leads to our basic humanity becoming a legitimate “issue of political debate.” The fear of trans people being harassed in bathrooms is real and substantiated; trans people of color make up the vast majority of victims of hate crimes nationwide, and unlike “male sexual predators invading women’s restrooms,” many instances of violent crime against trans people in bathrooms have been reported:

Apart from these official reports, 1% of trans people reported being sexually assaulted in public restrooms in the 2015 U.S. Trangender Survey, which was taken before trans bathroom rights were in the news. 1% reported being physically assaulted and 12% reported being verbally harassed. Transphobia disproportionately affects people of color and disabled people. I doubt Raleigh is special in this regard.

The fear of “male sexual predators invading women’s restrooms” is scaremongering by so-called religious conservatives, a cynical way to get out the vote to elect the candidates they want, based on zero evidence, zero reports, nothing whatsoever except their hunger for power and the maintenance of their careers. Trans people in North Carolina, and elsewhere, are the prey of these psychopathic political predators.

But these politicians are never the ones who do the footwork of dismissing our concerns; they have no interest in our opinions. It’s always “moderates” who end up falsely equating them with us in order to pat themselves on the back for how reasonable and empathetic they are. And in doing this, they practically become the principal instrument in the maintenance of oppressive power dynamics. Their “supporting us” and “not being transphobic” is purely abstract, and its material consequence is the exact opposite of their alleged beliefs.

(Rachel edit: Changed the URLs to links and bulleted them to make it easier to read)

La sorĉo de la Pastroj

Antaŭlonge loĝis Pastroj ĉe la supro de granda monteto, kaj ĉiu dependis de ilia sorĉo por vivi. Do ĉiutage la Arbohakistoj dehakis arbon. Poste la Lignohakistoj dishakis ĝin al lignopecoj, kaj la Tiristoj tiris ilin al la supro de la monteto. Tie la Pastroj diris, “Bone farite,” kaj ordonis al ili reveni kiam la suno subiros.

Samtempe, la Ĉasistoj serĉis manĝaĵojn. Poste la Preparistoj dispecigis la manĝaĵojn kaj preparis ilin por uzi, kaj la Tiristoj tiris ilin al la supro de la monteto. Tie la Pastroj diris, “Bone farite,” kaj ordonis al ili reveni kiam la suno subiros.

Dum tio okazis, la Kolektistoj serĉis spicojn. La Pulvorigistoj ŝanĝis la spicojn al pulvoro, kaj la Tiristoj tiris ĝin al la supro de la monteto. Tie la Pastroj diris, “Bone farite,” kaj ordonis al ili reveni kiam la suno subiros.

Iom antaŭ la sunosubiro, la Amasigistoj grimpis la monteton kaj amasigis la lignopecojn. La Pastroj diris, “Bone farite,” kaj ordonis al ili reveni kiam la suno subiros.

Kiam la suno subiris estis Fajro ĉe la supro de la monteto, kaj la Kuiristoj, kiuj dormis la tutan tagon, pasigis la tutan nokton kuirante. La Servistoj servis ĝin al ĉiuj kaj finfine la Purigistoj purigis la areon, por ke la manĝo povu okazi denove la sekvan vesperon.

La Pastroj ricevis la plej bonan manĝon el ĉiuj pro tio, ke ĉiuj sciis, ke sen la sorĉo de la Pastroj, la Fajro ne eblus. La Fajro estis ilia rekompenco de la Pastroj pro ilia laboro. Kial la Pastroj bezonis tiun laboron, ili ne sciis, sed ili tre feliĉis ricevi la Fajron rekompence. Ili amis la Pastrojn kaj esperis, ke ili iam servos ilin sufiĉe bone por mem aniĝi en la Pastraro.

Translation of Pepper & Carrot into Ido

Raye Chell Mahela

preview

A few days ago, Giles-Philippe Morin reached out to me to let me know that he and William Johnsson has translated the libre/open-source comic, Pepper & Carrot, to Ido.

(It is also available in Lojban and Esperanto)

It is viewable here:
http://www.peppercarrot.com/io/article234/potion-of-flight

Actually this seems like a pretty cool idea! Like a Wiki page, but for comics. I would definitely like to see more of this sort of thing.

Universalism, international auxiliary languages, and social justice

The universalist premise behind Esperanto is often described as “idealistic” and “utopian,” and can be summed up with its interna ideo (internal idea): “On the foundation of a neutral language eliminate the walls between the nations and make the people accustomed to each other, so that each of them will see in their neighbor only a human and a brother.” (Zamenhof, 1912, Parolado antaŭ la Oka Kongreso Esperantista; translation my own.)

In a sense, looking at everyone as a human, ignoring differences and focusing on similarities, sounds like a great idea. This premise is far from exclusive to the Esperanto movement, and defined many social justice movements in the 20th century. But unfortunately, it has not brought the justice it has promised. Inequality does not go away just because you ignore it. For example, if I associate with a group of abuse victims, and the group ignores LGBT issues because they’re a movement for abuse victims only, that doesn’t change the fact that when I apply for PTSD therapy or housing for battered women, my being transgender and bisexual can cause me to be discriminated against, and it has. Add the fact that I am neurodivergent and disabled, so my insurance options are limited, and the situation looks even worse. My issue is not that exactly that I’m LGBT, nor that I have PTSD, nor that I’m neurodivergent, nor that I’m disabled: it’s all of these things at the same time.

Last year I wrote a post, “How universal can a language be?”, which sparked a discussion of how an auxlang that was truly inclusive would be made. I think as a fundamental principle, any auxlang designed for the world we live in right now, rather than a future utopia, must acknowledge that there are differences between people, and that these differences often have a combined effect greater than the sum of its parts (intersectionality). This means allowing for self-definition, allowing for the people who have experience with something to decide how to define themselves, instead of following the gospel of someone who lived over a century ago and didn’t even see the problem with saying that all humans should see each other as brothers.

The criticism often raised by traditionalist Esperanto speakers is, “Wouldn’t this make it devolve into dialects?” Such a belief stems from 19th-century attitudes about language, where dialects were seen as terrible and unfortunate things, as “impurities” arising from the one true language. The ideal auxlang, in my eyes, allows for dialects. What does it matter if different social groups speak differently, if they understand each other? Dialects are not a problem, but snobby and pretentious attitudes towards so-called “proper language use” definitely are. And anyone who is analytic about Esperanto would recognize that even “fundamenta Esperanto” already has quite a few dialects, reflecting different schools of Esperanto instruction as well as viewpoints on things like the 15th rule (neologisms) and pseudosuffixes (e.g. changing -kcio to -ado, when underlying roots didn’t previously exist).

The goal of any auxlang that strives to create a just world, should be to decentralize the dominant culture, and to eliminate cultural dominance. Of course, it would be ridiculous to claim that a language could do this. Such a language must only be part of a broader movement, a means to the creation of a just world. And it must be considered replaceable whenever it proves to be unjust, or whenever people have become too rigid about it. The goal is not linguistic stability; the goal is justice. The goal is not to make people see each other as equals, but to make people equal.