by “Nekredeblulo”

From all over the country, people read about Esperanto in their daily papers and in their weekly newsmagazines, hear references to Esperanto on the radio, see skits on television that mention Esperanto. Articles appear in magazines, comedians use “Esperanto” as a key word, the Green parties urge people to use it. More and more, the public is hearing about Esperanto.

And they will come.

They will call our 800-number. They will write to us. They will stop total strangers in the street, if the stranger is wearing a green star, and ask for information.

By the tens they will come, then by the hundreds, then by the thousands. And they will not be satisfied with just information. They will be overcome by Esperanto’s simplicity, by its clarity, by its usefulness. And they will study. And they will learn. And then... and then...

And then they will join our groups. Our cozy, comfortable little circles, where we discuss the great matters of the day, where the ebb and tide of history flow around us without touching us. Our clubs and societies, where we all know each other and where we patiently wait for the world to understand and come to us. Our get-togethers, our picnics, our monthly meetings with the samideano from a faraway land. Our type-written newsletters. Our little display tables and little Esperanto stickers by which we recruit mailmen.

Flooded out -- overwhelmed -- suffocated with these well-meaning interlopers. Soon, our club presidents will be forced out by bureaucrats, by newcomers who wear suits, by outsiders who want to spend money. Upstarts who will regard us as bumbling, ineffectual amateurs. Neophytes who do not understand that this is the way that we have always done things, and who will strive to make changes. Troublemakers who inquire about results -- and who “intend to get results”!

Friends, we are in danger! The flood is coming, and we must stop it now! We must take action -- drastic action -- whatever action is necessary to preserve our Esperanto way of life!

Here are some urgent suggestions.

First, we must set up a main line of defense. These strangers must never hear of Esperanto. We must avoid press releases and public service announcements. We must not talk to the press, or at least we must make sure that we appear to be fanatics and crackpots. No posters must reveal our location, no speeches our existence, no telephone numbers our reality.

But some will break through this first line of defense and find us. So we must prepare another bulwark, one that we shall grasp in our own hands and wield firmly. We shall pretend to be those people whom the British quaintly call “cranks.” By talking incessantly about the tiniest details. By speaking broken and mispronounced speech to prove that Esperanto in fact does not work. By using broken and mispronounced speech to prove that our English does not conform to normal rules. By uttering incomprehensible abbreviations and discussing as many unusual viewpoints as possible at the same time that we discuss Esperanto, by wearing strange and out of date clothes, by reveling in green stars. We can show them! We can keep them out of our hallowed, dusty halls!

Some of these immigrants to our clubs will be persistent. They will find us. They will refuse to be dismayed by our manners. They will seek yet more information. If they wish information, we must delay until they tire and go away. If they wish to learn, we must avoid holding courses. If they come to a meeting, we must bore them to tears. Or we must hold the meeting at an impossibly dreary location, at an unreasonable time of day, on an unusual day of the week. (And let us not forget to serve only the most stale of cookies, the most instant of coffees -- whatever it takes to discourage them!) Our national meetings, too, must be made impossible for these strangers: if we change to weekend conventions, all kinds of newcomers may appear!

Our literature -- forgive me, we must remember to use loaded words to drive off these aliens -- our propaganda should be written as badly as possible. It must make irrelevant points, be filled with half-truths, unsupportable arguments, twisted grammar, and typos. Mistakes must be corrected by hand on each copy, to prove that we can neither write them correctly nor afford to fix them. And, above all, it must be printed in type too small to be read, and it must be photocopied from generation unto generation, so that even those who wish to read it cannot.

One way to make sure we achieve these results is by spending as little money as possible. Spend nothing on propaganda materials, lest we appear capable. Use the cheapest possible photocopiers, lest we appear proficient. Forbid the use of professional artists or editors, lest we appear competent. We must also make sure not to get any money, either through selling things at normal prices, or by -- I shudder at the very words -- asking for donations. Far better that we give away books and lessons for free, or at least at the least possible price, so that none will suspect their true value.

And as a last-ditch defense against the horrid hordes, those who somehow find us when we hide, those who see read past our botched propaganda, those who come to our meetings despite the boredom and inconvenience, one final, ultimate weapon. Our newsletters. These, too, must be filled with inanity, written in the most tedious fashion possible, lest those immigrants to our cozy clubs think there may be something of interest. They must lack any mention of past or future meetings, lest those scum search out some chance of enlightenment. They must be bereft of lessons, lest those dogs learn our language. They must ignore the outside world’s every mention of Esperanto, lest those refugees be enboldened in any way. And we must never, ever encourage them to become active, for their one thought will be: “These people are incompetent amateurs and therefore we must change things.”

Friends, it is in our hands. Shall we turn away these menacing masses? Shall we save our little groups from being invaded, overrun, changed beyond recognition? I say we can do it! We can protect ourselves! We can defend our long-standing customs and our honest Esperanto way of life! We must act now! We must do nothing!

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