PEN Club and endangered languages

B. K. Rana bk_rana at YAHOO.COM
Sat Nov 29 00:29:34 UTC 2003

Dear Members in the Language List,
I am working on Kusunda language of the Himalayan
Kingdom of Nepal. I believe this language is one of
the oldest languages of the world. I have found this
language having remarkable similarities with some of
the indigenous languages across the world.

B. K. Rana
Cambridge, MA

--- Lucas Husgen <lhusgen at KIROGI.DEMON.NL> wrote:
> At the opening of the PEN Club Writers World
> Congress 2003 in Mexico
> Cuidad the speech below was delivered, concerning
> endangered cultural
> diversity worldwide.
> Best,
> Lucas Hüsgen
> ---
> Dear PEN Colleagues:
> The "Americas" Congress, which will take place in
> Mexico City from
> November 22- 28, 2003, is the first World Congress
> of Writers of the new
> millennium to be held on the American Continent.
> The Congress theme, "Cultural Diversity and Freedom
> of Expression", gives
> us the opportunity to work on two essential aspects
> of PEN's core mission.
> The first is respect for the human rights of those
> whose medium is the
> word, and, in particular, the written word, deployed
> either in creative
> writing or through daily narratives and testimonies.
> The second is respect
> for sovereignty and cultural diversity, which is so
> essential in the face
> of the increasingly antidemocratic tendencies that
> threaten to dominate
> the world.
> The trend towards economic globalization challenges
> us to avoid cultural
> homogenization and safeguard diverse ways of life
> and languages, many of
> which, as with minority indigenous languages, are
> already in danger of
> disappearing. Mexico was selected as the site for
> this Congress because it
> is a country where different cultures have
> cohabitated and coexisted.
> At the beginning of the 20th Century, Mexican
> philosopher José Vasconcelos
> imagined the existence of the Cosmic race, a product
> of the crossbreeding
> of all peoples. It now seems that new communication
> technologies have
> outrun us so that the ideal of a completely
> mixed-race humanity living in
> equality, free from the intolerances that often lead
> to war and conflict,
> has been replaced by a "globalized humanity" whose
> characteristics are
> social injustice and cultural homogeneity.
> Near the end of the 20th Century, we realized that
> perhaps the main cause
> for the economic and spiritual underdevelopment of
> many nations has been
> the lack of respect for the cultural and economic
> rights of the
> individual. That is why, through this Congress, we
> wish to call attention
> to the fact that human development cannot be
> achieved as long as we
> continue to push cultural, educational and economic
> rights into oblivion,
> and that it is urgent and necessary to view these as
> civil and political
> rights.
> Through this Congress, we are attempting to call
> upon humanity to reflect
> on its values and its visions as they are expressed,
> in their highest
> form, in written and spoken language. The loss of
> this cultural treasure
> would impoverish us and deny us the opportunity to
> use our knowledge of
> our past in order to shape not only one unique
> future, but the newest and
> best futures possible.
> The 69th PEN International Congress- World Congress
> of Writers 2003, seeks
> to show the world that tolerance and respect can
> only survive through the
> free expression of diversity.
> María Elena Ruiz Cruz
> President, Mexican PEN
> --
> There's nothing like the old songs, but what's the
> good if you can't
> remember them. Mem. Mem. Memory.
> William H. Gass
> Using M2, Opera's revolutionary e-mail client:

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