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[email protected] | 03Aug2018 | Will Zuzak

Language Responsibilities and Indigenous Rights

Dear Infoukes:

The article by Neil Hauer titled "Putin's Plan to Russify the Caucasus" has prompted me to clarify my views on "language". The plan of Vladimir Putin to destroy all the ethnic languages in the Russian Federation and impose the Russian language is clearly a form of genocide as defined by Raphael Lemkin. This contrasts with Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary (a Mafia State as defined by Balint Magyar), who has recently demanded that Ukraine provide Hungarian-language eduction for its citizens of Hungarian ethnic origin. Ironically, Mr. Orban is a great fan of Mr. Putin.

Perhaps my views are tempered by my experiences here in Canada, which has English and French as state languages, but has a very large fraction of citizens of various ethnic origins, as well as several indigenous peoples whose languages are in danger of being lost. Nevertheless, I feel that my views are compatible with the needs of all countries throughout the world.

First of all, you as an individual have a responsibility to the Creator and to your ancestors to learn the language of your parents and grandparents. Their experiences and your interactions with them form a significant portion of your soul. An understanding of the history of your ancestors (on a personal level, if possible) contributes to an understanding of your own soul and your place in the world. The corollary is that parents and grandparents have a responsibility to teach their children and grandchildren their original languages, and that the state has a responsibility to provide (or allow) such language instruction in their educational system.

Secondly, as a citizen of a particular state, you have a responsibility to learn the state language(s), so as to be able to fully participate in the affairs of your country -- economically, socially and politically. Knowing two or more languages is an asset to both you and your country. It could/should also be an asset to the country of your heritage -- in a positive collaborative sense; not in a negative imperialistic sense.

Finally, allow me to explore the concept of "indigenous" peoples. Natives of Canada, the United States and Mexico are the indigenous peoples of North America. Crimean Tatars are the indigenous people of Crimea. Circassians are the indigenous people of the area around Sochi, Russia. Serbians are the indigenous people of Kosovo. These indigenous peoples form an integral part of the soul of the land in which they lived for centuries -- before they were overwhelmed, killed or evicted by conquerors or emigrated to other parts of the world voluntarily. The history books of every country should highlight the history of its indigenous citizens.

On the other hand, this does not mean that these indigenous peoples have a right to occupy and rule their ancestral lands to the detriment of the present inhabitants. But it does mean that they should be given priority to return or immigrate to these lands, if they can meet the immigration requirements and are willing to abide by the laws of the country. In my view, indigenous rights should have an exponential decay with a half life of about 100 years.

Yours sincerely
Will Zuzak; 2018.08.03