The right-wing British establishment newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, carries a typically dismissive article on the Liet International Song Contest, which was held last week. The competition is an opportunity for musical artists from the minority language communities of the European Union to compete with each other. Through the Liet International organisation, which stages the event, bands, singers, schools, sporting and social groups from across Europe meet and exchange ideas and support. Which probably adds to the DT’s anglophone ire:

“The “alternative” Eurovision Song Contest was staged on Saturday night, open only to entries in tongues which few people understand. Funding, of course, came from the public purse.

Although they might not have known it, viewers tuning in to the Liet International Song Contest for minority languages heard lyrics in Sami, Vepsian, Udmurt and Rumantsch.

Now in its eighth year, the annual jamboree is funded by European taxpayers to the tune of £86,000, including £12,000 in the past three years from the Council of Europe which Britain contributes to and is currently chairing.

Organisers claim that the contest “promotes tolerance, multilingualism, friendships and combats racism and eventual risks of ethnic conflicts” – but despite its honourable intentions, the competition has yet to make an impact in the music world.”

That so? No impact in the music world?

“An estimated six million television viewers across Europe watched the latest contest, staged in Udine, northern Italy, and aired on Italian national television as well as channels in Norway, Spain and Sweden.”

So it made some impact then. In the real world of real life communities and peoples. Perhaps one of the DT’s commentators best sums up the paper’s attitude to the contest.

“The fascination with obscure minority tongues is highly divisive and socially destructive, largely for the reason that they are perceived as intrinsic features of ethnic identity, which results in hugely inflated egos of ethnic minorities, who believe their tongues are rare, unique and in need of preservation… Why don’t we focus on the common features rather than on dubious divisive markers? …with languages designed for communication, what is the point of broadcasting obscure messages in minority tongues across the widest European audience?”

Spoken like a true Anglophone. I wonder has he heard of Fine Gael?

1 comment on “Mind Your Language, Please!

  1. Typical lack of respect for the beauty of diversity in the world.

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