Friday, January 28, 2011

Esperanto- The Language With an Anthem

The only language in the world with its own flag and anthem, the word "Esperanto" translates as "hope" or "hoping one" and also provides the title of the anthem of the language. The anthem speaks of the goal of the language, to bind the nations together with a common language in peace.

Esperanto is the only constructed language with native speakers, that is, people who learned it from their parents as one of their native languages. Estimates range from 10,000 to two million additional active or fluent speakers. Usage is particularly high in eastern and northern Europe, eastern Asia, Brazil, and Iran. A World Congress of Esperanto was organized in France in 1905, and since then has been held in various countries every year apart from during the world wars.

Although no country has adopted it officially, Esperanto was recommended by the French Academy of Sciences in 1921, was recognized by UNESCO in 1954, and is currently the language of instruction of a university in San Marino. There is evidence that learning Esperanto may provide a superior foundation for learning languages in general, and some primary schools teach it as preparation for learning other foreign languages.

The words were among the first Esperanto poetry, written by Dr. Zamenhof, the inventor of the Esperanto language, and the melody was especially written by French composer Félicien de Ménil (July 16, 1960- March 28, 1930). It is played at the opening of congresses. An interesting coincidence is that this anthem has the same title as that of the anthem of Israel, perhaps explained by the fact that Dr. Zamenhof was Jewish.

The picture above features the composer, Felicien de Menil, in a series of caricature postcards in 1912.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Georgi Dimitri and "Balgariyo Mila"

Bulgaria, "Balgariyo Mila" (Dear Bulgaria) was the National anthem of Bulgaria in use from 1950-1964. The words were written by Nikola Furnadshiev, Mladen Issaev and Elisaveta Bagrjana and set to music by Georgi Zlatev-Tscherkin, Svetoslav Obretenov and Georgi Dimitri.

Once Communist rule was secured in Bulgaria, "Balgariyo mila" was introduced as the national anthem. Interestingly, the anthem was replaced in 1964 while the Communists were still in power. One of the composers of the music, Georgi Dimitrov (not to be confused with the Communist leader of the time with the same name) also wrote the previous anthem.

Georgi Dimitri (born June 18, 1882, Kovachevtsi, Bulg. — died July 2, 1949, near Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.) was a Bulgarian communist leader. He helped found the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1919. After leading a communist uprising in 1923 that provoked fierce government reprisals, he was forced to live abroad and became head of the central European section of the Com-intern in Berlin (1929 – 33). He won worldwide fame for his defense against Nazi accusations in the Reichstag fire trial of 1933. He headed the Comintern in Moscow (1935 – 43), then returned to Bulgaria, where he served as prime minister (1945 – 49). He effected the communist consolidation of power that formed the Bulgarian People's Republic in 1946.

The stamps above features Dimitri Georgi, one of the Bulgarian composers of the anthem in use from 1959-1964. It was issued on 1949, the year of his death.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"The Wall of Steel", Taldir Jaffrenou ,Writer and Anthem Composer

Francois Joseph-Claude Jaffrennou (March 15, 1879 - March 26, 1956) was a Breton language writer and editor. He was a Breton nationalist and a neo-druid bard. He is also known as François Taldir-Jaffrennou, since he also used the Druid name Taldir ("Wall of Steel"). He was one of the pioneers of the Breton autonomous movement. He composed the National anthem of Britanny.

Breton nationalism is the nationalism of the traditional province of Brittany in France. Brittany is considered to be one of the six Celtic nations (along with Cornwall, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man and Scotland). Like the nationalism of many neighboring regions, Breton nationalism combines political as well as cultural aspects.

The political aspirations of Breton nationalists include the desire to obtain the right to self-rule, whether within France or independently of it, and to acquire more power in the European Union, United Nations and other international bodies.

Breton cultural nationalism includes an important linguistic component, with Breton and Gallo speakers seeking equality with French language in the region. Cultural nationalists also seek a re invigoration of Breton music, traditions and symbols, and the forging of strong links with other Celtic nations.

The French government's official position is to consider Brittany as a part of France, a position claimed to date from the time when the March of Neustria was controlled by Roland, but dating officially from the dynastic marriage in 1491 of Anne, Duchess of Brittany with the king of France. This could include a range of views, from allowing Brittany a devolved government to curbing wishes for independence through to the extremes of banning Breton nationalist parties entirely and the Breton and Gallo languages.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Unexpected Music Stamps on an Envelope

It is always a delight to receive mail from friends and sellers with your thematic stamp posted on the envelope.

I once received a letter from Slovakia with a stamp of Beethoven on it; I was truly thankful to the sender. He may even be unaware of what he has done, especially if someone else mailed the letter for him. I was also pleasantly surprised when a letter from Macedonia had not one, but two stamps of Chopin on the envelope. I ordered an envelope with a cancel of the Macedonian anthem, and I got an added bonus of two stamps. I have not thanked him so I’ll thank him now- thank you sir! Good sellers should consider the thematic collections of buyers and should post stamps related to their collection if it is available.

The joy of philately is in the searching, anticipating and acquiring of one’s want list. The wait is even better than the actual acquisition. Sometimes, when a collection is almost complete, collectors feel a sense of melancholia, that there is nothing more to collect- as in the case of my Beethoven collection. If new stamps of the thematic collection are issued, then the flames of excitement are re-ignited.

The envelope above is from Macedonia with two stamps of Chopin, the poet of the piano.