Studying languages can help defeat hatred
To the editor:
Here are my morning thoughts on the current local controversy. I really TRIED to abstain but it proved impossible. I can’t say I’m well-acquainted with Alma Marin, but I remember chatting with her briefly at the public library when she and students were putting up posters in the hall having to do with “intercultural understanding.” I was happy to see those posters, but couldn’t help remarking to her my belief that if local school boards all over the country could somehow scrape together the money to offer at least five foreign languages in their school systems, the need for war would go away. She seemed to like my idea.
In Tokyo I taught in the “Intercultural Communication” section of a language school that was established just after World War II, to facilitate communication between Japanese government workers and the Occupation authorities. A very idealistic atmosphere from the beginning — I was so lucky to find that institution and I stayed to be able to work on the “pet project” of my life for a quarter of a century: that means should be found to prevent human beings from going on killing each other.