Talib wrote:Here's a thought experiment. Let's say we have Language Group A and Language Group B. These two groups of speakers coexist in the same territory peacefully for centuries, until one day Group A gains power and implements policies intended to marginalize Group B's language and drives it almost to extinction. Later, this regime is dissolved and Group B begins to recover their former prestige. Laws are enacted making both languages official, and both are used in education and the media. Seems fair, right?
But that's not the end of it. Some of the more militant members of Group B feel these efforts don't go far enough, and demand recompense. They insist that their language be the sole official one in areas where they form the majority, although there is a quite a large number of Group A speakers there as well. In effect, they want to deny the same rights to Group A that were previously denied to them. Their justification is their past persecution and what they claim is the need to save their language from extinction.
Wouldn't happen in New Zealand however I can see a good argument as to why New Zealand Maori should be the primary official language in certain areas primarily because those areas are 99% ethnically Maori. However, English should be available in those areas, but only on request.
What I want to know is, do you find this justified? Is it morally defensible to deny certain people their rights if it leads to a rebirth of your own culture? Or is this merely a case of two wrongs not making a right?
Some obvious historical parallels include the treatment of Russians in Latvia, Anglophones in Quebec and Italians in Libya.
English, Russian and Italian aren't going anywhere any time soon. Two of the three are world languages and Italian is learnt as a second language by many as well. Quebcois though has the strength of European French to rely on, but I'm sure speakers of both variants of French may not be happy with such a statement.