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Tribute to Albert Goodheir

Twenty plus participants had a stimulating time during the annual Scottish Esperanto Study Weekend at Scottish Churches House, Dunblane, on the 18th and 19th September 2004; and, as always, the language level was high!

The main theme was Dr. Albert Goodheir, Esperanto poet, translator, publisher, philosopher and warm human being. Phyllis Goodheir, his widow, gave two touching lectures about his life, full of the personal touches which only she could supply. Muriel Shackleton analysed his poetry with numerous citations: Dr. Goodheir possessed a simplicity which only Art can achieve; and his love of Nature was Wordsworthian. Hugh Reid lead a fascinating practical exercise based upon the translation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: this detailed study shows Albert's genius as a translator.

Albert was born in Utrecht; so the Dutch theme was not neglected. There was a slide show about the Zuider Zee; and a lecture about the minority languages of The Netherlands. The texts for these lectures were provided by Sietze and Mia Kremer from The Netherlands, who could not attend in person because of the indisposition of Sietze. Dr. Sian Leitch read the text re the Frisian and the Twenty with the utmost professionalism.

David Bisset endeavored to clarify the philosophy of Spinoza, the scholar who greatly influenced Albert Goodheir. He could not say categorically if Albert agreed with every element of Spinoza's philosophy; he was a very independent thinker! However, Dr. Goodheir certainly was no dualist and his notion of transcendence very subtile.

The excursion was to Culross in Fife, a charming town in Fife which architecturally shows much Dutch influence because of commerce which began in the Middle Ages. Those who had not been there before were impressed; and the use of Esperanto was not confined to the short introduction in the Abbey Church!

The Study Weekend participants were delighted when William Auld and his wife, Meta, spent a few hours at Scottish Churches House. President Jean Bisset welcomed them on behalf of the Scottish Esperanto Association. The applause was spontaneous!

There were other elements during the weekend: a reflective Ecumenical Service led by Charlie Dornan; vigorous discussions; linguistic pyrotechnics during a Scrabble contest; Duncan Thomson singing his famous setting of Albert's poem, Rekviemo; and much more.

Once again: oni lernas per Esperanto!

David W. Bisset