Kapuściński: “In What Language…?”

From Ryszard Kapuscinski’s book Shah of Shahs (about the last Shah of Iran):

All over the world, at any hour, on a million screens an infinite number of people are saying something to us, trying to convince us of something, gesturing, making faces, getting excited, smiling, nodding their heads, pointing their fingers, and we don’t know what it’s about, what they want from us, what they are summoning us to. They might as well have come from a distance planet — an enormous army of public relations experts from Venus or Mars — yet they are our kin, with the same bones and blood as ours, with lips that move and audible voices, but we cannot understand a word. In what language will the universal dialogue of humanity be carried out? Several hundred languages are fighting for recognition and promotion; the language barriers are rising. Deafness and incomprehension are multiplying.

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