The Sôgmô has participated in the second summit of the Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie, a major intermicronational organisation for French-speaking micronations with members from the Americas, Europe, and Africa. The meeting was organised by the Empire of Angyalistan for the organisation near the location of their embassy in Vincennes, France. The Sôgmô attended the summit representing our country, which is a founding member of the organisation.
PRÉPARATIONS: Það receptum est
The Sôgmô met first individually with Minister-President Dominic DeSaintes of Saint-Castin on the evening of Thursday 19 July, after það had arrived from Reykjavík. Both toured the districts of Le Marais and Saint-Germain-des-Prés before returning to share a bottle of wine with Prince Jean Pierre IV of Aigues-Mortes in the evening. The following evening, on Friday 20 July, það returned to visit Jean Pierre IV with all other participants for a reception at the Aiguesmortais embassy in Paris.
DAY ONE: Saturday 21 July 2018
The summit began on Saturday with remarks made by General Secretary Olivier, Emperor of Angyalistan, and by High Commissioner Jean Pierre IV, Prince of Aigues-Mortes. These were followed by a formal introduction of participants including some well-known Francophone micronations which are not members of the organisation, like the Principality of Laàs or the famous Republic of Montmartre which was founded in 1921. A short teaser for an upcoming documentary by the society Vie des Hauts was shown to the audience, which included clips of various micronations and interviews with many well-known micronationalists from around the world.
Next, the OMF held a lively general assembly to discuss a resolution concerning fake news, though discussion was bogged down because of competing purposes for individual micronations who were present. A resolution which focuses on education for a critical attitude toward media, however, was supported by the Sôgmô and by many of the delegations involved in the debate.
Following the debate, participants left for a lunch session which provided an opportunity for the Sôgmô to speak individually with more participants, including General Representative of Padrhom and the Grand Duke of Flandrensis, about matters ranging from micronational politics to amicable person topics. The Sôgmô, unaccustomed to the lack of air conditioning found throughout France, left the dining hall twice to speak individually with other leaders, like the Minister-President of Saint-Castin and the Prince of Aigues-Mortes.
Upon leaving the lunch, delegates left to see and observe a local exhibition of micronational stamps at a local hair salon.
Arriving back at the summit location, delegates met with Léo Delafontaine, author and photographer of a book on micronations. He had previously photographed the Sôgmô and many other participants in 2012 at the Second PoliNations conference on micronations in London.
Finally, the first day of the summit concluded with individual papers given by three speakers and micronationalists. Olivier de Constance of Aigues-Mortes gave a paper entitled, “Micronations, Fiction or Reality,” arguing that the micronational mentality is a way of life and thus real. Grand Duke Niels of Flandrensis spoke on the history of the internet on the growth of micronationalism and the effects of different digital platforms on micronational business, ranging from Skype to Facebook, as well as highlighting the growth of provocative diplomacy on social media platforms; his talk, given in English, was translated into French by Olivier de Constance. Finally, Prince Vincent of Hélianthis presented the results of surveys given over a week under his capacity as Assistance Secretary of Human Rights on topics related to bioethics, ranging from genetic modification of food to matters of reproductive health.
In the evening, participants had a private dinner in Paris.
DAY TWO: Sunday 22 July 2018
Attendees of the Sunday session of the summit were exclusively OMF members, allowing for the day to begin with a debate on the work of the secrétaires-adjoints of the OMF. Participants not only critiqued the work of the deputy secretaries, but also discussed solutions about the business of the organisation as a whole. During this session, some thought was given about a commemorative week to promote the organisation’s values of human rights, human dignity, and pluralism. Discussion on the deputy secretary of diplomacy prompted the Sôgmô to offer þess services in acting as the OMF’s representative to the Organisation of Independent States, an intermicronational organisation of Russophone micronations.
Finally, the Summit ended with an exchange of medals, the signing of bilateral treaties, exchanges of protocols, and photos with micronations’ flags.
The summit was followed by a brunch which was well attended and provided an opportunity for the Sôgmô to be interviewed by a local TV station, Vincennes TV. In the afternoon, participants attended a tour of the local castle, its keep (le Donjon), and the Sainte-Chapelle of Vincennes where a manor was first built by the French king Saint Louis—founder of Vincennes and of Aigues-Mortes.
PROVINS: Sôgmô with heads of Angyalistan and Saint-Castin
On the Monday following the summit, það informally visited the Angyalistani imperial residence and went with the Emperor and the Castinian Minister-President to Provins, a medieval town and former capital of the Duchy of Champagne in the Middle Ages. All three had lunch in the town and learned more about the role of the town in 12th century fairs and the role of the fairs in the European economy of the time, as well as the town’s downfall because of changing trade routes by the 13th and 14th centuries. All three enjoyed their time climbing the Tour Césare and making music in the Saint-Quiriace Collegiate Church, a fantastic example of an unfinished Romanesque church with Gothic and Baroque features.
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM: Þess last dinner
At last, in Tuesday evening, the Sôgmô visited with the Minister-President of Saint-Castin in Le Marais before returning back to the embassy of Aigues-Mortes in Paris for them to enjoy a bottle of wine together with Prince Jean Pierre IV. Later in the evening, they were all joined by the Imperial Couple of Angyalistan at a local restaurant, before það returned back to þess accommodation near Vincennes. While at the restaurant, discussion centred around social and cultural topics, as well as topics about LGBTQ+ life in all appropriate countries. At last, the Sôgmô bid all four farewell and mounted the train back to Vincennes, only to begin þess 13 hour trip back to Quercus Candida, Sandus, the next day.
The Sôgmô’s visit to Vincennes to take part in the second summit of the OMF is a real representation of where Sandus’s international loyalties lie. Increasingly alienated from the old MicroWiki community, Sandus has been received more amicably by Francophone micronations than by its old friends and allies who are or were historical members of the GUM. Pushed out by the diplomatic efforts of countries like Austenasia, Sandus has turned its back on the MicroWiki community for the greener pastures of the OMF—where micronationalists are older, more Realist, and more practical about the aims and goals of their micronations. This change reflects the general Realist outlook of Sandus on micronationalism, that micronationalism ought to have a practical end and is accompanied by a change in mentality and culture, as opposed to the goal of the GUM to educate younger micronations and to (historically) represent a bloc of “Old Guard” micronations.
The growing diplomatic movement, however, has not been completely of Sandus’s volition. On multiple occasions, Sandus was forcefully ostracised from some historically significant micronational venues to the nation. In June and July 2016, only a month after Sandus helped to form the OMF, Sandus’s GUM membership application was denied because of what the Central People’s Government has claimed was false reasoning and misled politicking. When the State applied again in January 2017, a second application was denied. Finally, in January 2018, the State opted for observership, but many GUM members voted for Sandus because a delegate other than the Sôgmô, who later became inactive, was promised to chair the Sandum delegation. While the Sôgmô was meeting with OMF leaders on Sunday, the GUM voted to recognise that Sandus’s observership had lapsed without contacting the country’s delegation or government to prorogue membership, unlike what the previous chair had done.
These actions have been done because some MicroWiki participants see Sandus as a pariah, an image shaped by misleading media and conversations made by several micronationalists who have historically been opposed to Sandus. The 2013 media project, “Is Sandus Aggressive?,” examined the problem, analysing and comparing the diplomatic situation with Sandum laws and policies. It concluded that the rise of the importance of the Armilustrium after 2012 has nipped in the bud any legitimate claims of Sandum interference in a nation’s domestic policies. That project and the State have argued that disapproval or discontent with a micronation’s internal politics is not an intervention into a micronation’s sovereignty, but is instead Sandus’s sovereign right to manage its diplomatic affairs, to levy complaints, and to opine. Thus, Sandus’s disapproval for Austenasian imperialism has been construed as an attack on Austenasia, rather than a disagreement over the role of imperialism and federalism in micronations.
Now to the OMF in particular.
While the members of the OMF maintain their independence in diplomatic policy, þess visit and the summit represents a growing, broader platform upon which OMF members can collaborate on diplomatic and significant political matters. This is somewhat paradoxical. The role of the organisation as a single diplomatic force was discussed and disregarded during debates at the organisation’s summit, opting instead to work broadly on “micronational affairs” versus “diplomacy.” But, at the same time, the organisation discussed specific points on which members can cooperate and collaborate together to provide a single message on a problem, as the organisation has done before with projects like #PasdePlanèteB or with blocking communication and diplomacy with nations like Pavlov and Lostisland. Internal discussions still focus on providing a concerted effort to achieve aims, as was the case when a member posted a provocative and inflammatory image in April and members of the organisation—while defending the organisation as a bloc on the outside—condemned such flagrant behaviour in the privacy of the OMF.
The OMF, moreover, is a site in which micronations can collaborate despite differences in micronational attitudes and systems of government. Micronations which have jocular and light-hearted roles, like Aigues-Mortes, can still collaborate with serious micronations, like Sandus or Padrhom, on topics related to fake news by finding common ground. In a part of the general assembly, Olivier de Constance mentioned that the Principality cannot rightfully tell its citizens not to consume or to share fake news, but did appear to agree that the Principality could encourage a critical attitude toward media. Instead of controlling member-states’ sharing of fake news for fear of restraining freedom of expression, as the initial draft for a resolution suggested, members noted the right of citizens to respond to fake news and to write media in response. The assembly’s debate found common ground amongst member-states by suggesting a common platform to encourage expression in media while also educating citizens on the necessity of a critical and discerning attitude toward media.
In addition to responding to fake news, the organisation also sought a new project to laud pluralism and diversity, and even encouraged tongue-in-cheek alternatives in order to do so. One such project seeks to encourage the organisation’s values of human rights and human dignity, while playing to a real world perspective on micronations in an effort to jump-start debates and discussions. More about this soon. This project and others are examples of the way in which the OMF acts as a common discussion platform and as a platform for a common message, despite our many differences.
The OMF’s biennial summits also encourage real cooperation between individual micronations. In one case, the Sôgmô agreed to phone periodically with Prince Vincent of Hélianthis to simply share news and to discuss contemporary politics, while also serving as a way for það to practice their French. In another, Sandus, Saint-Castin, and Aigues-Mortes are planning a joint media platform, about which more information is coming. In yet another, the Sôgmô and Grand Duke Niels of Flandrensis talked about their common role in the OMF as members whose native languages are not French. These are but more examples of how the OMF can lead to Realistic solutions for its common micronations and members.
Time will tell where the third 2020 OMF summit will be located and if a Sandum delegation will attend, but already multiple members have promised to be present at the 2019 MicroCon in Ontario, Canada, with the Sôgmô. Until next time — À la prochaine fois.