This Spring was a momentous occasion for the State of Sandus. Not only did we celebrate for the first time the Veneralia, but we even marked important events in the history of our micronation like the eighth anniversary of the Foundation of the State of Sandus, the Royal Couple’s first anniversary, and Labour Day. But we even marked the remarkable event of our tenth anniversary in our capital, surrounded by friends and family, with much excitement and joy!
Spring 2019, with all its hard work in our private and public lives, is over. The days are becoming warmer and will now become shorter, and today we turn again to matters of our State.
In the coming season, we have much work left to do in our valiant efforts to uplift our citizens and the world and to alleviate suffering. In Summer 2019, we will have the immense pleasure of sharing our vision with the micronations of the world at MicroCon 2019, where we will be joined once more by other fellow citizens, friends, and family. Our business at this year’s meeting will be nonstop; we will certainly tire but will be refreshed by the vigorous activity of our colleagues and comrades.
Below, we have detailed here some new initiatives. They are, alas, not complete, but are only the beginning of more good things to come. These include new initiatives around language learning, cultural events and holidays, communal events like vacations together and a reading group. Not included are many things: an upcoming furtive royal event, a citizen’s wedding, and a new art and design magazine.
In our small nation, which we have built with our minds and our hands, we are the masters of our own creation—the sovereign masters of our lives! Let us live that way.
Charity Taxes: Donations Down, Volunteer Work Up
Charity taxes were down in Spring 2019 at $754.48 USD, compared to Spring 2018’s astounding donations of $2,174.10. Hours dedicated to volunteer work, however, were sharply up this season at 272 hours.
Sandus celebrates 10 Years
Citizens came from across North America to take part in the tenth anniversary celebrations of our micronation on the weekend of 26 May 2019, Sandus’s Day of Creation. Independence Day festivities began on 23 May when Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck flew in from the Pacific Northwest, and in earnest on 24 May when a group of citizens and Sandum-affiliated people took part in a celebratory dinner at a local Korean barbecue restaurant. A schedule was shared with participants welcoming them to Ann Arbour, Quer, and times were in Sandum Local Time or UTC-5, not ETD or UTC-4. (Sandus does not observe daylight savings.)
On Saturday 25 May, citizens and friends joined for breakfast and took part in a televised conference, “Sandum Micronationalism in the Age of Moral Cowardism.” The theme of the conference centred on the rise of xenophobia and right-wing populism throughout the world in recent years, and Sandus’s stalwart resistance to that force. The Sôgmô presented a paper, “Love It If We Made It: Sandum Micronationalism as Satire and Resistance,” that discussed our micronation as an artistic and cultural expression of political resistance. The Party Secretary then shared his paper, “Activist Micronationalism and Historical Memory,” on how Sandus curates and responds actively to local historical memory. Finally, Sandus’s newest citizen, Jan DeWitt, who became a citizen in time for the anniversary celebrations, shared his paper, “Caesar & Trump: The Paradigm of Tyrannicide and Moral Cowardism.” Finally, all three fielded questions from the audience and highlighted how Sandus and micronationalism generally has a role to play in civic society as a form of free, artistic speech that overturns the essentialism of nation-states. The entire conference had undertones urging Sandum Realism, seeing that Sandus’s goals are not grandiose but rather communitarian and collective.
Tenth anniversary medals were shared at the conference, in addition to flag pins and postcards produced exclusively for the tenth anniversary.
After the conference, members toured Ann Arbour and visited Zingerman’s Delicatessen, a local famous eatery. This was followed by a tour of Main Street and a trip to the local TeaHaus where citizens enjoyed tea and fine pastries. In the evening, after some free time, citizens reconvened to watch the 1959 movie the Mouse That Roared to add some levity to their day!
The morning of Sandum Independence Day, Sunday 26 May, was spent at the Sôgmô’s Tibetan Buddhist temple in the area. Citizens journeyed there for a morning sadhana service, followed by a short dharma talk and meditation by the resident lama. They heard the story of Marpa Lotsawa (‘the Translator’) who journeyed from Tibet to India in the 11th century to retranslate the Tibetan Buddhist canon, which became known as the “New Translation.” Marpa became one of the lineage founders of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, a New Translation school. (The Sôgmô is from the Nyingma school, the only Old Translation school.)
Following this, citizens went to Aut Bar, a local LGBTQ+ bar in Ann Arbour, for brunch. Next, they toured the local farmer’s markets and groceries before heading back to the Appartements du Sôgmô to prepare a communal meal shared among themselves and others. During this “Kitchen Agreement” dinner, citizens talked about cultural activities, events, and the importance of sharing food with one another as a sign of friendship, love, and community.
The tenth anniversary activities ended that evening and everyone had a fun time! All citizens who joined in wanted another occasion to meet and to have fellowship with one another again, and even thought of preparing a communal trip sometime in the near future to the Balkans.
Cultural Events, Holidays up Significantly
In the last year, attendance at Sandum cultural events and holidays have been up significantly in the State of Sandus. The Sôgmô has entertained dozens of people at their official residence for a multitude of Sandum holidays, ranging from major State holidays to days of recognition. This emphasis on Sandum cultural events and holidays was called for in the 2017 Philia Plan for the Major Societal Shift, a governmental plan that encouraged cultural development and a reduced reliance on administration and bureaucracy.
The holidays that have been celebrated and commemorated in person include the Armilustrium and Remembrance Day, two of the most important Sandum State holidays. But they also include holidays that are newly celebrated with physical events, like the Day of Mourning for the Annexation of Hawai’i that commemorates the illegal American occupation of the Hawai’ian Islands. Recently, the Sôgmô even celebrated the Veneralia, the festival of the goddess Venus held on 1 April. The holiday has been cast as a Sandum response to the increasingly commercialised Saint Valentine’s Day.
The holidays have had the added benefit of communicating Sandum ideals and values to a wider audience of people beyond those who are micronationalists. And the ideas so integrally a part of our micronation have been received and accepted by more people outside of the micronational community, who have come to recognise and reflect on the communitarian and progressive policies we advance in the State of Sandus.
Sandum Reading and Cultural Group announced
A long-anticipated project is finally here. The Sôgmô has announced today the creation of a Sandum reading and cultural group. The group, which will have its own facilitator, will meet on Google Hangouts to discuss books and other cultural media. Its mission is to be ultimately determined by its members, but its drafted mission is to build an integral community of socially-conscious, civic-minded, and justice-oriented citizens through monthly meetings to discuss media from a diverse background.
Each month will have a specific focus and readings should be manageable for all participants, since many citizens are academics who must read and study much already. Some ideas include Sarah Bakewell’s biography of Montaigne, watching documentaries, or reading US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s poetry.
The facilitator position will be advertised in the Council and will be selected by a democratic vote in the Council, or by the Sôgmô’s appointment. The position will be annual and will be salaried at 8¶c.
Sôgmô elected OMF Deputy Secretary of Culture and Francophonie Development
The Sôgmô has been elected unanimously to the position of Deputy General-Secretary in Charge of Culture and of Development of the French-Speaking World in the Organisation of the MicroFrancophonie (OMF). In this stead, the Sôgmô will lead the OMF’s cultural policy and initiatives, and það has hit the ground running by announcing that July will be the OMF’s “Month of Micronational French-Speaking Gastronomy.” More such commemorative months will happen over the course of the year, and það will speak with other members at the upcoming 2019 MicroCon to discuss other possible initiatives.
The Sôgmô is one of a handful of French-speakers in the State of Sandus. Though French is one of three official languages, it is spoken by a minority of citizens, and is of equal proportion to those who know Latin in the country. Sandus is also a founding member of the organisation, which was established in May 2016.
Sandum Language Learning Initiative:
Connecting Tutors, Cutting Costs
Language acquisition is important in the State of Sandus, both for political and also social reasons. It is of increasing importance that Sandum citizens learn multiple languages, especially Sandus’s three official languages (English, French, Latin), in a world that is increasingly polarised and globally-connected. Moreover, an internationalist country like Sandus seeks to upset the linguistic hegemony of English as a new koine and lingua franca by encouraging language acquisition. Language learning is not just about connecting people through language and sharing Sandum values: it is also about uplifting Sandum citizens, educating them in new and profound ways, and cultivating their positive social mobility.
In pursuit of these causes, the Sôgmô has announced a new language learning initiative in the State of Sandus, similar to the financial initiative that helps citizen and non-citizen trans people transition. That initiative gives applicants up to $30 to $40 for transition-related materials like chest-binders, clothes, or cosmetics, and it is financed by the Sôgmô personally. To date, close to half a dozen people have taken advantage of the fund.
This new initiative will do something similar by covering up to half of the cost of language-learning textbooks, or up to $50 USD. The new initiative will also help connect citizens to tutors, with preference given to other citizens, who can either teach them a language or help them study. Finally, it will also seek out free tools to encourage language-learning and will seek alternative means to finance language-acquisition, such as encouraging citizens to apply to the Classics microgrant fund Sportula.
As a part of this initiative, the Sôgmô is considering adopting regional languages of unofficial status on the State-level but that are cultural languages relevant to individual provinces. This follows a similar current that has been developing in Sandus lately, to increase provincial cultural identity with symbols and also to breakdown behemoth provinces like Sandus Ulterior, or Further Sandus, into more region-specific provinces, like Kremlum Sandus and Quercus Candida. Provinces, then, will have regionally-relevant cultural languages and languages that are spoken en masse by the region’s population.
Language is an important part of current Sandum policy, too. The Sôgmô has recently begun a project to translate for free other micronations’ mottoes, titles, et cetera into Latin for them. Dismayed by the fake Latin many micronations use to aspire to a higher level of prestige, það begun the project to increase the prestige of micronations in general. To date, about a dozen translations have been made.
Workers receive annual salaries
Sandum workers have received their annual salaries based on their employment in the Central People’s Government and Sandum cooperatives. Receipts will be sent out to them individually from the Sôgmô acting on behalf of CivBanca.
The Sôgmô’s Summer Honours List
Ahead of MicroCon 2019 in Hamilton, Canada, invitations to new members in Sandus’s newest order have been sent out with more on their way, and new commendationes and ovationes will be made for the occasion. And, finally, new members have been made in the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, Sandus’s most senior order of honour.
Ovationes and Commendationes
Sandus’s newest style of award and honour is the commendatio, or “commendation.” Based off of the Roman epistolary genre, this honour is comprised of Latin letters patent that are recognitions of specific actions and deeds on behalf of Sandus and larger efforts. They can also be joined with ovationes, or “ovations,” which are short Latin speeches that traditionally end with the phrase “plaudamus igitur…” (“let us applaud therefore…”). These honours are similar to the distinction of “mentioned in dispatches” (MiD) found in other countries.
Today, three people have been recognised with commendationes and one with an ovatio.
King George 2.0 of Slabovia for his work with MicroCon 2019
Chancellor Rankin MacGillivray for his work with MicroCon 2019
Party Secretary Adam Camillus von Friedeck cum ovatione for serving the Party for five years
L’Ordre Annonaire Fraternel du Bol en Bois
Work on the Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl, as the order is known in English, has been slow since a standard translation of the order’s founding ordinance took a while to be formally corrected for good, legalese French. The editing work lasted until late in the Spring. The order’s official business language, after all, is French and the original document used a Medieval French document as its model until this idea was scrapped.
But now work is going ahead before this year’s Chökhor Düchen holiday that marks both the Buddha’s first teaching the Dharma and the order’s official business holiday. The chivalric charitable order is meant to be made up of members who have both a creed related to Sandus’s philosophy and who have been initiated into their religion’s teachings.
The order has three members already, two seigneurs and one chevalière bannerette.
Gaius Soergel Publicola, seigneur et souverain
Adam Camillus von Friedeck, seigneur et trésorier
Sisenna Melville, chevalière bannerette
Three others have been invited, and eight more are set to be invited soon.
Hatsu Ryuho, former Facilitator of the Council
Dominic Desaintes, President-Minister of Saint-Castin
Olivier, Emperor of Angyalistan
Invitations have not yet been sent out to chevaliers, but they will be in the next few days.
Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea
The second most prestigious order in Sandus based on precedence automatically gives ranks based on educational achievement. It is the only order in which the Sôgmô does not hold the highest rank despite being the order’s sovereign, and today some new members of the order outrank the Sôgmô.
Jacob Barnet Pharmacologus Σαρκαστικός MΑθΠ – Master’s degree of Science in Medicinal Chemistry
Jan DeWitt KΑθΠ – Master’s Degree of Arts in Latin
Oliver Armstrong AΑθΠ – pursuing B.A.
Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus
Each solstice and equinox, the Sôgmô can award membership and new ranks in the Most Honourable Throne of the State of Sandus. Today, það does that with two foreign micronationalists with whom Sandus has become increasingly friendly since 2017, and again with two others—one who has now become a Sandum citizen and his non-citizen-but-affiliated wife.
These four people will now become members of the Most Honourable Throne of Sandus.
Queen Anastasia of Ruritania for her work on MicroCon 2017
King George 2.0 of Slabovia for his friendship and work on MicroCon 2019
Jan DeWitt for his work on constitutional theory and friendship
Natalie Ritsema for her self-sufficient and cultural work and friendship