Sandus, Überstadt developing academic certificate

Academic institutions from both Sandus and Überstadt are cautiously optimistic about developing an academic certificate program, tentatively called the Certificate of Higher Micronational Learning, or CHML. The certificate is being developed as part of an academic consortium between the two social countries, with plans for more member institutions, and is open to involvement from other micronations outside of the two countries’ Social System.

Inquiries can be made to the State of Sandus at KremlumSandus@gmail.com.

The certificate is intended to fulfil the first year of higher or tertiary education, and is meant to be completed with 10 to 13 courses—10 courses for institutions which follow semesters and 13 for quarters. Students enrolled in the certificate program will be able to take any consortium member institution’s courses, and will also be required to take a certain number of courses in key micronational disciplinary fields—such as from the arts, humanities, and social sciences to law and language or communication.

The certificate is meant to provide a well-rounded factual and theoretical knowledge within various fields of study related to micronationalism. This certificate is especially useful for those interested in micronationalism or who wish to develop their skills as a micronationalist. It teaches micronationalists about the ancillary fields related to micronationalism and is also meant to support the development of interdisciplinary micropatriology.

Sandum and Überstadti academics have tentatively committed to teaching at least one class in 2019 during the springtime. Such classes could include humanities classes on the history of micronationalism, micronational themes in literature, an introduction to law, and a micronational communications class. What is more, both academics have agreed that, despite being the instructors of a course, they will also be students in whatever course they teach while both institutions are working toward developing the certificate program further. In other words, both will be the facilitators of learning—striking the balance between micronational colleagues and successful intellectuals and educators.

Academics and intellectualism are important to both countries, as both their leaders are pursuing graduate-level education. Sandus, in fact, even has a national order of merit tied to educational attainment; it is the only order in which the sovereign of the order is not automatically the most senior rank. The Sôgmô’s family all outrank það.

Sôgmô & Slabovian King meet, MicroCon registration expected in September

The Sôgmô and the King of Slabovia, George I & II, met Friday to visit, share dinner, and to discuss micronational news and events. Both monarchs visited a local restaurant in the Sandum capital province, Quercus Candida, and walked around the province’s only city, Ann Arbour.

The Sôgmô was joined by the Sanôba Consort, Oliver. It was the Sanôba’s first official micronational engagement.

Both leaders primarily discussed planning for the 2019 MicroCon in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as local, international, and intermicronational politics.

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(L-R) The Sôgmô and Sanôba Consort of Sandus with King George I & II of Slabovia.

Veritum Sandus sat down with the king in a local café in Quercus Candida, Sandus, to ask him a few questions.

Slabovia (est. 1984) sees changes since 2015

Slabovia is a micronation founded officially in 1984 which today now has around 50 citizens. King George’s first coronation was in 1998 and his reign lasted until 2010, when another king, King Penny, briefly ruled before George returned to the porcelain throne in 2011 as “George 2.0.”

The country began, like many micronations, as a running joke on a forum between four founding friends—George, Rankin (now Slabovia’s chancellor), Pat, and Dave. The latter two have taken a step back from running the nation in recent years.

In 2015, Slabovians became increasingly aware of the existence of micronationalism beyond their own borders and proceeded to make contact with other micronationalists in time for the first MicroCon in 2015, which was organised by Molossian President Kevin Baugh. When interviewed by Veritum Sandus, King George reported that since 2015 Slabovia has become increasingly interested and inspired by the intermicronational community, leading the country to develop along more serious lines. Or, as he put it (in the typical Slabovian manner of wordplay), “we’re upping our micronational standards, so up yours.”

Since then, Slabovia has seen development along more serious and realistic lines. Foreign relations was one of the starkest differences King George described, saying that the nation was not even aware of other micronations existing before 2015 in the lead up to MicroCon. Now, a little over three years later, Slabovia has taken up the mantle of organising the 2019 MicroCon in Hamilton, Ontario, a distinguished international honour for an otherwise well established micronation which has made itself stand out in micronationalism in such a short time.

King George stated that it was at least partly due to their history of almost thirty five years of existence that convinced Kevin Baugh of Molossia that the country was ready to organise the third MicroCon.

Next, King George remarked that Slabovia now has its own law of succession because of this change toward a more serious micronationalism, where the king selects the heir who is thus ratified by the people, while the king can remove their heir from succession at their own will.

However, as a micronation made in humour, especially Canadian humour, the country remains a primarily amusing nation project. The nation identifies as somewhere between British dry humour and the blatant, bombastic comedy of the United States, the King described, and he continued that due to this light-hearted history there has been some push-back on some of the more serious and realistic projects the King has suggested since 2015. In other words, think Family Ties and Michael J. Fox, we were told.

But Slabovia’s newest project is delving into one of the micronation’s cherished areas. As philately, or the study of stamps, is to Padrhom, so is phaleristics to Slabovia. The King revealed that he had been in talks with his chancellor to establish and to unveil a new micronational phaleristics institute or museum, where micronations can present, explain, and exchange information about their medals and honours.

MicroCon 2019 will take place 19-21 July 2019

King George 2.0 announced to Veritum Sandus that MicroCon 2019 will take place on 20 July 2019, meaning that events will begin on 19 July and last until 21 July in Hamilton, Ontario. The specifics about the hotel will be released in September, when the information and website for the convention and conference will be set up online and be made public. Hamilton is centrally located near Niagra Falls, close to both Toronto and Buffalo, NY. The city also has its own international airport, serviced by Air Canada, Sunwings, Swoop, Westjet, and even Norwegian (starting 31 March 2019 from Dublin).

The conference and all major events will take place in the same hotel, unlike the 2017 MicroCon which had events in separate locations in Dunwoody and Tucker, Georgia, United States.

Both the Sôgmô and the Sanôba Consort have stated that they will attend the 2019 MicroCon. King Adam I of Überstadt, both a Sandum social citizen and a close Sandum ally, said he would also likely attend.

King George expects the convention to have 50-100 participants coming from across North America and Europe. At least half a dozen micronations have already committed to attending. All signs point to the third MicroCon increasing in size from the second, which was already larger than the first.

At the recent 2nd OMF Summit in Vincennes, France, almost half of the organisation’s members stated that they would attend the 2019 MicroCon in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Sandus will be joined by its French-speaking allies from Saint-Castin, Aigues-Mortes, Angyalistan, Flandrensis, the Formori nation, and possibly others like Padrhom.

The first few days of the convention will include one or more day excursions with transportation arranged by the United Slabovian Empire to the environs of Hamilton, such as a winery tour, a tour of the local zoo or aquarium, or a Toronto Blue Jays game, all followed by an evening reception at the hotel.

The second will see the conference itself, with talks, a catered lunch, and a meet and greet session at the end, before a short break for dinner and dance. At the dinner, medals are expected to be exchanged, as has become customary at previous MicroCons.

Finally, on the third day, there will be open time and possibly other planned events, though the king informed us that other details have not yet been finalised. At the 2017 MicroCon, the remaining participants who had not left by then went to enjoy a bowling contest.

Some have already asked where MicroCon will be in 2021. After the 2017 MicroCon, however, a committee was set up of former MicroCon organisers and they will decide what nation will organise the 2021 MicroCon. This decision will take place at the 2019 MicroCon, however. The committee, he said, would ask for bids to organise future MicroCons, meaning future organisers must submit a proposal to the committee. “A bit like the IOC (International Olympic Committee),” the king said, “minus the corruption.”

[SC] Greeting & Addressing the Sôgmô and the Sanôba Consort

Like most heads of state and of government, the Sôgmô has a specific style of address when one greets það, and for the first time the Appartements du Sôgmô (the current seat of sagamorial power) in Sandus’s capital province, Quercus Candida, have clarified the ways to address the Sanôba Consort.

There are no obligatory manners of addressing and greeting the Sôgmô, but there are distinguished and traditional ones which are considered to be respectful if one uses them. In Sandus, however, it is traditionally and (in the case of titles of nobility) legally forbidden to correct another individual if they have mistaken one’s style of address. This means that, while the correct use of our styles of address are appreciated and considered respectful, not using them is not offensive.

Other titles and style of addresses in Sandus, as well as their rules and regulations, can be read about in the Decree on the Sandum System of Nobility.

 

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© UniCORN, Thibault Plaire

the Honourable Sôgmô Gaius Soergel Publicola

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There are no specific physical gestures that must be made to the Sôgmô, and bowing or prostrating is specifically discouraged. The Sôgmô may bow their head slightly and place their right hand over their heart, but the most common action is just to shake hands in the common modern way. If the Sôgmô is meeting with French-speakers, they might perform a bise.

When meeting the Sôgmô, the correct form of address is ‘the Honourable Sôgmô,’ and subsequently either simply ‘Sôgmô’ or ‘Comrade Sôgmô.’ When referring to the Sôgmô in a spoken conversation, the Sôgmô’s pronouns in the third person are ‘he,’ ‘they,’ or—especially when referring to the constitutional office—’það.’

‘Your Excellency’ or, when referring to the Sôgmô, ‘His Excellency’ are not traditional in Sandus, but are still appreciated as tokens of respect. Referring to the Sôgmô as ‘Your’ or ‘His Majesty’ is expressly discouraged.

 

Sanôba Consort Oliver

the Faithful Sanôba Consort Oliver Armstrong

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As with the Sôgmô, there is no specific physical gesture that is traditional when meeting the Sanôba Consort, though a simple handshake may be exchanged.

The Appartements du Sôgmô have recently clarified that, when meeting the Sanôba Consort, his style of address is ‘the Faithful Sanôba Consort’ and subsequently ‘Sanôba’ or ‘Sanôba Consort’ afterwards. His third person pronoun is ‘he.’

As a member of Sandus’s gentry according to the Sandum Table of Noble Ranks, he may also be addressed as ‘Mister Armstrong’ and ‘Oliver Esquire.’

 

REPORT: Sôgmô participates in the 2nd Summit of the OMF

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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

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The Sôgmô with Grand Duke Niels of Flandrensis, Prince Jean Pierre IV and Olivier de Constance of Aigues-Mortes, and Minister-President Dominic DeSaintes at the Aigues-Mortes embassy in Paris.

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

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Sandus was front and center at the meeting of the OMF.

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.

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Participants received a complimentary gift.

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.

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© UniCORN / Thibaut Plaire

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

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Inside Angyalistan’s Imperial Car

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.

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Angyalistan’s Imperial Couple

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.

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The Sôgmô with the Sandum Bicolour

ANALYSIS

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.

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© UniCORN / Thibaut Plaire

Sôgmô à Vincennes: Verre de paix contre la tempête de Washington

The Organisation of the MicroFrancophonie will meet this weekend in Vincenne to share micronational ideas and to discuss together political subjects about the world, at the same time that the presidency of Donald Trump is heating up for his press conference in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin and for having invited him to the White House. Between these two sides, the American one and the micronationalist one, one can see that the micronational system can work more friendly, more respectfully, and more diplomatically than a president of a macronation. For “career micronationalists,” it’s probably not a surprise. What is more, a country like Sandus, which is known by several English-speaking micronations as “aggressive” (we never know why), will finally meet the majority of members of an organisation which we created as a founding member, despite the fact that we are not a French-speaking country by upbringing but by education.

Yesterday, I was received well by two micronational heads of state, HSH the Prince of Aigues-Mortes and HE the Minister-President of Saint-Castin. We traversed Paris and the Seine, we dined humbly together according to Sandum custom, and we drank a bottle of rosé wine which came from the Camargue region where Aigues-Mortes is located. Our intimate discussion is confidential because it was between heads of state, but it was very amicable and not at all like that of the fat American prince with his G7 and NATO allies. In the same week that he described Montenegro as an aggressive country that could begin another world war, French-speaking monarchs and presidents will have had a pleasant and productive weekend, where each person can discuss micronational ideas ranging from the ecological role of micronations to the culture of our nations. As pacifist countries, we do not have reason for sabre-rattling.

For us Sandum people, this visit is perhaps a little more important because we wish to distinguish ourselves from Americans and from Trumpian diplomacy. For a country comprised of Americans and totally of English-speakers, it is very important to distinguish between our micronation and our macronation. The former is a polity where one goes according to their accord and their intention, the latter is outside of our control except at the ballot box. For the majority, and it is the same for those who come from the UK, we are not content being our macronationality because of its history, its conservative politics, its xenophobic diplomacy, etc. But it is here in Sandus where, like the lyrics to le Chant des partisans, “each person knows what they want and they are doing”—and we know that we are completely dissatisfied with the American president.

With a light hand, now, we would like to say that we are not American but Sandum, that we are French-speakers because of our education, that we are human like everyone else. (This is perhaps difficult to understand for the racists found in the US and who voted for the worst American president in recent history.) We reject with incredulity the 45th American president’s politics. We stand for Sandum ideals: compassion, socialism, and pluralism. We have stood, we stand now to protest, and so we will stand for strike action against the government of Donald Trump.

Comrade C. Soergel P.

Voice of Sandus

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L’Organisation de la MicroFrancophonie se rencontrera ce week-end à Vincennes pour partager les idées micronationales et pour discuter ensemble aux sujets politiques du monde, en même moment que la présidence de Donald Trump se réchauffe pour son discours à Helsinki avec le président russe Vladimir Poutine et pour l’avoir invité a la Maison blanche. Entre les deux côtés, celle-là américaine et celle-ci micronationaliste, on voit que le système micronational peut travailler plus amiablement, plus respectueusement, et plus diplomatiquement qu’un président d’une macronation. Pour les “career micronationalists,” c’est probablement pas une surprise. De plus, un pays comme Sandus, ce qui est connu par plusieurs micronations anglophones comme pays “agressif” (on ne sait jamais pourquoi), il rencontrera finalement la plupart des membres d’une organisation ce que nous avons créé comme membre fondateur, malgré que nous ne sommes pas pays francophone par naissance mais par éducation.

Hier, j’ai été bien accueilli par deux…

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[SC] It’s a Sandum Life: Ceremonial Alternatives to Life Events

Sandus’s prime focus has long been on culture, and a culture reflecting its philosophical rationale at that. It has long had celebrations for its Socialist leanings, like celebrating the National Day of Socialism on 7 November or Labour Day on 1 May, and for its social liberalism and progressivism, such as this week’s celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Week. Its holidays come in a variety of different flavours, such as the more cultural Sancta holidays to the rather political and activist “days of recongition.” But apart from a few holiday traditions—the cleaning and lights on the Armilustrium, the little clay knick-knacks (more properly, the sigillaria) for the Saturnalia, or the early-morning/late-night viewing of the parade on Red Square for Remembrance Day—few ceremonies and celebrations have been considered for momentous occasions in an individual’s life. For example, Sandus has never, like St.Charlie, had an occasion like a wedding.

Until now. Recent conversations between the Party Secretary and the Sôgmô have focused on filling this gap in Sandus’s cultural repertoire. Of things to consider, the Sôgmô has focused on everything that runs the gamut from birth to adulthood, such as civil baptism or name-giving ceremonies to weddings and even to house-moving parties. Inspired by former East German traditions like the Socialist wedding (Sozialistische Eheschließung), the naming ceremony (Namensweihe, also similar to a baptême républicain), or the youth celebration (Jugendweihe) still celebrated today by German youth as “Jugendfeier,” the Sôgmô has started to consider similar ceremonies and traditions that Sandum citizens can use as alternatives or duplicates to other macronational ceremonies. Here are a few major ceremonies in the course of one’s [Sandum] life:

  • Naming Ceremony: Are you having a baby and want to raise them up in Sandus? Skip the gender reveal fad and have reveal their name instead. At a Sandum naming ceremony, a Sandum official gives a solemn speech and the parents and other guardians (or godparents) solemnly swear or affirm that they will protect and increase the child. The child may then receive a Sandum name and become a Sandum national, though they cannot become a Sandum citizen until the age of majority.
  • Citizenship Ceremony: This coming of age ceremony happens anytime after the age of 14 for Sandum nationals (i.e., those born into Sandus) or for those who are being naturalised as full citizens (cives) and wish to celebrate it. The ceremony may be as elaborate as one wishes, but in its simplest form it is celebrated by swearing or affirming the oath of citizenship.
  • Graduation: Academic achievements are very important in Sandus, a country where more than half of the population is pursuing or has received a college degree. This ceremony is celebrated as one normally celebrates graduation, but with the added benefit of receiving either membership or a promotion in the Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea.
  • Commitment Ceremony: Have a white dress? Add some blue—or some of the other national colours! A Sandum commitment ceremony is the counterpart to the white and regalia of a wedding, and it is a ceremony that officially promulgates a wedding in Sandus. At a Sandum commitment ceremony, a Sandum official gives a solemn speech on the values of marriage, a home, and a shared life in common, and the spouses are welcome to wear whatever they please—though a deep red is recommended (for good luck and love). A commitment ceremony is not necessarily an alternative to a religious or macronational wedding, but it is the ceremony at which Sandum citizens are officially recognised as “married” in the State. It can, like in the St.Charlian example, take place long before any other wedding.

There are expected to be no alternatives to funerals, though one may proudly incorporate their Sandum identity into a funeral.

Of course, these ceremonies can be customised as one wishes, but the important role is to keep these ceremonies as a tradition. The most important element to a Sandum ceremony, however, is to reaffirm the civic values and national philosophy of Sandus.

Up Close: An Image of a Sandum Commitment Ceremony
One way to encourage these alternative ceremonies is, of course, to have examples—either of real events or of ideas for one. Here, let us offer one such example: the Sôgmô’s commitment ceremony.

On a brisk autumn afternoon, during the weekend the royal couple have decided to get married, það and the Sanôba Consort gather together between their wedding ceremony and the dinner in a quiet room in the University of Michigan’s Rackham Building. Both wearing dark blue with white accents, they are joined by a select group of their chosen family who act as witnesses of the ceremony. The Sôgmô’s doktormutter and the Sanôba Consort’s adviser jointly preside over the ceremony, speaking of the times they met one another and both jointly make speeches on the value of sharing one’s house. Þess doktormutter, even, gives a speech in Latin known as a commendatio which finishes as an ovatio.

Finally, at an appointed time considered auspicious, the officiants ask the royal couple if their love is ingenuous and true. When both have answered “yes,” both role models ask the royal couple to exchange vows made specifically for the ceremony that evoke Sandus’s national philosophy. Both may exchange an item, like a gold ring, or they might decide to exchange some other object important to them, like a blue feather. Finally, before the couple are presented to the selected witnesses, the royal couple signs a formal Sandum marriage contract, thereby formally uniting their houses together as a couple in Sandus.

Focus!: A Digression on Sandum Home Altars
In Sandum history, altars have long been an important part of our physical and material cultural expression. In the Office of the Sôgmô at the Palace of State, there were once two altars (since decommissioned), Buddhist and Pagan. The National Buddhist Altar, as it was called, was created in the country’s early history—in 2009—and was renovated in June 2015; the State Polytheist Shrine was dedicated in September 2012. Both were the site of many religious rituals, including the joint focus (with the National Buddhist Altar) of a religious ceremony officiated jointly by the Sôgmô and King Adam I of Überstadt during his state visit in July 2014. An altar for us, however, need not be dedicated to a deity, but is rather a non-profane space where one can present the elements of their philosophy or the most sincere parts of their culture.

This is, in fact, better known perhaps as a focus. The Latin term was originally the term for the hearth or fireplace and, in time, it became a poetic synonym for the family and household. The hearth was the location where many Greek and Roman families would worship domestic gods, such as Hestia or the Lares. The English term, of course, means the centre of one thing, the poignant mental direction or intention of a person, or a central point (such as where light rays merge). The importance here is not the religious attitude of many altars, since many Sandum citizens are not religiously inclined or are atheists, but rather the quality of the space. In a spatial sense, Sandum foci are important as “sacred” space (i.e., not profane), or space which is set apart for reflection, thinking, meditation, and even prayer (if an altar or focus is religious). So, for example, a Sandum focus could also be a shelf of a book shelf where only one’s most important and cherished books are kept and shown off.

Many Sandum citizens already keep altars. The Sôgmô still keeps a Buddhist altar, which has not yet been commissioned as a formal Sandum altar, and það is working on another polytheist altar. Both the Party Secretary and the Facilitator of the Council maintain altars, and frequently pray at them. Several other citizens have altars, as well. In the future, we hope to detail more of such altars or foci, and to encourage more Sandum citizens to own and maintain foci—regardless of their religion or religiosity.

Do Sandum ceremonies replace other ones?
Not necessarily, though they can—and it would represent the meaningfulness and importance of one’s Sandum citizenship if they did. Some Sandum ceremonies could certainly coincide with macronational ceremonies, such as graduation parties, but others represent a slight departure from other macronational ceremonies or from religious ceremonies, such as the Sandum naming ceremony versus a religious baptism. But it need not be an “either-or” decision. One could certainly have duplicate ceremonies—one micronational (Sandum), one macronational or religious—as was the case with the example of þess commitment ceremony. An obvious exception, however, would be the citizenship ceremony. Lest one of us emigrates to a new country, it seems unlikely that many of us will have a citizenship ceremony, though Sandum laws forbid birthright full citizenship.

(Sandum nationals have to become citizens through a process like everyone else. This is to avoid the growth of excessive nationalism.)

Finally, the list above is by no means conclusive. It and all the information in this brief discussion are a single template, but this work of consideration is a wake-up call and a manifesto for Sandum citizens to think of new ways to incorporate ceremony and sacred space, even in secular and non-religious ways, into our lives. Doing so can make our lives more rewarding and make us all happier.

Solstice Report: Toward a Season of Cultural Growth

Spring2018 website

LET US CULTIVATE DILIGENTLY THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE STATE!

The first half of this year has witnessed great cultural and administrative achievements. In January, a law was passed regulating the system by which applicants for citizenship can become citizens, a law which thoroughly renewed the application system and gave power to the Sôgmô to approve and reject applicants on civil grounds. In February, the Robes of State worn by því during important ceremonial occasions were replaced, putting aside the robes which have been used for state occasions since the country’s birth in 2009. In March, Sandus began a cultural laureate program to recognise important artists and musicians who have significantly affected and built up our country. Since April, we have had a new consort and, in that month, the first baronetcy was enfeoffed and entitled to Adam Camillus von Friedeck, Baronet of Eliot. In May, the Sôgmô held a lavish five course banquet to celebrate the ninth anniversary of Sandus—before the Council voted to approve the law regulating þess succession before the end of the month. In June, despite the relative quiet, news has been shared that the Sôgmô is working on a project of laconic life advice slogans to cover all aspects of home affairs; in addition, the Sanôba Consort became a gentleman in the Sandum Table of Noble Ranks.

The coming summer will be a momentous occasion for Sandus and the construction of our infrastructure and culture. In July, the Sôgmô travels to Paris to take part in the 2018 OMF Summit in Vincennes, the first time Sandus will take part in exclusively French-speaking micronational diplomacy in person. In August, the Sanôba Consort will visit Quercus Candida for the first time as a Sandum citizen and as the Sôgmô’s partner, just in time for the Vinalia and for the festivals of Consus and Ops. In September, the Sôgmô will take part in a training on restorative justice in anticipation of becoming a university juror, a concept of justice which may take a larger role in Sandus’s planned judicial and philosophical system over which the Central People’s Government has been mulling for the past season and more.

The coming season will be one of deeper thought given to cultural institutions of our country, as well. Through habitual practice, the Sôgmô has made clear that the limoncello season in Sandus shall last between the two Vinalias, that is, from the end of April to the end of August. Later in the summer, það also will release the book of homespun life advice, entitled the Sandum Oeconomic Ethic, and a book of popular recipes from each Sandum domus. This summer’s activity also includes the medium-term projects and plans, like the log of Annual Media announcements, the reform of the Council, and the language initiative.

All of these will form the basis of improving the infrastructure of the State of Sandus.

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Le Sôgmô ira à Vincennes le 19 juin en anticipation du sommet de la MicroFrancophonie.

 

Charity Taxes — New Infrastructure for Easy Declaration
For the first time, Sandum charity taxes will now be filed by an online form, instead of the Sôgmô contacting individual citizens. The bilingual form in both English and French is intended to speed along the process for the government in asking for information about charity taxes and for citizens in reporting charity taxes. In addition, for the first time, the form asks respondents if they have given any belongings away to charity.

Sandum Charity Taxes Summer Solstice 2018.PNG

At the time of writing, only six responses have been submitted and already another record has been broken—a common theme of Sandum charity taxes today. Since the Spring Equinox, Sandum citizens have donated $2,174.10 USD to charitable organisations like the ACLU, LGBTQ+ advocacy and rights organisations, suicide helplines, ecological organisations, political parties, religious institutions, academic and professional organisations, and private individuals. This is up from the Winter’s $1,095.18. The previous record was $1,462.41 in Summer 2017.

Sandum citizens have donated clothes and books to charitable organisations this season.

Since the Spring Equinox, Sandum citizens have volunteered a total of 100 hours, down from the Winter’s declared hours of 794 hours and the Autumn’s 190.

In addition, the new charity tax form asked for some information about citizens’ income, asking whether or not citizens earned a living wage in the previous year. A living wage is defined as a basic income that covers basic necessities, such as housing and food. Out of those who answered, two replied that they were uncertain. Of those who were certain, 50% said that they did have a living wage, while the other half said that they did not.

 

Sôgmô to Submit New Budget for 2018-2019
The Sôgmô has proposed a budget for the new budgetary year, to be submitted to the Commission for the Command Economy (CCE), which will see a potential rise in spending for the State of Sandus in the lead up to the country’s tenth anniversary. The budget will cover at least $2,000 USD worth of projected expenses, in addition to another $1,000 in discretionary spending.

Projected Spending:

Sandus.org $40
Salaries $100
Work Expenses $360
Cultural Expenses $500
10th Creation Celebration $1,000

Discretionary Spending:

Special Philia Fund $200
Matter Realist Fund $200
Trans*ition Policy $100
Health Reimbursement Policy $100
Flexible Spending $400

Projected as a part of the budget’s spending over the next year includes work expenses for Sandus’s cooperatives, cultural expenses covering a variety of different holidays, and a large celebration for the 10th anniversary of the Creation of Sandus next year. That celebration’s budget will include money for a travel and accommodation stipends, events, decorations, memorabilia, and other expenses. Discretionary spending covers costs related to cultural development, gender transitioning, emergency healthcare, and miscellaneous expenses deemed necessary for the State and Sandum Socialism.

 

State Planning: Medium-Term Projects for the Summer
The Central People’s Government will begin work this summer on a variety of stated projects announced on Sandus.org earlier in the month. Of the most significant importance is the initiative by Facilitator Hatsu Ryuho to reform the Council, followed by the Sôgmô’s initiative to present a theoretical guideline for a philosophical and judicial branch in Sandum government. Following these, some important projects include flags for citizens of Sandus paid for by the Philia Fund, a pamphlet of information on every Sandum holiday by month, and bestowals of nobility on the remaining deserving recipients. Finally, the Central People’s Government is looking for journalists for Veritum Sandus as well as looking to establish a long-term project to encourage citizens to learn Sandus’s three official languages: English, French, and Latin.

 

AthenaPronoea Emblem

ἉΜΗΟΙΔΑΟΥΔΕΟΙΟΜΑΙΕΙΔΕΝΑΙ
“I do not think to know that which I do not know.”
(Plato Apology 21d)

Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea: Recognising Our Intellectualism
One Sandum citizen recently graduated from university with a Bachelor’s degree of Arts in English Literature with Honours, two minors in Technology Entrepreneurship and in Religious Studies, a certificate in entrepreneurship, and she received a citation of honour in entrepreneurship and innovation. During her time in undergraduate studies, she completed an honours thesis in her department, entitled “Children of God: Understanding Marilynne Robinson’s Home as a Mode of Religious Literature.”

She was a copy editor for a creative writing periodical at her university, as well as a research assistant for the associate director of the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies. She served for two and a half years as an editor of a women’s college periodical and as a coordinator for Greek Life at her university. Fitting for her role in Sandus as the bishop of the Εκκλησία, she was an intern at her church’s university chaplaincy for three years, from 2015 until recently when she graduated, and administered the chaplaincy and oversaw preparations for an ecumenical memorial service for the Pulse shooting massacre in June 2016. Given her background in the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), she is an inquirer in the National Capital Presbytery seeking candidacy, as well as recently being elected as member at-large of the PCUSA’s Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns.

Order of Athena Pronoea - MΑθΠ

PLAUDAMUS IGITUR SISENNAM MELVILLE MΑθΠ

Let us applaud, therefore, Sisenna Melville MΑθΠ, who has been promoted to the rank of Member of the Honourable Order of Athena Pronoea.

 

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Fides in Patria
“There is trust in our fatherland.”

Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus: Update on Addressing the Backlog
The Sôgmô has begun to take steps to address the backlog of recipients of the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus. A cache of new medals has been purchased, in addition to the appropriate paper and mailing pouches for sending out the medal and certificate to recipients who have never received their medal. These materials will be used to address the historical problem, where recipients and members of the order have never received their appropriate medal entitled to them by the constitution of the order.