Thursday, February 12, 2015

Coral Sea Islands

Coral Sea Islands 1 

(you won't want to miss part 2, below)

The list goes on, of what I am beginning to think of as "fake countries" - lands that are owned by someone else, sometimes run by someone else, sometimes with a limited measure of autonomy or even a theoretical independence, but for which no moral, logical or earthly reason can be found for them not being a fully independent country in their own right; or in this case fully a part of the country that owns them.

In most cases, someone else owns them, the way a man living in New York might own an apartment in Miami, and rents it out, but furnished with his goods, and with certain closets and storage spaces that the tenant cannot use, and clauses in the contract that require the tenant to find alternate accommodation for the weekend here or the whole week there, when the landlord decides to reclaim temporary possession. This situation is obviously entirely legitimate for property; but can it really be justified for entire countries, especially when the closet houses an intelligence-gathering station, and the storage space is a harbour for aircraft carriers, or a detention centre for unwanted asylum-seekers, or an underground laboratory for nuclear arms tests?

The "fake country" in this instance is located north-east of Queensland, Australia, probably an extension of the Great Barrier Reef, and occupies nearly half a million square miles of ocean, which is one-sixth the size of Australia itself (larger than New Jersey, five times the size of the entire United Kingdom). Of the dozens of tiny islands, only Willis and Cato Islands are inhabited, the former only by a small group of meteorologists, generally three or four at any time; a photograph of the whole of Willis Island would not need enlarging to fit into a thumbprint. Several other islands have automated weather stations and beacons, and one or two have lighthouses, so maybe the Australians are simply taking fastidious care of the ships that sail around them - though more likely just keeping a closer look-out for the ships carrying unwanted asylum seekers and refugees.

Why Australia wants these islands is therefore obvious. From their geographical location, and the fact of their being uninhabited, there is no one else with a logical claim on them.

Marks For:0

Marks Against: 0

Coral Sea Islands 2:

The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was founded in 2004, under a manifesto of “Queer Nationalism". Its capital is on Cato Island, the largest in the archipelago, and its equivalent of a President (I would say its equivalent of a queen, but that might be misunderstood) was originally called the Administrator. Independence was declared on June 14th 2004, with the national flag, known as the “gay rainbow pride flag", raised at the tent-encampment known as Heaven where all the island's inhabitants live, and "Zadok the Priest" adopted as the National Anthem. The founding Administrator Dale Parker Anderson was elected Emperor at the time of independence, and is now known by the dynastic title Dale R (does R stand for Rex or Regina or both?). The Declaration of Independence states that:

“Homosexual people have honestly endeavoured everywhere to merge ourselves in the social life of surrounding communities and to be treated equally. We are not permitted to do so. In vain we are loyal patriots, our loyalty in some places running to extremes; in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our fellow citizens; in vain do we strive to increase the fame of our native land in science and art, or her wealth by trade and commerce. In countries where we have lived for centuries, we are still cried down as strangers.... In the world as it is now and for an indefinite period.... I think we shall not be left in peace.”

The GLKCSI operates a Law of Return similar to that in Israel, by which a person is automatically granted permanent resident status and is immediately eligible for citizenship in the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands simply by being gay or lesbian.

On September 13th 2004 the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands declared war against Australia, though no shots have yet been fired by either side.

The GLKCSI is hereby formally declared my favourite country in the world, even though it discriminates against me by denying me rights of permanent residency on the grounds of heterosexuality, and loses a mark for doing so. 
What remains unclear is: why is it a territory ruled by Australia, and not a part of Australia itself? It is also unclear what attitude it takes towards trans-sexual and trans-gendered folk, has completely failed to make any statement in support of left-handed people, the short-sighted, the fat or the bald, all of whom are likewise victims of universal derogation and discrimination, and for this lack of clarity a second mark is hereby removed.

Marks For: 10

Marks Against: 2

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