OpEd: 140 years later, let’s remember what really happened to Kristoforo X

By MAYA ABELDARME and TOMAS GALIXENU (via TeleMaura News Ingerish) –

In just under two weeks, Mauretia will come up on one of its most intentionally overlooked anniversaries. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone even mention it. The tale of 16 July 1877 seems to be a story no one wants to remember. How does abdication only get passing mention in the history books? Our country has gone to great lengths to expunge King Kristoforo X from its annals. No one complained when he was outright omitted from a recent Vuwo! article ranking all our monarchs from best to worst. (We think many did not even notice!) His grave in Lalla Maga is marked by a small block of limestone that is weathering. The marker might as well read, “Here lies a disgraced king that his country will not even acknowledge existed.” The site has deteriorated so poorly that the cemetery was forced to exhume the body and re-lay in a proper hole that would not collapse down the hillside. While we would never defend the king for his actions in the wake of the plague, we believe it is time for our country to recognize the truths of his tortured life, stop ignoring him, and honor him with a proper burial.

Here is how the story usually goes: The death of Queen Pitra during li Mawaṭo Ravo (“The Great Death”), along with much of the ruling government, unleashed a period of political chaos. The country was still at the peak of the plague with thousands dying by the week. Prince Kristoforo was quickly hurried away to The Island to retain succession. The story we always hear then continues to say that he was a reclusive and ineffective king. The country voted four years later to force abdication. That’s it. Nothing more.

Over a century later, we know what really happened in between 1873 and 1877. King Kristoforo X is really a tragic figure. The new king was crowned unceremoniously in a carriage as it scurried away from his dying family in Sansu Andaros li Apostili. The monarch was very ill himself, coughing violently. In the recent exhumation, the forensics and archaeology team noted that he likely suffered broken ribs in such a frail state. When the royal shuttle arrived on The Island, the king had to be carried into the building. He was unable to walk and could not handle the light or sound. He remained bedridden for days. During this time, word leaked out about the decimation of the ruling classes. The public demanded to know where their new king was and what he planned to do. The inexperienced and frightened staff in the royal palace said nothing to the outside world. (Frankly, we as a nation are fortunate Commonia or some other malevolent power did not attack us during this time. We would have been powerless.)

Consider that King Kristoforo, while ill, was tossed directly into the travails of running a collapsing country. He never had the time to mourn the death of his wife or mother; he suffered tremendously from hallucinations and chronic, debilitating pain from plague and treatment-related aftereffects in his central nervous system; and he had no political help in his sequestration, because the plague had claimed so many of the experienced individuals. Only years after the abdication did the truth of his conditions become public. In reality, that was part of the problem. The king wanted so desperately to be seen as strong, so he said nothing of his health. Yet, when he suffered worst and was absent, the opposite occurred. The king could have been a symbol of hope by walking beside his people and visibly sharing their burdens. Instead, he hid and appeared uninterested.

The only reason anger against him did not overflow earlier was that parliament did not want a regency during such a vulnerable time. Shortly after Prince Ferde came of age, parliament passed a resolution for forced abdication. The king was, perhaps surprisingly, not angered by the vote even though he sent his refusal about two hours later. Historians note meetings he held during this two hour window and believe he actually considered stepping aside. Even so, parliament demanded removal. They scheduled the public referendum for the morning of Monday 16 July 1877. All business and work schedules were to be canceled for the morning to allow a national vote. King Kristoforo X must have known what was about to happen. He sent for his son and had a carriage loaded with a few small number of belongings. About nightfall, word reached the palace of the provisional vote totals in Massaeya and Dara Aqarel. Heartbroken, the king quietly walked out to a loaded carriage and set off for the Aziga countryside. Aides and family alike noted that he never stopped to say anything to anyone. Prince Ferde arrived ten minutes after his father’s departure.

Across Mauretia, the final vote total was 85% in favor of abdication. Prince Ferde desperately wanted to distance himself from his father in the public perception. He quietly sent provisions to Lalla Maga to care for the ousted monarch and visited on three occasions. Yet, no public mention was ever given of the former king throughout all of Ferde’s reign. Even parliament went on ignoring the former ruler. When Kristoforo X died a couple years later, only a few townspeople and a local priest attended the funeral. It was revealed that he never once accepted the payments for anything other than his medical care. The former king died alone, ill, and impoverished.

As a people, we grieved and mourned after the plague. We moved on and recovered. But, generally speaking, we have not really forgiven. No, we probably should not be building monuments to or naming streets after Kristoforo X. He did nothing to warrant that. But, do we really have to ignore him? Can a former king at least be given a proper burial? Perhaps Queen Gabriela might even allow his body to be repatriated and buried with his family. Every year, this date in July comes and goes. Maybe in 2017 we can let Mauretia, and its former king, have the closure we all need.

Dr. Maya Abeldarme is a professor of history at the Universita Sansu Trinitu in Masqula.
Dr. Tomas Galixenu is a historian with the Bivlioteqad Nationala ad-Mauretia.

Nude drunk elite party surprises visitors of commercial centre of Bakiřvē Ots (Řots)

(Kavatořre (Řots), 1 July 2017) – A number of late night shoppers in the commercial centre of Bakiřvē Ots, in the Ēzentep district of Kavatořre near the village of Nī Tek Prusu Loko and the SAF border were awkwardly surprised last night when several dozens of partying people entered the premises – without any clothes on. Shocked passers-by called the police, who arrived shortly afterwards. It turned out to be a mixture of lower nobility and several upper class persons whose party had started at the nearby Kīvi estate earlier in the evening.

“For the sake of their privacy the police won’t mention the names of those involved, although we suspect that several pictures may pop up at social media in the next couple of hours”, a spokeswoman of the police told the press. “I can mention however that among the guests of Lord Kīvi were noted local politicians, a few captains of industry and several members of the nobility whose identities we are in the process of varifying – which, as you know, is complicated.

“The cause of this problem has been identified as an alcoholic substance that causes almost instant drunkenness and makes you feel hot so that one’s first instinct is to undress. The effect may take several hours to wear off. We questioned the assistants of a noble woman who is suspected of having brought several bottles to the party and is the only one whom we encountered still dressed.”

The noble woman was reveiled (by herself) to be Maro Tōr, the Duchess of Kartori. She is one of the few members of the higher nobility that hasn’t retreated in their castles and estates since the middle ages to live by the Codex of Řots, a set of laws and protocols that over time has made governing the country so impossible that common citizens started to form their own modern society, now almost twohundred years ago. The Duchess is often seen in high society situations and generally tends to behave oddly.

The Duchess denies having anything to do with it this time however. “Of course I didn’t bring these bottles of … what was it called? Shputs? Shlurp? … to the party? How could I? I wasn’t even aware that these nice people would react like this if they drank it! The person who sold them to me only told me that those who consumed it would have a great time!”

VP Patrick Houser plans to “not hold back” in 2018 Freedemian presidential election, will not endorse President Angela Rosenthal

In a PWN interview yesterday on Wake Up, Freedemia!, vice president Patrick Houser said he plans to “not hold back” in his campaign for president, and that he thinks he’s a good candidate with good ideas that can give President Rosenthal a run for her money. He announced he will not be asking supporters who voted for Rosenthal before to vote for her again, respectfully adding that he’s running to win.

Traditionally, since in Freedemia, the runner up in an election becomes the vice president, a president and vice president who got along and wanted to keep the administration set up the same way will more or less endorse each other, usually encouraging people who voted for the vice president originally to vote for him or her again, and same for the president. This generally works if Freedemians are happy with both the president and the vice president. Many expected Houser to do the same, as Rosenthal-Houser has been one of the most highly esteemed administrations in recent Freedemian history.

Houser wanted to make it clear that he respects Rosenthal greatly and enjoys being her vice president. “I really trust and support President Rosenthal. I don’t want this to be construed as meaning anything different. But I have a lot of my own ideas as well, and I think I’d be in the best position to implement them if I was in the office myself.”

Patrick Houser was originally a newscaster for FFRA 10 News, Progress World Network’s Franklinsburgh affiliate, until running in 2016 as an underdog candidate for vice president when Tom Morganton resigned due to his daughter developing cancer (today she is doing well and the cancer is now in remission). Houser came from behind with a grassroots movement and would edge out former vice president Marco Nelson for the position. Now, as Vice President, Houser has been the source of a lot of big ideas in the Rosenthal administration, while President Rosenthal was more the steady handed leader that implemented them.

It is very possible that Houser becomes president and Rosenthal is runner up and becomes vice president. This has happened once before, with Andrew Ames and Sarah Gerbertson. Ames had been president with Gerbertson as vice president, but things like Gerbertson’s commitment to going green and advocating for barechested equality and reducing censorship of non-offensive images gained her enough supporters to push her above Ames in the election, making Gerbertson president and Ames vice president. Houser is only trailing Rosenthal by 2%, and there are still several months leading up to the election.

Meet the candidates in Freedemia’s 2018 Presidential Election

QUENTINSBURGH- The campaign season for Freedemia’s presidential election is well underway now. The presidential campaign period in Freedemia stretches from late April to early October during major election years, with the runoff election for president and vice president taking place in November. The Freedemian Funding Party goes through a vetting process and narrows the candidate list down to approximately 5 candidates to get ballot access, though others can get access by way of petitions in all 11 states.

This year, 6 candidates made the cut, 2 by default, 3 by FFP vetting, and one by petition. Former Vice President Marco Nelson, long considered a front runner, actually decided not to run, remaining a foreign policy advisor in the Rosenthal-Houser administration after Houser extended the olive branch this past vice-presidential election.

  1. President Angela Rosenthal
  2. Vice President Patrick Houser

The first candidate is President Angela Rosethal, and the second is Vice President Patrick Houser. As is normal, the incumbent president and vice president, if they choose to run again, do not have any charges or investigations open against them, and are not at the end of their term limits, are automatically pushed into the next round.

Incumbent Angela Rosenthal is currently one of the highest esteemed presidents in Freedemian history, and is the obvious favorite for reelection. Her moves to make citizenship easier to obtain for law-abiding individuals and families; her spending reallocation act transferring money from military spending and elections to healthcare, infrastructure, and education; and her pushes for Freedemia to take its stand on the global stage in technology, innovation, and tourism have been huge steps forward for the country. Rosenthal is actually the reason for the shorter campaign period, as she pushed for election reform earlier in her term including a drastic reduction in funding for campaigns.

Former newscaster and Incumbent VP Patrick Houser’s biggest accomplishments have been on the health side of things. Along with Rosenthal, Houser spearheaded the moves for making drinking water free and accessible for all Freedemians, tackling the restroom shortage, and more than quadrupling the amount of funding for private urgent cares across Freedemia to reduce the amount of people going to the emergency room. Houser has also championed a green infrastructure plan hoping to help the country continue to go modern and go green, including roadside wind turbines, water turbines, solar farms, nationwide wifi for the digital age, etc. As a former newscaster himself, Houser also proposed an act that holds media sources more responsible for inaccurate reporting, especially where investigations or national security interests are involved.

  1. Vandover Mayor Lily Mae Clarington

Mayor Lily Mae Clarington was a major supporter and leading advocate for Amendment 30, which made public nudism and barechested equality constitutional, allowing public nudity nationwide as long as it is not accompanied by indecent behavior. Clarington has pushed for the banishment of dress codes and censorship altogether, as the city of Vandover did several years ago under her leadership. Like Houser, Clarington has pushed for investment in infrastructure. Clarington is a big advocate for making Freedemia a global hub for tourism, hoping to bring the success Laneston and Vandover have seen with nudism and movies and that Quentinsburgh has seen with arts and music to the rest of the country. Clarington also wants to essentially shrink Freedemia’s military by 85%, saying she’d like to see Freedemia truly become a center for peace, pacifism and diplomacy.

Clarington has surprised many by openly campaigning barechested, and is known for being a proud nudist who would frequently go nude on the job as mayor. Clarington also is pushing for legislation that regulates the actions of and breaks up the “clothing industry”, saying large clothing corporations are hurting and creating a negative body image for Freedemians and people all around the world.

While 94% of Freedemians identify as pacifists or non-agressionists, most do want to see a small but strong military to protect the nation, and it is unclear how voters will respond to her drastic proposed military cuts.

  1. Economist Derrick Barson

Derrick Barson is an economist, formerly an economics instructor at Hayes University in Quentinsburgh and now an economist working for the Freedemian Liberty Economic Institute based out of Franklinsburgh.

Barson’s proposals largely center around personal freedom, smaller government, and public-private partnerships, essentially helping shrink the government while stimulating the economy. Barson has proposed decriminalizing sales of marijuana products and wants to increase protections for “victimless crimes” when performed on private property. Barson advocates for helping competition by deregulating certain industries and proposes allowing non-governmental groups to take on some roles currently held by government organizations. Barson proposes fully privatizing infrastructure and simply providing some funding, pointing to FreedemiRail as a successful example and pointing out that most transit systems in Freedemia are private companies already and that private partnerships for road construction and maintenance could be successful. Barson believes private companies should be responsible for the type of green innovation Houser has proposed, and has expressed a willingness to work with Houser on his proposals as long as they were simply incentivized and not carried out by the government.

  1. TweetBook CEO Katherine Nelzer

Katherine Nelzer has become a familiar household name. Founder and CEO of the social media site TweetBook, Nelzer has become more politically outspoken in recent years, especially pertaining to the growing global cyber-security threat. Nelzer believes that Freedemia is one of the most likely worldwide to be a victim of a large cyber-attack, due to its large and growing global footprint, minimal military action, and lackluster national cyber-security protections. “A pacifist society can still be a secure one. Cyber warfare is a thing, and we need to be prepared.” Nelzer also believes that in this changing society technology is key. She supports Houser’s pushes for things like nationwide wifi and data, and, like Barson, believes incentivizing the tech industry could be one of the most important moves to help make Freedemia even more of a world leader. She cites Stepstone Technology and BuyGolly.com as two of the successes she hopes to see repeat in tech innovations nationwide, and hopes, like Houser, to see Freedemia become a champion of smart cities as a global example.

  1. Actor Craig Schluderman

Craig Schluderman is an actor who plays President James Glasner on the comedy crime show National Security. While Glasner was just a role, Schluderman has always been interested in politics. He had joked on TweetBook back in December about running, posting “Maybe what we need now is a President James Glasner to move us forward” with a link to an interview with comedian Greg Harveyman on the Late Night Show about Schluderman’s views on global politics today. Millions of signatures came in, giving Schluderman the ballot access he needed to be candidate #6. Schluderman’s campaign so far has emphasized Freedemia’s growing presence on the global stage, and has pushed for more diplomatic presence in global affairs. Schluderman believes Freedemia has a responsibility to equal rights and justice, and proposed reducing relations and trade with countries that currently have a record of discriminating based on race, gender, or religion or of human rights or war/land/border violations. On the domestic side, Schluderman wants to crack down harder on improper practices in the rice farming and mining industries that are so large in Freedemia to make them safer for workers.

This election is expected to bring up a lot of important issues that are expected to continue to make a difference in Freedemia no matter who is elected. A major upset could still be possible. While Rosenthal is still the favorite, if for no other reasons than her being loved by the people, being the incumbent, and being successful so far, it appears the issues this election centers around are not the same issues Rosenthal championed just 4 years ago. Between Houser championing health, green technology and innovation, Clarington championing tourism, pacifism, and body image, Barson championing fiscal responsibility and privatization, Nelzer championing cybersecurity and technological advancements, and Schluderman championing social justice and labor reform, Rosenthal surprisingly has the weakest platform, or at least the least bold one. Rosenthal has been so successful in her first term that she doesn’t have many unique campaign goals for a second one.

The first PWN poll coming out today shows an interesting trend. President Rosenthal is in the lead, as expected, with 29% of the vote. However, Vice President Houser is actually very close behind with 27% of the vote, slightly unusual for an incumbent vice president, who would normally come in second but largely behind the current president. Nelzer is in third with 18% of the vote, Barson in fourth with 11%, Schluderman in fifth with 8% and Clarington in sixth with 6%, most of which is coming from her home region of Laneston/Vandover. Marco Nelson, though not running, still managed to rake in about 0.4% of the vote in the poll as a write-in candidate.

meta-chart (4)

Schluderman seems to be in second in the sparsely populated states of North and Guijarros, both home to large amounts of rice farms, and Nelzer seems to be in second to Houser in Trenchent State, the tech capital of Freedemia, where Rosenthal is in a surprising third. Houser is leading by a large margin in his home state of Franklins, getting a whopping 57% of the state’s votes with Rosenthal trailing with 16% in Franklins. Barson did best in the Savvenahsburgh area, known for being very lenient on “victimless crimes” and for championing privatization.

The first televised debate is expected to be on June 10th, aired on PWN.

Bill in response to Freedemian restroom shortage would reduce penalties for public urination

QUENTINSBURGH– Reeds Poplator Selena DiCostranado introduced a bill Friday afternoon addressing a problem related to the Freedemian restroom shortage in an unique way. The bill, currently simply dubbed Populus Bill 46, would lessen sentences/punishments for public urination. Essentially, the bill says public urination cannot be classified as a lewd act, and can only be punishable by law in the case of related vandalism or desecration/hate crimes.

The reasoning behind the bill, according to DiCostranado, is that public urination is something done out of desperation, not done for the purposes of being lewd. Even with Amendment 30, which switched the country from an indecent exposure model to an indecent behavior model and made non-lewd exposure legal in all 11 states, most ordinances continued to consider public urination “lewd”.

Currently, the legislature seems torn on the matter. Quentins Poplator Samantha Bond expressed concern that the country’s image as a clean, hygienic, beautiful nation would be at risk if people thought urinating on the side of the road or in public spaces was acceptable. Guijarros Poplator Jared Greenbrooks expressed concern that the bill, if passed, would set a dangerous precedent and could lead to something like public defecation becoming legal down the road.

Others supported the bill wholeheartedly, with the main reason for supporting it being the reduced punishment.

“It’s ridiculous that depending on the city, people have been fined, held for questioning, and even charged with lewd acts simply for not peeing on themselves when they couldn’t hold it anymore,” Trenchent Poplator Harrison Mead stated. “People have to pee, whether that’s in a toilet, in the grass, or in their pants. It’s not really a choice. Reducing the punishment for public urination to only being punishable when used for vandalism or desecration just makes sense.”

It does seem like the bill has a fair chance of passing the House of Populus, with the most recent stats estimating about 29 out of 47 Poplators are very likely to vote for the bill (a majority is 24). The House of Decisions is expected to vote that the decision only needs to be voted on by the House of Populus to become law.

While much of the attention was brought to the issue by then-vice-presidential candidate Diane Wooten-Whitaker peeing on herself during a live debate, the Freedemian restroom shortage has become a much more widely recognized issue over the past couple years, with studies and surveys showing that most Freedemians were choosing not to drink as much as they should for fear of not being able to find a public restroom, leading to greatly increased cases of heat stroke and dehydration-related illnesses and health problems.

Freedemia has in the past had an odd relationship with public restrooms, and with no ordinances in 99% of cities or towns requiring public restrooms and until recently, no statewide or nationwide requirements at all, many businesses and public places had opted to only have restrooms for employees or paying customers, some even going as far as to charge for bathroom usage. (Some lower level local courts had upheld these practices in the past, with the reasoning being the money would help pay for cleaning and maintenance.)

Some steps have been taken that are expected to make a difference over time, such as the passing of the slightly controversial RAWAA, which requires public businesses to provide public restrooms. However, in some places, including DiConstranado’s home state of Reeds, the shortage (as well as the rebellion among business owners refusing to comply with the law) is still bad enough that people are still finding themselves not able to find a restroom.

This bill comes in the midst of a greater move for the health and well-being of Freedemians, largely under the vice presidency of Patrick Houser. Other major recent moves have been about making sure water was accessible for all Freedemians, such as providing easier universal access to free drinking water (WAWAA) and removing water from “no food, no drink policies” (Walden v. VAULT). Healthcare reform is expected to happen in the coming months as well, with the emphasis being accessibility for all Freedemians, thus increasing the health of the country as a whole.

Freedemian National Court rules in Walden v. VAULT that water cannot be included in “no food, no drink” policies, solidifies water’s status as an essential right and need

QUENTINSBURGH– The Freedemian National Court made a long awaited ruling during a special judicial session on Saturday in the case Walden v. VAULT. The ruling mainly ruled that water cannot be included in “no food or drink” policies, including “no outside drinks allowed” policies, based on a court case between VAULT (Vandover And Urban Laneston Transit) and an asthmatic passenger.

QUARTA, Quentinsburgh’s transit system, stopped including water in their “no food, no drink” policies back around 2013 when it became clear during an abnormally dry and hot season that the hundred-degree temperatures (Fahrenheit) and difficult access of water in some places was part of the reason heat strokes and other exhaustion/dehydration related illnesses were so rampant in Freedemia. A couple other Freedemian transit systems, such as PLATA in Personsboro/Leonard, GoFARTher in Franklinsburgh, and LART in Trenchent/San Grande, followed this lead, which would lead to a lot of businesses and school systems also changing their policies similarly.

However, VAULT was not one of these transit systems, which would end up leading to this case. In July 2016, on one of the hottest days in the year, Maurice Walden ran to catch a VAULT bus to get to work with a bottle of water. While he was allowed on the bus, when an out of breath Walden tried to drink some of his water, the driver (who will remain unnamed) asked him to follow the “no food, no drink” policy. Walden, an asthmatic, attempted to explain that he needed the water after running to catch the bus, but the driver made Walden put the water away anyway. Walden would have an asthma attack a few minutes later.

While he ended up being okay, Walden reported the way he was treated to VAULT, only to get a letter saying that he had been in violation of the “no food or drink” policy. Walden would sue VAULT, and over the course of the year the case would make its way up to the National Court.

The ruling in favor of Walden asserted that water is a “fundamental right and an essential need”, and that the only times it is reasonable to include water in a “no food or drink” policy is if its a location like a science lab where drinking water could result in the direct harm of the person drinking. This is a pretty big deal, and solidifies through the courts the importance of easy access to water. President Angela Rosenthal has been trying to emphasize the importance of water and restroom access for a while, passing WAWAA and the slightly more controversial RAWAA, but this is the first time that the judiciary upheld the importance.

Vice president Patrick Houser praised the decision as a huge step forward. “This day marks a step towards a time where Freedemia becomes, even moreso, a world leader in fundamental rights and environmental consciousness”, he said during a brief remark after the ruling. Houser has been known as a champion of moderate environmentalism since his election in 2016 to vice president, advocating for a faster move to public transportation, more reliable renewable and green energy, easier access to water, and higher standards in green architecture and design.

Wiwaxia’s The Unspeakable Distance of the Stars wins 2016 Golden Delta Film Festival

EZAJUN – 23 films from 21 countries around the world were selected for the 2016 Golden Delta Film Festival, that took place in Ezajun, Neo Delta, last December. Since the nominations were announced, in the beginning of that same month, The Unspeakble Distance of the Starsthe science fiction comedy-drama from Wiwaxia, made headlines, gathering the most nominations for the festival. When the results were announced, in a ceremony with stars from the cinema world, all the expectations were comfirmed and the Wiwaxian film received 3 awards: best film, best actress, and best screenplay. Hyansen so Felwe (The Troubles of Peace) from Kojo, got two awards, including best director.

One of the stars of the night was Karolina Klimešová, from Drabantia, who won the award for best supporting actrees: ‘I just don’t know what to say. Such a surprise! Thank you!’, said Klimešová during her speech at the ceremony. The best song category was one of the most difficult to predict and went for the film Hermano Mathías, from Balonis. Mike Dawning, from the Pasalian film Where Are You, My Brother? gave one of the most emotional speeches of the night. Other highlights were the best documentary, A Long Way From Bhagurah, from Lallemend, and the acclaimed Hopponese film, 顎に矢印 (Arrow to Chin), that won best animation.

See the comple list of winners below or click here.

2016 winners

2016 winners