Hello Guys! Today, I want to introduce a thought experiment I’ve been considering for some time. It involves self-determination, freedom, and practicality, and will hopefully help us all understand nationbuilding a bit better. I’m very keen to discuss with you! First of all, let me introduce to you the Island of Islandia.
The island of Islandia floats in the great ocean of oceania, and has some contact with the outside world. The island has a long history of changing borders, infighting, and political intrigue, but in the civilised modern day, three political entities have emerged. In green, the country of A. Gold is represented by country B, and Pink is represented by country C. These three nations have had a long history with eachother. Their statistics are as follows:
Predominant ethnicity - Apeople
Predominant ethnicity - Bpeople
Predominant ethnicity - Apeople
While country A and C can be considered very similar ethnically (their cultural differences can be put down to the color of hat they wear on Sundays), country B is a bit of an outlier. Country B is an incredibly homogenous state, with 99% of its population of the ethnicity B. They were a conquering people, and at one point, had held a lot of territory in the northern part of the island. Here is the territorial extent of country B at its peak, 100 years ago:
Scared by their brutal ways, a coalition of what would later be country A and C finally managed to push them back. The peace treaty which settled their borders was under a policy of ethnic majority, wherein only provinces of 50% or more of ethnicity B would be granted to country B. This did however, leave a significant diaspora of Bpeople in country A, leading us to the present debate. After the peace treaty, the two regions highlighted in orange were left with a percentage of 40% Bpeople each, yet didn’t make the cut to be granted to country B. Bpeople are significantly different to their island counterparts, and don’t even wear hats on Sundays! Their folk music is very loud and disturbs their Apeople neighbours. In light of this, the “B Free” movement has gathered momentum in the two provinces of country A, and the government gathers, deciding what to be done. Here is the scatter of Bpeople in the two provinces, wherein olive represents Apeople, and gold Bpeople. Each pixel represents one house, and the ethnicity of the person that lives within it.
The Bpeople in country A don’t really feel welcome. Even with autonomy for their settlement groups, the Apeople still look at them funny and laugh about their lack of hats. Most of the stores are in Apeople neighbourhoods, and sometimes the Apeople throw scraps of cloth at them, demanding they fashion hats. Now, quite luckily, a majority of the Bpeople live in a long strip bordering country B’s territory. The two northern strips are cut off, however. Here arises the first major question. The people need visas to leave and enter each country. Should the two Northern strips of Bpeople be granted to country B, effectively locking them inside country A, or is higher autonomy the better option? Who would pay for all this paperwork? Country B is being granted the land, should they do the logistics? Aside from this question, the southern strip is now integrated into country B. Here however comes the tale of the unlucky exclave… If you look closely, one Aperson household is totally surrounded by what is now country B’s territory. Allan, as we will call him, has no access to food and water, can’t set foot off his own lawn, and is starving to death due to lack of stores on his property. Is the Bpeople freedom worth Allan’s starvation? Should he just… accept it for the greater good? Should the treaty have been more explicit on exclaves? Aperson Allan is a victim of his placement. What are your solutions? Would an independent Bperson republic in former country A territory have been better? Were the “oppressed” Bpeople too touchy? How important is their desire to not wear hats?