Ruritania

In 2017, Queen Anastasia, the sovereign Monarc of Ruritania, hosted the biannual convent of MicroNations in Atlanta, Georgia. Ruritania is a micronation hidden an unknown place in Europe.  “Most of my citizens never even meet me” she tells the interviewer from Vice News. “They send in the application, I approve it. We also get a lot of people, trying desperately to leave third world countries. They think that were a country with enough land that they could move here. We can give them a citizenship but it comes without residency.” (Queen Anastasia in Vice News 2017, 2:50). Again the entanglement of comfortably-off Europeans’ and American’s play-pretend and global economy and boarder politics. Against the backdrop of the high-risk endeavor to get out of poor and dangerous parts of the world, the Convention of Micronations might seem a bit self-indulgent. However, alongside the costumes and the regalia sits something profoundly more serious. “Some people describe it as role playing. Micronations actually hate that.” Anastasia continues: “My husband was an invalid for a number of years […] I spent 10 years being a caregiver. Suddenly, I did not know what to do with myself. This fills my time. […] When I’m not being the queen, I’m being what other people want me to be. When I’m being the queen, I’m who I want to be.” (Queen Anastasia in HBO, 4:40)

Despite the obvious differences and the different stakes involved, the battle of the Nigerians hoping to gain access to Schengen by means of the NSK passport and the battle of Queen Anastasia might be construed as a shared one: an existential battle for the right to define the circumstances under which one wishes to live one’s life. But is there anything uniting Queen Anastasia, the shopkeeper’s men on the boats, and Peter Thiel? I’m giving that a lot of thought as I sit in my own little room at the Northern tip of Jutland, Denmark. The sun is setting but it just gets graduately darker without the usual spectacle of red, pink, and purple. I lean heavily towards a ‘no’ but I hesitate and then – as I refuse to draw that conclusion – a little figment of a thought comes to me. There is something about that private space, all to oneself, and a wider social network in which that space is … legitimized? …sustained? …entangled? Let me think some more.

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