Sovermia’s Weekly Newspaper

cropped-whiteoak

Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 2, No. 9
3 July 2019

CHANGE of GOVERNMENT! Second Speaker Easton Is OUT!

More news as we gather and digest it!


 

cropped-whiteoak

Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 2, No. 8
26 June 2019

In honor of Gormostei Solastanonta, the recently-passed Summer Solstice, we publish this photo essay. Our regular format returns next week.

table -- FH
Potluck table, Friday 21 June ’19
evening-ease
“Evening Ease” — relaxing after dinner, Friday 21 June ’19
hike
Hike to Stone Chambers, Saturday, 22 June ’19
psc2--FH
At the mouth of one of the smaller chambers
at-ease
“At ease in the trees”
gathered
Gathered at the largest of the chambers
webwindow-GN
cobweb over chamber roof vent
SF looking up from inside kiva -- BB
within the largest stone chamber
after ritual -- CG
evening after Solstice ritual — watching the bonfire kindle
ignition
blowing the bonfire to flame
fir-KG
Solstice fire well under way
2druid-dudes
Second Speaker Easton (r) with friend, mugging for camera
sunrise-moon-BW
moon at sunrise, Sunday 23 June ’19, after all-night vigil
cedar and whiskey -- BB
basket of cedar boughs and bottle of whiskey for closing the weekend

cropped-whiteoak

Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 2, No. 7
19 June 2019

• The Nation •

Benjamin Bagby, Sorbonne professor of medieval music and touring performer of the Old English epic poem Beowulf, appeared in Southern Vermont last Sunday evening at Yellow Barn. Second Speaker Easton was an enthusiastic attendee, and reports that in spite of a bout of laryngitis, Bagby gave a spirited performance in the intimate and acoustically-ideal space at Next Stage.

Bagby2

“As a student of older languages”, Easton remarked,

and the creator of our beloved Sovermian language, I applaud the dedication of singers and musicians like Bagby in preserving, resurrecting and creating older music like his dramatic performance of this Anglo-Saxon poem.

“Speaker Easton simply enjoys public attention whenever he can get it”, exclaimed long-time Sovermian citizen Linka Rimbala.

He’ll talk about nearly anything as long as it gets him column space in Sovermjei Sedina, and in the public eye. I count on the Amending Syndicate to do the right thing and bring us the opportunity to appoint a new Second Speaker. Easton has enjoyed his turn. It’s time for a change.

We remind readers and all citizens that the relevant Syndicates are still in the open period where anyone may make an appointment to speak before the assembled Syndics. Engage your Sovermian rights!

Concerning initiatives to reform our language, Raja Gorba writes to clarify his reform proposal:

Sovermian as originally conceived allowed for optional tenses and moods we could easily re-introduce, given the agglutinative character of our language. Obviously nobody would need to use them. Since when do we expect even the use of tense, when we can always just use adverbs of time? But the optional affixes I propose to return to our language can enlarge possibilities for expressiveness, and that can only strengthen our dongva [language]. At a minimum, let’s try out +ud+ and +ob+ over the next month and then see how we feel about them! I welcome your comments!

• Solstice! 

We wish everyone a merry Gurmostei Solastata (Summer Solstice) this weekend, and we invite photographs and anecdotes about your celebrations for the next issue of Sovermjei Sedina.

• Skutlagigna 5 •

Here again is Skutlagigna 5, together with a challenge:

Etju mengodu makrostata vor morga – oinoludjei svostaputeja – praktikit azardei ir otrugavrei istudnosta. Translate the Skutlagigna as usual — it should be well-known to many — and therefore also comment incisively on the phrase oinoludjei svostaputeja.

Several writers promptly identified this week’s Skutlagigna as the famous tagline from Brinser (“Too often a macronation or country, as a source of personal identity, is an exercise in arbitrary and arrogant exclusivity”), but had little else to say.

Regarding the phrase oinoludjei svostaputeja, Raja Gorba writes,

“One-person-ed self-well”, or “individual source of identity” is a quintessential Brinser idiom, a typical example of her creative use of our language. Svostaputeja suggests to me a pooling of traits, character, reputation, deeds, and perceptions that together make up what we call our identity. While our nation has a corporate svostaputeja which Sovermians can articulate and largely agree on, an individual svostaputeja is a work of art of a different kind, on a different scale. Is it only a matter of proportions of those elements? In this two-word expression, Brinser sets down a challenge for Sovermians. Where do our identities truly come from? And what rightly belongs, and doesn’t belong, in them?

In the same spirit as this week’s Skutlagigna, here is next week’s Skutlagigna with a similar challenge: to what degree are surdunit and djuvalinja purely metaphorical?

Sir nu surdunit masei djuvalinja …

• Opinions and Letters •

Ifa Mezuva writes,

For some reason, American majority leader and senator Mitch McConnell now calls full enfranchisement for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia “full-bore socialism”, if we’re to accept his recent remarks on Fox News. Curious. Full statehood for both has long been a Republican position. Apparently McConnell “was for it until he was against it”. Could it have anything to do with the Democratic-voting majorities in either region? Maybe if the Republicans made them states, they’d swing Republican. And what, I have to ask, does statehood have to do with socialism? Voting rights are now socialist? Do we need to change the name of our Sovermian Republic to the Socialist Heaven of Sovermia, because each of us enjoys full democratic participation, including the right to appear and speak before any syndicate, and indeed to call for a syndicate in the first place?

Petra Salankuva takes issue with Mezuva’s comment in last week’s Sovermjei Sedina and writes:

Mezuva declares, “It’s good to be reminded of distinctions we need to make, especially in this time of blurring of distinctions, a dumbing down that’s called anti-elitist and democratic and populist and a number of other stupid labels that obscure how fast we all are to abandon wisdom whenever it suits us”. Are we not here subjected to just such a strategy, when sa finds distinctions handy only when sa wants to make them, and otherwise ignores them when it suits sa?

• Weather •

The forecast for the coming week includes rain followed by largely seasonable temperatures around the Summer Solstice, with the highs remaining around 80 F / 27 C.


cropped-whiteoak

Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 2, No. 6
12 June 2019

• The Nation •

Amending Syndicates announce progress on clarifying the term of office of Second Speaker. A petition to grant Second Speaker Easton an honorary position as one of our founders, and the principal creator of our Sovermian language, has met with stiff opposition.

“Non-governmental acknowledgement is perfectly appropriate. In fact, we should have done that long ago”, comments Sorva Duta. “But granting any form of politically established exceptionalism, to anyone, no matter how instrumental to our existence as a nation, goes against the understandings and ideals we hold dear, and which we proclaim in our founding documents and cultural practices. That way lies authoritarianism and cultish worship and a form of political sentimentality I hope never to see enshrined in law. What would an ‘honorary’ position even mean? Think, people!”

Raja Gorba, a frequent contributor to these pages, is circulating a petition to reform our Sovermian language, an explosive issue, given how much our identity is wrapped up in the idea, and ideal, of a common national language, regardless of how many of us actually speak it. Specifics of the reform include (a) changes and suggestions about how to adapt foreign names to Sovermian, (b) the addition of five tense and mood suffixes to verbs to increase its flexibility and expressiveness, and (c) some minor spelling changes to individual words, to bring them into conformity with usage as opposed to their dictionary citation forms.

More on this initiative in coming weeks as it unfolds. We encourage readers to write to this paper to contribute their opinions and responses.

• Skutlagigna 4 •

Last week’s Skutlagigna has been identified by Ifa Mezuva, who also sent in a letter about abortion in U.S. policy (published in Vol. 2, No. 5).

Here as a reminder is the brief text of Skutlagigna 3: Ese tojei kambja, ja vonis ker vidis non masei planeta.

Mezuva translates this proverb attributed to Gandhi, noting that these are not actually the Indian politician’s original words.

“Be the change, that you want to see on our planet” is a shortened form of Gandhi’s thought. His original words are: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” While “Be the change you wish to see in the world” usefully directs activist attention to correcting the worst excesses in the self, it doesn’t represent Gandhi’s perception that the origins of change lie in the individual and spread outward from there, and that therefore individuals are more innovative and effective when they do not wait for the support of others, but innovate and lead themselves. After all, one of Gandhi’s favorite songs, reportedly, is based on lyrics by his friend the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore: “If no one will walk with you, walk alone.”

Mezuva also inquires whether the idea for last week’s Skutlagigna comes from a recent New York Times article, “Falser Words Were Never Spoken”. “Nothing wrong with that”, says Mezuva. “It’s good to be reminded of distinctions we need to make, especially in this time of blurring of distinctions, a dumbing down that’s called anti-elitist and democratic and populist and a number of other stupid labels that obscure how fast we all are to abandon wisdom whenever it suits us”.

Our editors note that these annotations belong more appropriately in the Opinions and Letters section, but we have printed it here as commentary on language.

Here, finally, is Skutlagigna 4, together with a challenge: Etju mengodu makrostata vor morga – oinoludjei svostaputeja – praktikit azardei ir otrugavrei istudnosta. Translate the Skutlagigna as usual — it should be well-known to many — and therefore also comment incisively on the phrase oinoludjei svostaputeja.

• Opinion and Letters •

Raja Gorba writes:

“4 in 10 Americans prefer socialism”, says a recent Guardian article. In many ways this is a meaningless statistic, as the article does go on to concede, given how the word is used and abused so widely in the U.S. press and by propagandists on both sides of the aisle. We should also note here that our Sovermian sosjalisma does not equate to the English use of the word, as our sosjalisma is enshrined in the words of our Morgasempaga, especially in its Preambles.

The editors note that our Constitution — Morgasempaga — is available online to anyone who did not receive a hard copy through the post, and that in our estimation the most important is Article 2.1: “By living in community, and acknowledging that where we hope to benefit is a guide to where we likewise have obligations to help to preserve others’ corresponding benefits, we assent to and assume these obligations …”

An anonymous reader writes, commenting on the July 2019 Atlantic article on George Orwell:

Two sentences from the article caught my eye. “Not much has changed since the 1940s. The will to power still passes through hatred on the right and virtue on the left.”

Very well — we know the writer’s politics just from those two sentences. But this assertion could just as easily be reversed – the political expression of the Left is hatred of oppressive and non-democratic tendencies and their defenders; the equivalent expression is virtue, on the Right, in the form of Judeo-Christian morality, fiscal conservatism and support of traditional institutions. Admittedly the latter has changed somewhat for the Right, but so has the former for the Left. Liberals still struggle against what they see as oppressive and non-democratic tendencies, and preoccupy themselves with loudly expressed wish to extend rights to newly-named and identified minority groups (which seem to burst into view with alarming regularity), often hamstringing themselves with jargon and correctness, while conservatives have rebranded “fiscal restraint” as tax cuts to their favorites, with supposedly balancing cuts to government programs and regulatory over-reach they see as obstacles to growth; more than ever they define “traditional institutions” as the military and the multinational companies, particularly the petroleum industry.

• Sovermian Weather •

After a dip in temperatures accompanied by rain, the lows for the next week are noticeably higher (59 F / 15 C) as we approach the Solstice, while the highs remain around 80 F / 27 C.


cropped-whiteoak

Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 2, No. 5
5 June 2019

• The Nation •

Amending Syndicates have been busy this week hearing proposals, Constitutional debate and statements from citizens about two ongoing issues that led to syndicates forming in the first place: does Article 6.5 apply this year? (6.5 [Syndicate of Constitutional Review] “Within a maximum of every twenty years, a first and second order constitutional syndicate shall be convened specifically to review this constitution, and to override 6.3a above”). And how do we understand — and potentially legislate for greater clarity — the term of office of Second Speaker? We publish the best of these in “Opinions and Letters”, below.

If you wish to appear and speak before either of the two Syndicates, you may do so by contacting Dalva Inunka for an appointment.

rhododendron
Sovermian rhododendron

• Skutlagigna 3 •

We reprint the original text of last week’s Skutlagigna, and its translation posted to us by Raja Gorba:

Pron oktodekei ir septei vetsas, masei propatras tvoravot non ejei degmena morgja nevei, ja ludru gentagavot ir etidonavot don idea ker solvei ludjas sot somu kurtei.

“Eighty and seven years before, our antecedents formed in this land a new country, which they gave birth to freely, and dedicated to the idea that all people are made the same.” Raja Gorba also included this note with his translation:

“The subtleties of the original English lines from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address do not always come across, even with attention to careful Sovermian. How much has been lost that matters, and how much is simply rhetorical pleasure, available within any particular language, but not outside it?”

We invite readers to consider this question and welcome their responses here.

Here is Skutlagigna 3: Ese tojei kambja, ja vonis ker vidis non masei planeta.

• Opinion and Letters •

Sovermjei Sedina has received numerous letters this week, of which we publish a selection below. Many contributions we return unpublished, with a request for clarification and revision; we also routinely correct grammar and punctuation. We greet such a lively sharing of ideas as one sign of a healthy national culture for Sovermia.

One reader who wishes to remain anonymous writes:

“… that the easiest and therefore least objectionable amendment to circumscribe and define the position of Second Speaker is this: from Article 4.9 of our Constitution ([Term of Office] ‘The term of office of syndics of all Second and Third Syndicates shall be no more than one year’), remove the words ‘second and third’; this enlarges an existing law, rather than requiring a new one; makes it more consistent, certainly not a bad thing in itself; and includes all syndics, thereby not granting to the Second Speaker any special status (and one ambiguous in duration, as it now stands) which no other syndics enjoy. I assert that this is in keeping with the intent and sense of the Article and of our Constitution.”

Please present your ideas to the Syndics! They deserve careful consideration for their good sense.

Petra Salankuva writes in part:

… Rights are simply what a community is willing to grant its members. No more, no less. They do not exist in any other useful sense. To appeal to supposed “rights” that have not been enacted nor have the force of law is to confuse what may well be personal whim with communal interest. Bear in mind how many “rights” have existed through time which we would consider appalling – “wrongs” rather than “rights”: prima nocte or droit du seigneur being merely one which shows up in history and cinema because it offer ready plot and a dollop of sexual titillation – the supposed right of a medieval lord to the body of a peasant woman on the night of her marriage, rather than her own husband …

Ifa Mezuva writes:

In spite of the decades of attention abortion has received in the U.S., numerous other issues have long demanded – and continue to deserve – much more popular discussion, energy, support, legislation and action. Among them are energy production, use and distribution; education and training; pollution and environmental degradation; and overpopulation, among others. These ongoing issues concern many times more lives than those of the unborn. Zero population growth, to take up just one issue, was once a serious goal, with well-founded (and -funded) arguments supporting it, clearly connected to the other issues that have grown only more intractable – and I notice that the world certainly hasn’t gotten any smaller in the interim.

Nika Korula writes:

Everyone, we need to take ourselves way less seriously! Do we even need a Second Speaker at all, right now? Our Constitution is safely in place at last. No need for the expense of sending a representative to Microcon2019 [ed. note: the 3rd convention of micronations]! A dog named Max is mayor in one California locale. Maybe that’s a hint for Sovermians to take. And a recent Guardian* article says, “A number of other animals have assumed public office in the US, including Duke the dog, who was a mayor in Minnesota; Stubbs the cat, former honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska; and a series of hard-drinking goat leaders in Lajitas, Texas. None has yet mounted a serious presidential campaign.” And just to be clear, I’m NOT suggesting Speaker Easton turns an eye toward the politics of our large neighbor, either.

*The UK’s daily The Guardian is a popular (and left-leaning) newspaper for many Sovermians.

Zeroga Hilvija writes:

Both Sovermia and America would do well to recall the words of Hannah Arendt in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism, where she writes, “Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.” How well this applies to the current U.S. administration, and to others across Europe and elsewhere, I leave to your determining.

Jaza Ninda writes:

Let’s actually read our Constitution for once, rather than parading it like it’s the be-all and end-all of micronational identity that some of us treat it as. What do we really make of, and mean by, Article 3.1? “By living in community, we acknowledge a second time that the heart of all social compacts consists of fulfilling agreements and respecting boundaries defining persons and their property; we further acknowledge that where we claim rights is a guide to where we likewise have obligations to help to preserve others’ rights …”

Just how far do we expect to take the implications of this assertion? Have we thought through how far this extends, or could or should extend? Only to Sovermians? Or to others, like our American neighbors, who certainly share boundaries but not necessarily political perspectives with us? Is this worth bringing to the amending syndicate?

rowan19
The Embassy rowan in bloom

• Sovermian Weather •

Rainy and variable weather for early June continues. Temperatures this coming week, June 5 through 12, will vary from a low of 49 F / 9 C to a possible high of 80 F / 27 C. Gardens have sprung to green life, and the rowan in front of the Sovermian Embassy is now dressed in white blossoms.


cropped-whiteoak

Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 2, No. 4
29 May 2019

• The Nation •

Amending syndicates continue to gather citizen input — at this point the comment period is open, and appointments remain available to address the gathered syndics. Second Speaker Easton urges full citizen participation “in order to proceed constitutionally and prudently”, he remarked at a brief appearance at the embassy earlier today.

• Skutlagigna 2 •

The first Skutlagigna, published last week, is from Kate Chopin’s “The Story of An Hour” — identified correctly by Avda Jenusa:

The friends of Luisa knew that she had a weak heart. So they gently told her their bad news. Her husband Brently was dead.

“It was an accident, Luisa,” her sister Josephine said quietly.

This week’s Skutlagigna follows:

Pron oktodekei ir septei vetsas, masei propatras tvoravot non ejei degmena morgja nevei, ja ludru gentagavot ir etidonavot don idea ker solvei ludjas sot somu kurtei.

• Opinion and Letters •

“As a commonwealth, a republika, Sovermia has a natural interest in American politics”, writes Hona Gitla. “And this interest extends beyond typically American concerns, particularly those of the left-leaning majority New England where most Sovermians live. To hear many New Englanders talk, you’d think the apocalypse was seriously nigh. But Trump, whose personal morals are admittedly reprehensible, has put China on notice — and that is long in coming. He has withdrawn support from the European idea, just like many Europeans already have. Negotiating with individual nations often leads to better deals anyway, than treaties and compacts with the entire bloc that is the EU. Likewise Trump supports Brexit — a consistent position for him to take. It’s certainly not his fault that the British are making such a hash of leaving the EU. Trump has ridden the ups and downs of investigations into obstruction, collusion, and general corruption, and emerged on the far side with his standing largely intact at least with his base. While some of these charges have legs, and could dog him after his one (or two) terms as president come to an end, the American economy is currently strong, and he will receive substantial credit for that — but no more than any American president does for economic trends emerging from before their policies have time to make much impact. True, Trump reaps considerable benefit from the Obama presidency. If he wins a second term, owning the current economy as he claims, and it dips, he will bear the blame, more rightly than he can justifiably take credit for its strength now. But those are aspects every American president has faced for decades. Trump is no different in that regard, either. A strong economy in 2020 could earn him that second term he apparently craves.”

• Sovermian Weather •

Weather for the start of June will see temperatures ranging from lows of 49 F / 9 C to highs of 70 F / 21 C. The black walnuts have finally come into leaf, and the rowan flowers will likely open this week.


cropped-whiteoak

Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 2, No. 3
22 May 2019

• Dekpenkvodinas — Sovermia’s “15 Days” Festival — Begins 

Our editors don’t publish at the start of major festivals like Dekpenkvodinas, the 15 Days of May, so we make up for no news last week with this issue.

fire
Bonfires light up the first and last evenings of Dekpenkvodinas
fullmaymoon
A full moon on 15 May made the start of the Festival particularly bright
maypole
Dekpenkvodinas Maypole

• Skutlagigna •

In partial response to Raja Gorba’s letter about keeping our beloved language active in people’s lives, here is the first of what we hope will be a series of Skutlagigna — “story recognitions” — excerpts of well-known stories translated into Sovermian, as well as samples from original compositions in Sovermian, and brief comments on these.

Oinimei Skutlanugigna

Prijas gon Luisa gignavot ker savit don sa mogavnei kerda. Donker sas lentu vokvavot don sa sasei dusei skutla. Sei nerba Brentli-sa mortavit.

tusu vokvavit sei susra Josefina.

• The Nation •

We direct readers toward C. Douglas Lummis’s Radical Democracy (Cornell University Press, 1997; more recent editions exist) for observations that have become, for many Sovermians, only more acute and pertinent with the passage of time:

“How and when a people prospers depends on what they hope, and prosperity becomes a strictly economic term only when we abandon all hopes but the economic one”.

“A society is healthy”, declares conservative NY Times columnist David Brooks (13 May 2019), “when its culture counterbalances its economics. That is to say, when you have a capitalist economic system that emphasizes competition, dynamism and individual self-interest, you need a culture that celebrates cooperation, stability and committed relationships”.

We urge our people and our syndicates to play these two points off each other in our Constitutional deliberations, and to write with an eye towards our upcoming 20th national anniversary celebrations in August.

• Opinions and Letters •

There is a considerable political stir — for those who follow such things — as both Amending and Emergency Syndicates have now formed to address the newly-published Constitution and Second Speaker Easton’s increasingly long term in office. We urge those who wrote us to contact the appropriate Syndicates to speak, adduce evidence, etc., in the best of our Sovermian tradition. We will be publishing excerpts of the many letters we received in an upcoming issue.

Readers of the UK’s The Guardian have noted one recent Christian response to America’s moral quagmire in remarks by the Rev. Dr. William Barber, a pastor in North Carolina and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, who said:

“Any god with a small ‘g’ may be directing Donald Trump: the god of money, the god of greed, the god of racism. But he cannot claim to be a Christian and that God is directing him to be racist, to be Islamophobe, to hurt the poor and to take from the working people and poor people and give to the extreme wealthy and greedy who don’t need it, and to lie and lie and lie. All you’ve got to do is read Jesus’s first sermon where Jesus declared what it looks like when God is leading your life. When God is leading you, [you] will preach good news to the poor, you will develop good policies for the poor, you will heal the brokenhearted, you will free people who are captive in society, you will embrace the unwelcome and the unwanted.”

We invite responses and advocates for other positions to send us their opinions, links, etc.

• Sovermian Weather •

After a wet start to May, the weather for Sovermia over the next week looks — finally! — to be warmer and somewhat drier, with temperatures ranging from lows of 47 F / 7 C to highs of 77 F / 24 C. All but the “latest-leafers” are now showing their buds and leaves. The blossoms of wild strawberries in the embassy lawn gleam white among the green.


cropped-whiteoak

Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 2, No. 2
8 May 2019

• Catalan Leader Talks of “Reinventing Nationalism” 

In an interview with Salon in March 2019, Catalan independence leader Carlos Puigdemont discusses “reinventing nationalism” in ways deeply relevant to nations like Sovermia, but also to macronations around the globe:

I believe there is a very interesting debate in the offing about what exactly is a nation. We have the classic definition of a group of people conjoined by a linguistic or cultural unity and historical continuity living in a contiguous geographical territory. Catalonia obviously meets these basic criteria. But things today have now gotten much more sophisticated because of the creation of new identities that do not hinge so heavily on the matter of language. We are now seeing the development of non-territorial nations — for example, through social networks. These tools are creating identities and communities that have found cohesion thanks to these bonds. So in the fourth industrial revolution, extra-territorial states may become a reality.

Puigdemont speaks from exile in Belgium. Given both his assertions and the times, we can expect the Catalan movement to persist today in ways it simply could not in the past.

Like many micronations, Sovermia is both territorial and non-territorial. While a small physical nation of Sovermia exists, the idea of Sovermia is much larger. Our language, culture, history and perspectives contribute to the making of our nation; where our citizens reside matters much less because we have already “found cohesion”. Extra-territorial states have been thriving realities now for some time. Each will define for itself which of many next steps it might take.

DSCN2889
Bluets in the yard behind the Sovermian Embassy

• 31 Nations Visit Sovermia Online 

If we can trust the flag counter app at the bottom of our home page, citizens of 31 nations have visited this Sovermian website since it was launched last autumn: Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czechia, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela.

In particular we are grateful to see that our reach extends outside Europe, where citizens often are struggling with governments indifferent to freedoms so many have come to prize and assert for themselves. Meanwhile, the United States and nations in Europe face their own crises of trust in democratic processes, with the rise of right-wing movements, leaders and mal-propagandized citizens all inimical to a better and wider realization of democracy.

• Myanmar Journalists Freed 

Two Reuters Journalists, Myanmar citizens Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were released earlier this week in a general amnesty coinciding with the Myanmar New Year, after more than 500 days in prison, for reporting on the killing of Rohingya Muslims.

With press freedom and its central importance to the functioning of democracy threatened on so many fronts around the world, Sovermia commends this act of clemency.

• The Nation 

Dalva Inunka, secretary to the Second Speaker, commented this week on the publication of the full Sovermian Constitution to the Sovermia website, noting that it marks the start of the 90-day period of feedback.

On this note, we publish below a letter urging a constitutional review, in keeping with Article 6.5, which states:

Within a maximum of every twenty years, a first and second order constitutional syndicate shall be convened specifically to review this constitution.

• Opinion and Letters 

Dear Editors,

Yes, we now have a ratified national constitution, but let’s not for a moment relax our vigilance toward our government exceeding its mandate, however limited and checked. Though Second Speaker Easton enjoys considerable popularity, we simply need new blood. Others of competence and experience surround him. I urge not only the first 20-year constitutional review on this 20th anniversary of the founding of our nation, but the formation of a special syndicate for elections. Contact me to sign a petition.

Article 4.8 provides for selection of a Second Speaker, but does not define the term of office. Is it indeed one year, following Article 4.9: “The term of office of syndics of all Second and Third Syndicates shall be no more than one year”? If so, why is Easton still in office? If not, we need clarification! Is the term of office sufficiently delineated by Article 4.2, wherein the First Order Syndicate “is the sole permanent standing syndicate. However, one third of its membership, chosen by sortition, shall be replaced annually”. Does that apply to the office of Second Speaker?

Petra Salankuva
Brattleboro, VT

Dear Raja Gorba,

In reply to your letter last week requesting a Sovermian edition of this paper, we urge you to exercise your Sovermian obligation to engage this issue and launch a group dedicated to nurturing knowledge and appreciation of masei dongva, our language.

The Editors

* * * * * * * * *

NOTE: Individual opinions and perspectives published in the Opinion section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official Sovermian policy or practice, unless explicitly indicated as such in a signed post.

• Sovermian Weather •

Relatively seasonable temperatures continue over the next week, from lows at night of 5 C / 40 F to 18 C / 65 F during the daytime. Still waiting to plant that garden? The threat of frost in all but northern VT is low.


cropped-whiteoak

Sovermjei Sedina – The Sovermian Week

Sovermia’s English-language Weekly
Vol. 2, No. 1
1 May 2019

Note: This inaugural online issue marks the 1st anniversary of Sovermjei Sedina, which has appeared irregularly, in Sovermian and in photocopied issues, from 1 May 2018 onward. In honor of this 20th anniversary year of the founding of the Sovermjei Republika and the first anniversary of this paper, we launch this weekly e-version.

• Crossing the Border – Xenophobia? No, xeno-gnosis! •

It’s no surprise that, as is often true for other nations, the boundary between countries for Sovermia is a road. With Sovermia’s location inside the American state of Vermont, our nation shares with the New England state a temperate climate and numerous dirt roads which bear the brunt of “mud season”, an unofficial but very real fifth addition to the well-known four of winter, spring, summer and autumn.

Of course, in a very real sense, with citizens residing outside the territory Sovermia asserts as its own, Sovermia exists where Sovermians are. Indistinguishable from Vermonters or other Americans (unless we’re speaking Sovermian or celebrating Sovermian holidays), Sovermians enjoy many benefits of ease of passage in both directions across the border. Long may we see no need for any diminishment of this freedom of movement!

• Beltana/Beltane – Maj-Oinima/May 1st •

DSCN2883“Is it spring yet?” To stand outside on a typical Sovermian – or Vermont – April day is to ponder this question anew, perhaps with rain and wind on your face, and mud underfoot. To celebrate the beginning of spring according to the ancient European traditions of Beltane, which takes place on or around May 1st, a few Sovermians gathered in northern Vermont last Sunday 28 April, along with a handful of local Druids, at a new stone circle in a municipal park north of Route 2.

Other citizens await Nevei Menota, the new moon on May 4, to welcome spring. With the Sovermian love of intimate parties and food, the tradition of eda pon albosta “eating from white” has spread from full moons to new moons, too. Eating from white means offering and consuming white foods, in keeping with the whiteness of the moon. Some have noted the similarities between this cultural observance and the Italian mangiare in bianco, though the latter is generally a folk remedy for general malaise — eating plainly, without (rich) sauces to interfere with easy digestion.

While foods for the Full Moon include both traditional recipes and customs unique to individual families, most Sovermians will choose their ingredients from among milk, cream, cheese, egg whites, potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, fish, pork, chicken and — stretching the color associations only a little — pears, apples, lychee fruit, cauliflower, radishes, white wine, etc. Certainly one can craft satisfying foods from these varied ingredients.

Given the busy-ness of modern life, most Sovermians don’t practice the all-night vigils once associated with the full moon – or the new moon, either – but many will stay up later than usual, telling stories, lighting candles, singing and playing music, etc. Moon-viewing parties wait until menotora “moonrise” to begin, and can become quite lively. If you’re visiting, consider it an honor to be invited to spend an evening with Sovermians during either nevei or polnei menota.

• Cafe Opening •

A much-anticipated sybaritic event each spring is the re-opening — a handful of miles across the border into Westminster, VT — of a cafe many Sovermians favor: Michael Lenox’s Cafe Loco.

Michael and his friendly, dedicated crew serve breakfast and lunch daily from May through November. (Check the website for occasional special-event suppers.)

(The rest of the year finds Michael wintering over in Florida.) Given its location near Interstate 91, the Cafe is also a recommended stop for visitors to Sovermia.

REGULAR FEATURES

• The Nation Today •

secspkrde2

Our sometimes reclusive Second Speaker D. Easton was recently photographed visiting friends in Minnesota. Here he is on a bright windy day in late April in Chanhassen, MN.

The full Sovermian Constitution will be published “within the week”, according to Dalva Inunka, secretary for the Second Speaker. Until now, only Articles 1 and 2 have been made available on the website. Our most recent Constitutional Syndicate has officially ceased its work, and in keeping with statutory syndicate practice, Speaker Easton directed that paper copies of the constitution be printed and posted, and also distributed to any citizen requesting one via Sovermia’s internal email, with the regular 90-day open period for comments.

On a related note, any citizen or friend of Sovermia is invited to volunteer to help with preparations for our upcoming 20th national anniversary celebration and Constitution Day in August this year. It promises to deserve our commemoration!

• Opinions and Letters •

In most modern democracies worthy of the name, everyone is “on welfare”. From highway construction to public utilities to primary and secondary schools to hospitals, most citizens benefit from the pervasive influence of social democracies and their subsidized services. We tend not to think of fire and police departments as instances of social welfare, but of course they are. A libertarian state might indeed attempt to assign these functions to competing private companies whose services citizens can then subscribe to — or not.

But in a social democracy, there is no choice — every citizen enjoys an extensive safety net that most people would quite frankly not want to be without. In our neighbor the United States, who would willingly give up Social Security? Yet it is simply an enormous social insurance program — and no citizen is exempt from the taxes on wages which help support it. Founded in 1935 as part of the U.S. President Roosevelt’s New Deal, it is an instance of a widely — and wildly — popular social democratic benefit. Attempts at its expansion, however, such as the Affordable Care Act popularly called “Obamacare”, have met stiff opposition from well-propagandized portions of the population. Is it even possible to please most Americans anymore? Given rampant misinformation among Americans, and a disturbing lack of reflection on what government is for, and does, and can do, this writer believes the answer is a resounding No.

* * * *

Dear Editors,

Can we continue a Sovermian edition of this paper? With the upcoming switch to an English weekly, many of us will miss regular reading practice of our language. English surrounds us on all sides. Help citizens preserve and cherish our national tongue!

Raja Gorba
White River Junction, VT

* * * * * * * * *

NOTE: Individual opinions and perspectives published in the Opinion section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official Sovermian policy or practice, unless explicitly indicated as such in a signed post.

• Sovermian Weather •

Relatively seasonable temperatures over the next week will range from lows at night of 5 C / 40 F to 15 C / 60 F during the daytime, with the chance of rain decreasing through the weekend.


%d bloggers like this: