A worthwhile contribution?
It’s all a game…
I spent 10 minutes by the birdcage in our dining room this morning; I have two budgies and one of them is incredibly affectionate but noisy, so I gave them some attention to calm them down. We have always had a pet bird in our house – sometimes a cockatiel, but mainly budgies. They are small, interactive and full of character. All in all, they are nice house pets, and I like to think that I give them the most attention when I am not upstairs doing work.
My, that was an odd start to one of my informal essays. Budgies. What do they have to do with micronationalism? Am I just copying other literary techniques by starting off with something personally reflective and emotive?
Well, probably, but it is not my intention, but, yes, I guess the budgies are somewhat important. People who speak to me often and get in contact with Landashir may know that the budgies are a recurring theme in conversation. Whenever I am downstairs and in a video call with somebody, all you can hear in the background are screeching bits of feathery fluff nattering on about their own business. They, I should hope, characterise that bit of Landashir that is perhaps not seen in the community – ever since Landashir joined MicroWiki and several related inter-micronational organisations in June 2008 (not 2009 as some people were insisting in a Skype discussion yesterday afternoon), the budgies have always been here. They have constantly been chirping in this house when I have carried on with my work and without them, I know that the Landashir’n spirit in our household would be lost.
Landashir’s history is a nice one, in my view. Started by a naive young boy, such as myself, in 2001 as my imagination knew no bounds, it took until 2008 to realise that there were other nation creators out there. We joined the now defunct United Micronations in early Summer, which was home to a few major players in our community, like St.Charlie, who later joined when they came into existence in November. I still have a hard copy of a treaty I signed with member-state Rhodesia.
We were there and after being introduced to the Wiki that was slowly being built, you could say, though others would vehemently disagreement, that Landashir was in this community good-and-proper. It’s nice reminiscing about this – at the time I was uploading information and reading about other people’s creations. I often try to liken our activities to some sort of art expo; we are not only producing our own concepts, but we are appreciating the work of those around us at the same time. We were amateurs and we still are. No work of art is particularly perfect, but when we start focusing on imperfections by exaggerating them and, and then unnecessarily ridiculing them, as many of us have seen within our community since the beginning, I do think that it is no longer a community, but more a school playground. The bully of the school yard is looked up to; he is of course impressive and at times you talk with him, despite the fact that you know you hate each other’s guts beyond written expression.
I will admit that I have sided with bullies before. Regrettably, of course, but then again, we all have. It is a chapter in our lives we have read too often and would rather forget or at least try to show in a positive view. And that is fine. I have reflected about this long and hard, and people are sick of it. So I will refrain from talking about our past because it will answer and will come to nothing.
But I won’t stop there; as long as the budgies have sung in their cage, Landashir has gained considerable recognition within our group of nations. When I think back to it, I spent a lot of time on Skype in 2008 talking to people who I wanted to meet. The communication between others is a valued cultural glue that we all use time and time again, but sometimes abused by some. Emails were being constantly written to other non-Wiki states, and sometimes a reply was received offering support and advice.
I may have not been participating in online Skype conversations at the time, or running the administration of the MicroWiki community, but I know that I was watching and took part, at least. A man may not be in government, but there is nothing stopping him from viewing a parliamentary session or just reading a newspaper now and then; that doesn’t mean he is ignorant or a person who is not qualified enough to make a comment.
Nowadays things have changed. After turbulent scandals and controversy, in which Landashir was present and taking an active part, we are quite old. I will not deny that – we’ve been contributing since we joined, before the “community” was shifted to private discussions. I have gained administrative duties, I have made the effort on several occasions to meet other micronationalists and show an open human face to micronational diplomacy.
We have not acted with ‘professional’ values, unless I am mistaken, but to many of the other older members of the community, I have gained a place in their circle of friends. Landashir doesn’t publish treatises, and I have never tried to cause offence in how I run my nation. Our contribution is however then what, exactly? Landashir is about decorum and openness – ideals I think suit people better than trying to force oneself to be critical and high-horsed for the sake of the outcome, rather than being conscious of what one is doing, or at least, not admitting faults or issues.
When the budgies are no longer chirping away, though, how do I know that my time here has been worth it? How do I know that my contributions have been worthwhile? Perhaps it is something that I shouldn’t be worrying about. After all, it’s all a game.