Echo dzei
(“Echo of the day”)

Wnierdzej, 20 fiebraze 2009 o., 23:05 u.


RŁ: “Dear listeners, it is 23:05, and this is the Echo of the Day. My name is Rzenata Łyczężana. With only 4 °R, it is awfully chilly outside, but in our studio the temperature is rather pleasant. Isn't it, dona profesórz?”

OS: “It is, Mrs. Łyczężana. I would even...”

RŁ: “And that was the voice of our guest today. I'm sure most of you have recognised her. It is a true honour for me to welcome prof. Onute Staniszkiene in our studio. I think prof. Staniszkiene doesn't really need much of an introduction, do you? Anyway, for the record, I will mention that she is the director of the Institute for International Relations of the Venedic and Lithuanian Academy of Sciences in Warsina. Furthermore, prof. Staniszkiene is a sociologist, and one of the world's leading specialists regarding snorist and post-snorist societies. She has written numerous books about several aspects of post-snorism, isn't that right, dona profesórz?”

OS: “It is, although I'd like to...”

RŁ: “Very well then. Welcome to our program, professor. It is a pleasure to have you here.”

OS: “The pleasure is all mine, Mrs. Łyczężana.”

RŁ: “I knew that. Anyway, professor, snorism is not what we are going to discuss today. Instead, we will talk about recent events in Southeast Florida. Now, professor, you have never quite hidden your criticism of the government's policies in Florida. Initially, you supported our occupational policies and even advised our government on those matters, but later you changed your opinion. In 2006, you were among those who signed the famous Letter of the Fourty-Nine, demanding that the Republic should leave Florida as soon as possible. You haven't changed your opinion ever since?”

OS: “No, I haven't.”

RŁ: “Dona profesórz, odd things have been going on in Southeast Florida lately. Very strange things, I'd say. It all started with the mysterious bombing of the Aldendorf Hotel in Miami last month. Immediately after the incident, governor-general Jużeń Bambaryła disappeared without a trace. And five days later he reappeared equally mysteriously. So, it seems like there is no connection whatsoever between the bombing and Bambaryła's disappearance after all. Don't you think the coincidence is a bit strange, though?”

OS: “It is strange indeed. If you consider...”

RŁ: “Strange indeed, professor. We still don't have a clue as to who is responsible for the bombing, to begin with. Nobody has claimed responsiblity for the assault yet.”

OS: “Indeed. And the ODS1 seems clueless. The governor-general's office has said from the beginning that it must have been the work of bushist guerrillas, but...”

RŁ: “... but the truth is that there is no proof of that whatsoever. Isn't that what you were going to say? They blame the terrorists beforehand for anything that happens. And it has been that way for quite a few years now, hasn't it?”

OS: “Sadly so. In fact...”

RŁ: “You have undoubtedly heard the rumours. That there is much more to the attack than meets the eye. It has been suggested by some that the assault could equally well have been the work of the governor-general himself. Have you considered this possibility? It must be said that it came in extremely handy for our occupational forces! As you remember, the event was followed by directly the a complete pacification of the province of Rzebamarz. Officially, general Krowiranda's forces were only visiting the region for a military exercise, but when they – indicentally, as they say – stumbled upon pockets of armed resistance, they didn't hesitate for a moment to fight a few heavy battles with them. As a result, over 8000 people were arrested, and at least 500 people died on the battlefield. Rzebamarz is under full military control now. Couldn't it be that Bambaryła's staff simply needed a pretext to launch a massive attack against Floridians who are fighting for independence of their country, and therefore staged the bombing themselves? Do you believe such rumours, professor?”

OS: “It is hard to tell. There isn't any conclusive evidence of that either. But it surely...”

RŁ: “Suspicious, isn't it? That's what I think, too.”

OS: “It is not impossible. But whatever can be said about Mr. Bambaryla, it is a rather grave accusation. Either way, it should be researched properly. In my opinion, however...”

RŁ: “If there will be anything left to research, of course. In all probability, much of the evidence may have been burned by now.”

OS: “If...”

RŁ: “But the real issue is, what was exactly going on with governor-general Bambaryła during that week? Right after the bombing, he vanished without a trace. He was generally suspected dead. Nobody knew anything about his whereabouts. And a few days later, he mysteriously reappeared, coming to his office as if nothing had happened at all. Dona profesórz, how is it possible that a governor-general leaves for a conference for several days and even his senior staff doesn't know about it? How...”

OS: “Well, let me first point out that that is the official version. It is not impossible that at least some of his staff actually knew about it, but simply were forbidden to talk about it.”

RŁ: “That seems odd in a country that claims to be a democracy. Many people feel that Bambaryła's disappearance is part of something much bigger. Something that might actually endanger democracy, or undermine peace in the region. But let's return to the official version: the governor-general had simply left for a meeting with a Greek delegation. And the fact that his staff didn't know about it was just a misunderstanding. We still haven't been given any official explanation as to what this meeting was about, have we?”

OS: “Well, officially...”

RŁ: “Except for the official statement, a confidentional meeting with a delegation from Greece about matters of the utmost importance, nothing has been said about it. So, to recapitulate, the governor-general disappears right after or right before an entire hotel is blown up, apparently by terrorists, then spends no less than five days on an island with an unspecified group of Greeks, then comes back as if nothing has happened at all, and tells the press that he has had a meeting of the highest importance, but doesn't give any details. And obviously expects that nobody is going to ask questions about it either. Why, professor?”

OS: “Mrs. Łyczężana, there are two...”

RŁ: “I can see that. But first of all, to you believe the official version to be true? Was Bambaryła réally in Kap Kaniawerały2? Or are the Floridian authorities trying to hide something?”

OS: “That's what I was going to say, but you interrupted me. The point...”

RŁ: “I interrupted you? I apologise if I did, it was not my intention. Honestly, it rarely occurs to me that I interrupt a person. Anyway, you were saying?”

OS: “I was going to say...”

RŁ: “... that the Floridian authorities are really up to something, didn't you?”

OS: “Yes and no. They are obviously hiding something, but I don't see any reason to believe the official version isn't true. In other words...”

RŁ: “In other words, you think there really was a secret conference with the Greeks in Kap Kaniawerały? Do you believe the rumours that it was emperor Konstantinos himself the governor-general had been talking to?”

OS: “We don't...”

RŁ: “Dona profesórz, you have surely read today's edition of the Wiortać Popłu3, haven't you?”

OS: “Of course.”

RŁ: “To clarify: under the screaming headline 'SOLD!!!' the Wiortać Popłu published an interesting theory today. Apparently, an anonymous member of Bambaryła's staff has leaked the following information: that Bambaryła has actually SOLD Artezja island4, which is part of our zone of occupation, to Greece for 75 million talar. To Greece or to Konstantinos personally, nobody knows that for sure. Now, I know this information is still unconfirmed, but it is an interesting hypothesis, don't you think? Do you believe it, professor?”

OS: “Well, if it is true, then...”

RŁ: “So, let's suppose it is true. The RTC sells Artezja to Greece. Can we do that sort of thing at all, professor? After all, we don't exactly own Florida, we merely have a mandate over it. A mandate that is supposed to end one day.”

OS: “Theoretically, yes. But things are not that simple, you know. It's not like the League of Nations gave us a mandate for, say, five years. One could say that it has been an odd joke of history that we ended up there at all. As you remember, after the Florida War, Florida proper was divided into three zones: the North, occupied by the NAL, the Southeast, occupied by Ireland, and the Southeast, occupied first by Scandinavia and subsequently handed over to us.”

RŁ: “Of course. The NAL quickly annexed its zone, Ireland has been trying its best to stay low-profile and to work towards the germanisation of its zone, and we? We have rather been trying to follow the American example, haven't we?”

OS: “Our line regarding Southeast Florida hasn't been consistent from the very beginning. It is, however, obvious that the Aldendorf government and the Janać government, the latter even more so, have been steadily working toward full incorporation of Southeast Florida.”

RŁ: “The fact that the Ministry of Floridian Affairs was renamed Ministry of Colonies last Autumn says more than enough, doesn't it?”

OS: “Quite so. And now, to answer your question: of course we cannot sell something that isn't ours. But we cán sell or give away part of our mandate over Florida. That's exactly what the Scandinavians did, after all. Besides, the precise nature of this mandate is very unclear. Same thing with its duration. In other words...”

RŁ: “Do you think the international community will accept such a move?”

OS: “The truth is that most of the international community will be more than happy to see us leave Florida and let the Floridians take care of their own business. If we sell part of it to another country, there will definitely be a lot of noise about that. They will call it a big scandal, and frankly, I'd even agree with them. But the question is if they can do anything about it. I have to say, I doubt it very much.”

RŁ: “Besides, there is yet another issue. The island Artezja is part of the province Baja Pałmia. In other words, it's in the middle of the Commonwealth of Four Palms, which proclaimed its independence recently. Now, information from that region is scarce and often contradictory, but it seems like our armed forces don't even control that region at all anymore. In other words, even if Baja Pałmia is still officially part of our zone of occupation, it is de facto functioning as an independent state, and has been recognised as such by quite a few countries already.”

OS: “That is to say...”

RŁ: “If that is true, couldn't it be that Mr. Bambaryła is simply aware of the fact that Baja Pałmia, including Artezja, is lost for the RTC anyway, and on the very last minute is trying to make some quick cash out of it? It's a public secret that Bambaryła's pockets are deep. What do you think, professor, are the Greeks being lured into something that might backfire later? Do you think this deal is profitable for them?”

OS: “Well, in this stage I...”

RŁ: “And then, professor. Why Greece? I mean, Greece hasn't exactly made itself popular with all its talk about re-establishing a huge empire.”

OS: “You ask a lot of questions at once, Mrs. Łyczężana. To...”

RŁ: [LAUGHS] “That's my job, professor.”

OS: “I know, but it would be nice if you would allow me to finish a sentence sometimes. So please allow me to answer your questions. First of all, why Greece? As you are undoubtedly aware, there has been a major shift of power in Greece in 2007, when the Imperialist Party took over.”

RŁ: “Snorists, right?”

OS: “I wouldn't say so, although there are some undeniable parallels. Snorism was almost by definition an ideology imposed by Russia, not carried by a majority or even a significant minority of the population. The Imperialists, however, have the support of a considerable part of the Greeks. Also, the religious element, characteristic for snorism, is almost absent in their ideology. But it is clearly a strongly nationalist group, and since they came to power there has been a lot of nationalist rhetorics and talk about a huge Greek Empire. It is unclear whether this isn't merely rhetorics, though. But it is clear that Greece has the desire of becoming a significant player in world politics.”

RŁ: “Isn't it a matter of us selling Florida simply to the highest bidder? I mean, Mr. Bambaryła would probably have sold Florida to the devil himself, wouldn't he?”

OS: “I can't look into Mr. Bambaryła's head, of course. To me, in a way Greece even seems a logical choice. Let's face it: we are clearly running out of resources, and 75 million talar is a lot of money. Greece obviously has both the resources and the will to take over part of our job. The only thing I'm not so sure about...”

RŁ: “So what is Greece going to do with Artezja Island, in your opinion?”

OS: “I don't know. The subject has come up before, about half a year ago, when a Greek spokesman mentioned such a possibility. He announced that should it ever happen, Greece would call in some hardcore mercenaries, soldiers, policemen to whip these Floridians into shape. But later that was rectified. It pretty much depends on who exactly would become the new caretaker of the island. If it's the emperor in person, it could be that he simply is looking for a place where he can spend his vacations, go for hunting, that kind of things. If it's the Greek state, they will probably try to turn it into a colony. If it's some Greek company...”

RŁ: “Turn it into a colony? Just like we did? Do you think they can do that, professor?”

OS: “Legally speaking, there's little that can stop them. All this is due to the weird circumstances under which Florida was occupied back in 2004. Three countries were left which huge chunks of the country, but without any clearly defined mandate, and more importantly, without a deadline, without any fixed day of departure. The Greeks will not be the owners of the island, just like we are not the...”

RŁ: “How do you think Cuatro Palmas is going to react, professor?”

OS: “I was actually coming to that. If this whole thing is true, and Bambaryła sold Artezja to the Greeks, then...”

RŁ: “They won't be too pleased, will they? I mean, they are fighting for independence, and now instead of one occupant they will have to deal with two!”

OS: “Mrs. Łyczężana, the status of Four Palms is still very unclear. You see, the whole region is unstable at the moment. Here we have the occupational forces of the Republic, who claim to have everything under perfect control, then we have the Commonwealth of Four Palms, apparently an initiative of local Floridians who are more than fed up with us, and even further North there is the NAL. I think the danger of a possible NAL invasion is still something to count with. And then there are other parts of Southeast Florida... Rzebamarz is another hotbed of resistance and...”

RŁ: “So you think Bambaryła is going to use the Greeks as a shield against both the Cuatro Palmese and the NAL?”

OS: “In a...”

RŁ: “Dona profesórz, if that is so, don't you think it is a little naive on the part of the Greeks to jump into this hornets' nest so easily? They just may end up fighting both the Cuatro Palmese, the NAL and God knows whom else.”

OS: “That is hard to predict, Mrs. Łyczężana. Their presence in Kap Kaniawerały might as well...”

RŁ: “In any case, interesting times are ahead of us. Thank you very much for your very interesting comments, dona profesórz. It is time for a few questions from our listeners now. Yes?”


Voice: “Hello? Hello?”

RŁ: “You are on the air. What is your question to professor Staniszkiene?”

Voice: “My name is Karół Grędziny from Kawalin. Yes, I think it's a scandal, all those things that the press is saying. It's a scandal, and they should apologise in public, that's what they should do!”

RŁ: “Who should apologise and for what?”

Voice: “Well, the press, you know, for all those things they write about Florida. It's a scandal, you know, that's what it is! They should apologise for it.”

RŁ: “So, what did the press write, then?”

Voice: “Well, it's obvious, isn't it? It's all one big conspiration! I mean, look at all those ugly things they wrote about the governor-general. Mr. ... Mr. Bambaryła. That he was in that hotel with prostitutes and all that. That he is taking bribes. That he is connected with the Olęca Siekrzota5 and stuff just because his brother... It's a shame, that man is such a hero, such a patriot. I mean, what do they know?”

RŁ: “I see. What's your question to the professor?”

Voice: “My question? Ehmm... Well, she doesn't seriously think Mr. Bambaryła is visiting prostitutes and so on, no? I don't think so. Doesn't she think that an apology would be in order? I mean...”

RŁ: “Thank you for your question. Do we have time for another question? I think so. I'm listening.”


1 ODS: Oficz Dziefięce Statu, the RTC's secret service
2 Kap Kaniawerały: Cape Canaveral
3 Wiortać Popłu: “The Truth of the People”, daily newspaper, connected to the communist PKRDK
4 Artezja: *here*'s Merritt Island
5 Olęca Siekrzota: “Secret Alliance”, a criminal organisation acting mostly on RTC territory, involved in arms and drugs trade, espionnage, blackmail, terrorism and various other illegal activities.