|Mari'im'iki Repu'iki Tan'a'u Ta'i |
United People's Republic of the Mari'im Islands
|Conventional short name:|
|Ingallish:||Mari'im, Maritim Islands, UPRMI|
|Data codes:||MM, MIM|
|Others:||Toku'ika, Sa'a'iki, Rihu, Mu'o'ana, Lendian|
|Other:||Aka'ii, Koru'ii, La'iri'ii|
|Government type:||Communist with theocratic elements|
|Head of state:||The Lai'a Ari'a|
|Population:||about 16,000,000 Mari'im|
|Organizations:||United Nations of Vexillium, Free Confederate Community|
The United People's Republic of the Mari'im Islands, commonly known as Mari'im, the Maritim Islands, or the UPRMI, is state occupying a chain of islands to the east of Melania.
The government of Mari'im is relatively complicated by international standards, and incorporates a number of quite different elements. The guiding philosophy of the Mari'im state, known as ki'ali, is a mixture of communism, environmentalism, and spiritualism, which the Mari'im government see as being inextricably interlinked.
The Mari'im political system concentrates most political power in the hands of graduates of the Rose Academy. The Rose Academy is the training centre for the country's ruling elite — those who wish to hold high office in the regime must gain acceptance into the Academy, where they are groomed for whatever role is deemed most appropriate for them. Entry to the Academy is based partly on merit, but mostly on loyalty to ki'ali. The head of the Rose Academy, called the Commandant, is regarded as the highest intellectual authority on ki'ali, and is its chief interpreter.
The head of government of Mari'im is called the Commisar. This role is directly bound to the Rose Academy — when the position becomes vacant, it is, by law, filled by the outgoing Commandant of the Academy. The Commisar, besides being the face of Mari'im abroad, is responsible for appointing the Revolutionary Council (which functions as the Mari'im cabinet), the National Security Committee (which controls the military and police), and the Superintendents of the country's various districts. Appointments to the Revolutionary Council and the National Security Committee must theoretically be approved by the elected Chamber of Deputies, but thus far, the Chamber has never opposed the appointments made by the Commisar. Appointments of Superintendents are entirely at the Commisar's discression, and Superintendents are invariably drawn from the Rose Academy.
The Mari'im legislature is bicameral, with the two houses being the Chamber of Deputies and the Hall of the People.
The Chamber of Deputies, which consists of 141 members, is directly elected, although all candidates must be verified as "citizens in good standing" by the police before being alowed to contest elections. The Chamber of Deputies theoretically controls the Revolutionary Council (the Mari'im cabinet) — although members of the Revolutionary Council are appointed by the Commisar, all appointees must be members of, and be supported by, the Chamber of Deputies. The Revolutionary Council must also submit its proposed budget to the Chamber of Deputies for approval. In reality, however, this control is illusionary — the Chamber of Deputies has never gone against the wishes of the Commisar. The Chamber of Deputies also creates Mari'im law (at the suggestion of the Revolutionary Council), and amends the constitution.
The Hall of the People, the upper house of the Mari'im legislature, consists of 500 randomly chosen members. Any citizen who is eligible to stand for election to the Chamber of Deputies is eligible for selection to the Hall of the People. The randomness is intended to ensure that the Hall is indeed representative of the Mari'im population at large, rather than of professional politicians. The Hall of the People is able to veto any decision taken by the Chamber of Deputies.
The Mari'im judiciary is where the theocratic elements of the country's government comes into play. The Lai'a Ari'a (sometimes known in other countries as the Alva Lama) is, as well as being the country's highest religious authority, responsible for appointing the judges of Mari'im's courts of law. The Lai'a Ari'a is theoretically advised in these appointments by the Revolutionary Council, although in practice, the Revolutionary Council "asks" the Commisar to fill this advisory role. Law courts in Mari'im are be divided into three levels - the lowest is the District Court, with three Appeals Courts above them, and the People's Court at the top. The People's Court has the ability to veto new law on the basis of the country's constitution.
The United People's Republic of the Mari'im Islands is divided into twenty-seven Districts and two Autonomous Regions. The Districts exist primarily for ease of administration for the central government, and have little in the way of self-government — their Superintendents are appointed directly by the Commisar. The Autonomous Regions, by contrast, have slightly more power - they have their own representative bodies, which have some ability to override laws and directives issued by the central government.
Political parties in Mari'im operate under considerable restrictions - unless an organisation is deemed by the police to be "working in the interests of the Mari'im people" (ie, broadly conforming to ki'ali), it is generally forbidden.
The dominant political party in Mari'im is the Revolutionary Communist-Environmentalist People's Democratic Party, or RCEPDP. It is strongly aligned with the islands' ruling faction, and most of its leaders are closely associated with the Rose Academy. The RCEPDP considers itself to be communist, environmentalist, spiritualist, and populist. It holds an overwhelming majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
A number of smaller political parties exist, mostly in token opposition to the RCEPDP. The largest is the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which takes a more liberal approach than the RCEPDP — while it does not criticise ki'ali, it argues that the government should not attempt to impose ki'ali as forcefully, and that support for ki'ali must be voluntary to be genuine. The DPP is generally considered to be a puppet of the RCEPDP, existing simply to preserve the illusion of choice - in fact, though, the DPP does have a small amount of genuine autonomy. The DPP contains a number of dissidents who oppose ki'ali, but who believe that challenging the system openly would be suicidal. Other minor parties include the Populist Party (which supports ki'ali even more strongly than the RCEPDP, allowing the RCEPDP to seem moderate and reasonable), and Revolutionary Green Party (which stresses the environmentalist element of ki'ali), the Free Isles United Party (which represents the people of the Free Isles), and the People's Theocratic Party (which stresses the religious element of ki'ali).
The earliest signs of civilisation in the Mari'im islands arose in around 1400 BP, and were centred on the island of Vaha'ai. Certain similarities with the Chitec people of nearby Xochimechatl have prompted speculation that trade links existed between the two. Vaha'ai influence gradually spread throughout the islands, and eventually, states began to appear throughout the central and southern portion of the archipelago. Civilization also developed among the Rihu people of the Aka'i'a peninsula, influenced but distinct from the other cultures. Initially, the most powerful state was Vaha'ai, but eventually, northern kingdoms rose to challenge it. The various states which emerged in Mari'im sometimes traded peacefully, and sometimes waged war on each other.
In 482 BP, the first outsiders arrived in the islands — the visitor was a Lendian fleet under an admiral named Tandro Amarito, who was searching for the lands first reached by Caboteniasan seafarer Styrbjörn Eriksson. The islands were named the Islas Amaritimas (translated as "Maritim Islands") in his honour, and the islanders, having no native name to refer to the archipelago as a whole, eventually assimilated this as Mari'im. Amarito's dealings with the islanders were friendly, and a small amount of symbolic trade took place before the fleet returned to Lendia. For a time, Lendia was content to leave the islands alone, if for no other reason than their lack of valuable resources. But eventually, as more of the new world was uncovered, the islands came to be seen as stepping-stones to a larger and more profitable empire, and the Lendian government placed pressure on the local kingdoms to accept status as "protectorates". While there was a certain amount of resistance, most kingdoms gradually accepted Lendian hegemony in exchange for promises of continued independence, but these promises were soon eroded by more Lendian demands. Over the course of a hundred years, the Mari'im kingdoms gradually lost their power, becoming puppets to the local Lendian authorities. The Lendians did not, however, attempt to impose any particular policies on the islands, preferring to leave day-to-day governance to the local rulers.
Lendian dominion over the Mari'im islands continued without significant disruption until the Plague, which prompted the collapse of central government in Lendia itself. This effectively ended foreign control of Mari'im, allowing each individual state to revert to full independence. When states were re-established in Lendia, most of the new countries were too busy fighting one another to think about Lendia's former territories, but when the new Lendian Empire was eventually founded, its government laid claim to all former Lendian holdings, including the Mari'im islands. This claim took some time to realise, but eventually, Lendian forces arrived in the islands to assert Lendian control. This time, there was resistance to the Lendian forces — the resulting conflict is called the Lendo-Mari'im War. While the Lendians were much better equipped and trained, they were few in number and far from home, and the Mari'im forces put up a considerable fight. In the end, however, the Mari'im were defeated, and the archipelago became part of the Lendian Empire.
Gradually, however, the Empire began to falter, both in its control of the islands and in its support at home. Protests in Lendia eventually forced the end of the monarchy, establishing a new Free Confederacy of Lendian Republics (FCLR) — this coincided with a major campaign by independence advocates in Mari'im. At the forefront of the push for independence was the RCEPDP political party (see above), which had gathered considerable support from the people. It was decided that territory that now comprises the Mari'im state would be be granted partial independence from the new FCLR, achieving the status of "Associated State". To the great dismay of Mari'im nationalists, however, it was decided that there would two separate states, not one — the islands would form one, while the Aka'a'i peninsula would form another. (The reason given for separating the peninsula from the islands was that between the Rihu and the Lendian immigrants living there, it should not really be considered "Mari'im".) Moreover, the island known in Mari'im as Kua'i, which many Mari'im consider to be part of their country, was also broken away, and did not even achieve the position of Associate State — it remained an FCLR dependency.
The new FCLR did not last long, as the demands for independence from various ex-Imperial territories were too great. After only a year, the FCLR collapsed, and the Mari'im islands voted for independence. A constitutional convention was held in order to determine the shape of the new state — the RCEPDP, as the primary actor in the independence movement, was dominant in the discussion, although it is debated whether the RCEPDP actually had the support of a majority of the Mari'im people. The United People's Republic of the Maritim Islands was founded, with its official ideology closely mirroring that of the RCEPDP.
Since then, two territories (Kua'i and Xochimechatl) which were originally part of the UPRMI have departed to establish themselves as independent states. In addition, the islands' government has launched a campaign to promote the use of native names (or at least, the native forms of foreign names) in reference to the islands — hence the preference for Mari'im over Maritim. The UPRMI's reputation around the world is generally rather poor.
Mari'im is an island state, situated in an archipelago to the east of the continent of Melania. The largest landmasses are the island of Mo'i'a (larger than all the others put together) and the Aka'i'a peninsula (part of the same island as Solimar). Other notable islands include Vaha'ai, Su'a'iti, and Da'iliau'ia.
Most of the Mari'im population is indigenous to the islands. The average citizen of Mari'im has dark skin (although not as dark as is found in parts of Melania) and black hair. Traditionally, the Mari'im ethnicity has been divided into four subgroups - the Toku'ika, the Sa'a'iki, the Mu'o'ana, and the Rihu. The latter group, the Rihu, are noticably distinct from the others, and have different traditions and culture. There is debate in academic circles about whether the Rihu should be counted as part of the Mari'im group at all. In addition, there are a number of immigrant peoples living in Mari'im territory — most are Lendian, reflecting the fact that Mari'im was once a Lendian colony. Mari'im also incorporates the so-called Free Isles Alliance, a number of small islands outside the main chain which were settled by various foreign countries.
The Mari'im economy is not highly developed by international standards, and the Mari'im government does not place a high emphasis on economic growth — it sees unrestrained development as having a negative impact both on lifestyle and on the environment. Many Mari'im citizens still live on farming and fishing, and there is little in the way of heavy industry. Mari'im is officially a communist nation, and private enterprise, while not completely outlawed, is made very difficult. Tourism is a growing source of revenue on the Aka'i'a peninsula, but Mari'im law prohibits foreigners from travelling in other parts of the country.
Mari'im has an old and distinctive culture, and the current Mari'im government places considerable emphasis on preserving it.
The four primary languages of Mari'im are Toku'ika, Sa'a'iki, Mu'o'ana, and Rihu, corresponding to the four rough ethnic divides mentioned previously. The four languages are all related (Rihu less so than the others), but are not usually mutually intelligible. The official language of the islands is called Re'o'mari'im (literally just "Mari'im language"), and is an artificial language constructed from elements of Toku'ika, Sa'a'iki, and Mu'o'ana — it is used for government business, but not by ordinary citizens in their daily life.
The largest religion of Mari'im is officially known as Ula'ikism, although a number of alternative names have been used for it. (The most notable alternative is "Alva Lamaism", based two mistaken beliefs of early visitors to the islands — first, that Mari'im monks were the same as the "lamas" of Chungxipang, and second, that they were all subordinate to the monk who they called the Alva Lama.)
Ula'ikism is a meditative, non-theistic religion. It stresses harmony with nature, personal morality and self-improvement, and pacifism. It is a monastic religion, and monks have a high status in Mari'im society. There are a number of different Ula'ikist sects, each operating autonomously, but all acknowledge the Lai'a Ari'a (the leader of the largest sect) as the highest spiritual authority.