In the midst of the Middle Eastern refugee crisis roiling Europe, an unrecognized “micronation” on a chunk of no-man’s-land between Serbia and Croatia is trying to market itself as a haven for tens of thousands fleeing civil war in places such as Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and, especially and most tragically, Syria. The so-called Free Republic of Liberland was declared April 13th (as reported at the time in this blog; see also article here) on three nearly empty square miles of grassy fields, thickets, and riverbank along the Danube River, one of several shards of intersecting claims by Serbia and Croatia as a result of the shifting course of the winding Danube over the decades. Neither side presses its claim, but both are clear that Liberland has no right to set up shop there. The republic is intended as a libertarian utopia, founded by Vít Jedlička, a 31-year-old officer in the Czech Republic’s small libertarian Free Citizens’ Party (Strana svobodných občanů). Croatian and Serbian police and border agencies have quietly foiled attempts by Jedlička to do more than raise a flag there. Meanwhile, despite Jedlička’s big talk to the contrary, the chances of any kind of international recognition are close to nil.
|“Bring us your tired, your poor, your hungry ...|
and we will take every last penny they have and then turn them out into the cold.”
|Big plans for Liberland|
|Alleged scenes of Liberlandic nation-building can be found on YouTube.|
But it’s not clear if anything is actually being built there.
|Flag of the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis|
Jedlička even went so far as to host, at a hotel in Istanbul, a Liberland recruitment drive on September 16th. Turkey is the point of transit for most European-bound refugees from Syria and elsewhere.
|H.I.M. George II, Emperor of Atlantium|
|Liberland’s one building. It doesn’t look like it can sleep 10,000.|
|Swiss volunteers scouting Liberland for a good spot for a refugee camp|
[You can read more about many micronations and other separatist and new-nation movements, both famous and obscure, in my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar. The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon. Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this interview for more information on the book.]