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Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that’s very nearly halfway to syndication but not its own micronation… yet.
I’m your host this week, Aaron, and with me is Shea
I’m Shea, and this week I learned that not all German shepherds are dogs.
It’s our 50th show so we tried to do golden anniversary stuff… but don’t worry, we’re not going to talk about the boring stuff like the Disney World opening, or NPR beginning, or the first microprocessor. Or floppy disks, Willy Wonka, or Malibu Barbie. Also the Quarter Pounder, All in the Family, and Salyut 1 launch. I thought about doing a story on the Oregon Trail but the only interesting part of that story is Johnny dying of dysentery.
Instead, I present 50 years of Micronations. Popular nations like Sealandia are 50 this year, but we already talked about them so let’s talk about a few lovely new ones I’ve just discovered…
First, a small and mostly unknown Micronation: Akhzvivlad… or whoever that’s pronounced.
Like all good micronations, there’s a ton of backstory here but for today’s purposes, we don’t have to delve into the full backstory for the Arab-Israeli war because it is sufficient to say that the area between Israel and Lebanon, in the 1970s, was not an awesome place to settle. It was, to be blunt, a blown-up, burned-out, mess of an area.
Still, it didn’t stop Iranian-born Jew Eli Avivi, whose family moved to Palestine in the 1930s… which was declared the Israeli state in 1948 after the way. In 1952, Eli settled a ruined village called Akhaziv, which I’m super sure I’m mispronouncing. Anyway, this not a great place to be, much less start building illegally constructed huts and such. Still, Eli wouldn’t be swayed. Local fisherman, who he would later live with in the area, had reportedly paid him to rebuild the area.
Over the next 10 years, they would build, rebuild, and generally be unwelcome builders in the area until Club Med showed up.
The area slowly became a tourist attraction until in 1970 the Israeli government wanted to bulldoze Eli’s house to make way for more modern construction. And so, Eli decided that the village of Achziv would become the tiny nation of Akhzivland. He immediately set up a museum for the area’s rich history (which goes back to the earliest written works humanity has) and a hostel… in the former home of the fisherman, Az-Zeeb, who initially asked to restore the area.
Avivi founded Akhzivland and, wanting it to be a peaceful democratic nation, held an election which elected Avivi to be President of course because he voted for himself and the population at the time was… himself. “This way I can stay in Israel, but in my own country,” Avivi says.
According to the constitution “The president is democratically elected by his own vote”. So Avivi was immediately arrested and detained by Israel. He was released 10 days later after a judge ruled that the charge of “Creation of a Country Without Permission” did not exist.
This didn’t sit right with Avivi so he sued Israel for being a bunch of dicks about it all—and he won. The Israeli court ruled to lease Avivi an area of about 10,00m2 for 99 years. Which is great, but it didn’t make them a proper nation….
The area quickly became a tourist attraction in and of itself. The nation was described by Haaretz, a local Israeli newspaper as being a “hippy microstate.” Which was more or less correct. Avivi vowed the nation would be a peaceful one during its founding.
Now with some press and popularity, the nation began seeing tourism attracting all sorts, models, writers, politicians, cultural figures, and Paul Newman. So they were pretty much set.
At this point the draw of Akhzvivilad was untenable…. Even to Isreal whose tourism board officially recognized Akhzivivland officially the same year, 1971, making it 50 years old and the envy of every unofficial micronation.
With that, what was Avivi to do except getting going on their own flag, pictured here in all its … having a house and a topless murmaidness.
You can visit their museum and get your passport officially stamped with the Akhzviviland stamp. And things were going well for like… a month.
See, Avivi vowed that Akhzviviland would be a pacifist state and therefore remained neutral on international affairs, especially the splody ones directly around them. Making it, to date, the only middle-eastern nation to have never been embroiled in a war.
That said, it was all peace and cakes.
Still, in 1971, six Palestinian gunmen infiltrated the tiny nation on their way to Isreal. After all, Ahkviviland didn’t exactly have a border guard. At this point, the total population was two, Avivi and his wife. So the gunmen landed on the Ahkviviland shore and proceeded to the Akhvivialnd building. Surprised by Avivi’s (unnamed in all my sources) wife startled the gunman who dropped his gun and a sack of grenades, which she quickly picked up and used to take the terrorist prisoner.
Now knowing there be wars afoot Avivi alerted the IDF who captured two more in their boat and the rest in the area between Akhvivland and Israel.
li Avivi died of pneumonia on May 16, 2018. The tiny nation is, however, still promoted by the Israeli board of tourism, Tripadvisor, and Microcon 2017.
If You Go
Akhzivland is located on Route 4, 2.5 miles (4 km) north of Nahariya on Israel’s northern coastline. Rooms are available at US$ 34 a night with camping space at US$ 18 a night.
Australia’s micronation, the Principality of Hutt River.
About 55km north of Western Australia’s capital city of Perth you’ll find, if you look—it’s tiny by Australian standards, the micronation of Hutt River. Despite having a population of only 23, the nation is the size of Hong Kong.
The nation was founded on April 21, 1970 (ok I fudged the 50 years) by the late Leonard Casley, a wheat farmer who declared himself a king.
Casely had been many things in his life like a dock worker, and, apparently, a scholar.
Despite having left school at 14, he described himself as a mathematician and physicist asterisk He told people he wrote articles for NASA even…
Yes, Asterisk. See he was an adherent of hermeticism, which will totally talk about in another show, which was the philosophy of Hermeticism, or Hermetism, a philosophical system that is primarily based on the purported teachings of Hermes Trismegistus (a legendary Hellenistic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth). Which prescribed that god was all (yes Christian god), that there is a Prisca Theologia or unifying philosophy that explains all religions. Oh, and it favored Alchemy, Astrology, and Theurgy – or god-given magic that relies on Gietia, black magic, and reliance on evil spirits. So he’s a sane person
Theirs is a story of royalty, taxes, and giant fucking snakes.
Casley didn’t like Australia’s wheat production quotas. They considered the laws draconian. Casley had 4000 hectares of wheat ready to go when the law passed, limiting him to harvesting only 40 hectares worth. They banded with other local farmers but Sir Douglas Kendrew the governor didn’t care.
After trying, and failing, to sue the governor for A$52 million in the hopes of forcing him to reverse the quota Casely went full freeman-on-the-land. He claimed he could succeed from Australia through the law of Unjust Enrichment, basically, he was claiming taxation without representation, except instead of taxes, for now, it was limited on production.
Nevertheless, though, he claimed to continue to be a loyal subject of Queen Elizabeth II, go figure.
According to Casley, the local governor had referred to Casley as “Administrator of the Hutt River Province” which he took to be a legally binding letter of approval making him a king.
He began calling himself “His Majesty Prince Leonard I of Hutt” and then ate a little mouse creature before demanding someone bring him a wooky.
He did this too, according to him and no one else, to leverage the British Treason Act of 1495 which provides the de facto king of a nation cannot be guilty of treason in relation to any action against the lawful king (of England).
Casley continued to sell wheat in violation of the quota, believing himself to be unprosecutable as he is now a king.
Western Australia did not see it that way. On 15 Feb 1977, he was successfully prosecuted for failing to comply with the quota or pay any taxes… the Australian Taxation Office was not happy about that last one.
In December of the same year, the principality of Hutt declared war on Australia.
Prince Leonard Casley notified authorities of the cessation of hostilities several days later. Turns out he and his kids were not up to that fight.
But the prince had a plan. See, the prince argued that under the Geneva Treaty Convention of 12 Aug 1949, a government should show full respect to a nation undefeated from a state of war. And he was undefeated, having not been murdered by Australia that week.
Casley then wrote to the Governor-General and asserted that:
“Sovereignty is automatic to a country undefeated in a state of war … and if the state of war is not recognized by the other party, once the notice is given then these conventions apply to their relations.”
Of course, that’s all real dumb nonsense.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the prince became embroiled in a series of civil suits brought against him by his neighbors who were really tired of his stupid crap and the publisher of his autobiography “The Man” because he was, the man, after all.
He didn’t try to claim sovereignty in the case with the publisher, because they threatened not to print his book and that was, apparently, an international threat he would take seriously.
In about 2006, the Prince was again successfully prosecuted by the ATO. He sought special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia, but his application was dismissed with the comment that his arguments were “fatuous, frivolous and vexatious”.
So, he changed the name to the “Principality of Hut River” ’cause all those laws and suits didn’t mention that thing by that name…
In June 2017, Prince Leonard was ordered by the Supreme Court of Western Australia to pay $2.7 million unpaid tax, and Arthur Casley (his son) was ordered to pay $242,000 unpaid tax. They did not do that.
His health failing, the prince passed leadership of his nation to his youngest son Prince Graeme.
In December 2019, citing declining revenue from agriculture as well as a drop in tourist numbers, the Principality issued a media release to announce that it would be closing its borders with effect from 31 January 2020.
Prince Leonard would pass away on 13 February 2019, aged 93.
On 3 August 2020 the Principality was formally dissolved, amidst the financial market impact of the COVID-19 pandemic along with disputes with the Australian Taxation Office demanding the Principality pay millions in unpaid taxes across its 50-year history. The Principality’s owned land will be sold off to settle the tax dispute.
This last court case made the Australian government’s position absolutely clear when Justice Rene Le Miere ruled that “anyone can declare themselves a sovereign in their own home, but they cannot ignore the laws of Australia or not pay tax,” as reported by WA Today.
“PHR (The Principality of Hutt River) will not be continuing in such harsh times (as many others are also facing),” Prince Casley told the Guardian
Prince Graeme hoped the story of Australia’s oldest micronation would be remembered.
“That’s the history, and you can’t unwrite it,” he said.
“You just have to keep the archives and hope the story continues for the family.”
Prince Graeme said the property would be sold as farmland, and the archives kept safe “under lock and key”.
Of course, like all good micronations, he had coins, stamps, and passports made. In the end, they claimed 13,000 people has Hutt passports, which of course, they claimed as citizens.
His Royal Highness Prince Graeme’s brother, Prince Richard, meanwhile, holds the posts of Minister of Postal Services and Grand Master of the Illustrious Order of Merit. A position that puts him before people like BBC’s Richard Collett, who reported on THHR in 2020.
Prince Richard courts tourists from all over, insisting on stamping their passports with the Hutt seal of … being in Hutt: “We have a lot of tourists from Taiwan and Hong Kong; I think they understand what we are trying to do here.”
The Capital of Hutt, if you will, is called Nain after a nearby town. It’s a shabby building that holds all official royal events, the post office, travel bureau, and all the other important stuff, like the little tourist shop.
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In an effort to make the number 50 this week’s story star I had to get pretty creative. I could tell you a story of the element tin, whose atomic number is 50, or I regale you with tales of the sum of two squares which for 50 is 2×5^2 but it seems all of these ideas are duds. It is hard to tease out the funny in a math equation. I finally found my answer as I was drifting off to sleep after eating too much cheese, Numerology!
For you laypeople out there, and a refresher for me, numerology is a belief in the divine or mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events. It is also the study of the numerical value of the letters in words, names, and ideas. It is often associated with the paranormal, alongside astrology and similar divinatory arts. Perfect! It’s right in our wheelhouse.
According to WorldNumerology.com, an accredited source I assure you; “Numerology Is Based On The Personalities Of Numbers Numerology reveals a number’s inner nature and vibration, and how they correspond to your personal characteristics. You probably haven’t thought of numbers as having a personality, but as you get to know them you’ll realize most of us have preferences for one number over another. You make these choices because you feel an intuitive attraction to the nature or personality of the number. Numerology is based on the notion that everything is connected, and that everything exists in perfect synchronicity with everything else. Without that vision, Numerology, Astrology, and other Metaphysical sciences can’t exist.”
Oh shit, I think they just debunked it for us, if everything isn’t connected then all these other “sciences” must not exist…
Okay well the first thing you need to do to understand numerology is to suspend your disbelief just a little. There are, apparently, many different methods for not understanding numerology and all are different enough that you won’t get the same answers between them. The main way this “works” is you break down your name into letters assigned to specific numbers and then add the numbers up to find out what other number you are. Shea in the Pythagorean system would be S=1 H=8 E=5 A=1 so I’m a 15 but in, say, the Chaldean system, who were an ancient people who ruled Babylonia when Steve was a baby, S=3 H=5 E=5 A=1 giving us 14 which is close to 15 but in terms of numerology very, very different. I am already starting to see some flaws in these systems. Wikipedia lists at least 7 different methods, all of which will give different numbers.
You don’t need to be a math person to explore the magic of numerology. All it takes to start uncovering the mystical properties of numbers is a loose idea of science, pen, paper, and some simple arithmetic. There are apparently a couple of different numbers you need to figure out. Your life path number is the root of your birth date, to get the root you just add up the numbers until you get a single number, so if you are me and were born July 28, 1987. You would have the number 7 for a month, 28 would be 2+8=10 then you add those two numbers 1+0=1, and 1987 would be 1+9+8+7=35 3+5=8 then add all your roots together 7+1+8=16 1+6=7 my life path number is 7 and that means a whole lot of nothing. To get your destiny number you add up the different values of your name based on your method and much the same way and you get an equally useless number. Once you have these numbers you can look at your respective methods chart and see how your life is probably not going to turn out. Super easy!
Well, anyway, were not here today to divine my future and figure out my destiny instead we are going to dive into the true meaning of the number 50 Based on the significance that some of these various methods use. Numerology-thenumbersandtheirmeanings.blogspot.com gives great insight on the purpose of the number 50, personally, I thought it was a bridge from 49 to 51 but what do I know.
“The purpose of the number 50 is to promote fusion between body and soul, mind and spirit. Life is continuing education for the number 50, as this energy seeks to learn their real values relating to their ultimate goals and aspirations, and learning to obey their inner feelings to “know thyself.” The happy disposition of the 50 Destiny number attracts friends and good fortune and they know how to take advantage of all the blessings — Mentally, Physically, and Spiritually.”
Are numbers alive? Was the old joke about 7 eating 9 a historical account?
In one method of numerology, the focus of 50 is to attain greater stability. The law of 5 is ‘freedom in action, and when coupled with the vibration of the number 0, this energy is amplified. When 0 is combined with another number, the potential of that number is magnified and amplified, because of reasons. The number 50 is masculine, introverted, and relates to the star sign Leo. The related planet is Mercury and the Tarot Card representative of the 50 / 5 vibration is the Heirophant. Oh good, we needed some more woo to woo so we can woo while we woo. “The lesson for the 50 people is that ‘one must learn that true freedom can only come from within.”
Now keep in mind this is just one of the interpretations of the number 50, there are other methods that attribute much different meaning to the number 50. Chaldean Numerology is based on the principles that the Universe is built by vibrations, and that everything is vibrations that vibrate with different frequencies. Every frequency attracts its equal. Chaldean Numerology is also based on the fact that everything is destiny, and that we all have a destiny, and that our destiny is strictly unavoidable. However, our destiny is dictated by the vibrations (the numbers) of our full birth date and our legal name. We can’t change our birth date, but we can change our legal name, and by this, it’s possible to partially reprogram one’s destiny, this seems like a huge flaw in this system… The compound number of 50/5 is a number of communication, good social skills, and the ability to get along with everyone. In comparison with the compound numbers 14/5, 23/5, 32/5, and 41/5, the compound number of 50/5 is much more spontaneous. People who are represented by the compound number of 50/5, take more chances and they do less work to do for example market research. Sometimes they just do things and hope for the best. Well this description of 50 actually aligned with our show, do stuff, and hope for the best.
Did you know there is also a biblical interpretation of numerology? I wish I didn’t. It’s the same as the others but different. Well, the number 50 is a number of the Holy Spirit. In 50 days after the day of Ascension, Pentecost starts. It is also called a Firstfruit fest, a day when the Holy Spirit descended to 120 righteous people, who believed and acted well. It was God’s first metaphoric harvest of righteous and good spirits among human beings. In order for people to reach salvation and to be saved, Jesus needed to put his sacrificial blood (which is symbolized by the number 30) to the temple of satisfaction (symbolized by number 20), so the sins of people were taken away and Holy Spirit (symbolized by a total of 50) became available for everyone. He needed to put his 30 in your 20 so you can be a 50!
They also have angel numbers but they are just as stupid so I won’t even go into them. But I have noticed in the many interpretations there is one common theme, wide broad strokes that could apply to anyone, kind of like a horoscope.
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Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission.
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