A little over a week ago, in response to news that a new monument has been erected in orbit above Reschard V to commemorate the disaster of YC108, some of us in the Intaki Liberation Front made the trip to the system to visit the memorial and pay our respects.
While enroute, I considered the new monument as a demonstration of the Federation’s new administration in action.
President Aguard appeared to be making good on her promises of bridge-building between the Luminaire- and Villore-dominated core of the Federation and the disparate peoples and states at the fringes, literally so in the case of the new Placid/Solitude stargate.
In Reschard, the new monument would seek to mark one of the most painful events in recent Intaki history.
Imagine then, the disappointment, if not surprise, as we arrived to discover the objectionable imagery which has been chosen to project over the new landmark.
Even as the educational text upon the monument describes the failings of the Gallente Federation in the wake of the disaster, it was somehow deemed appropriate for the Federal Eagle to rotate distastefully, completely dominating the structure from almost all angles.
I personally did not know anybody on Reschard V when disaster struck, but there are those counted among the baseliner and civilian membership of the ILF and wider IPI alliance who did, and in the days since our first arrival at the monument their disappointment has become frustration and offense and, upon reflection, I find myself in agreement with them.
How offensive for the Gallente Federation, which had to be guilted into a months-late reaction by the humanitarian efforts of Mordu’s Legion and the Sisters of EVE, at their own terrible cost it must be noted, to plaster their own iconography across a memorial to those they had ignored!
With a new President who claimed such a laudable vision of belonging and inclusion for the Federation, how is it still so blind to the people it claims to represent?
But such offense is not irreversible.
This is a failing that can be resolved.
The Intaki Liberation Front, with support from the rest of the Intaki Prosperity Initiative, calls for the ill-chosen Federal Eagle to be taken down. In it’s place the symbol of the Intaki people should be raised. The symbol of the Intaki colonists of Reschard V.
The monument should honour and remember the Intaki victims who were lost, not the Federation that failed them.
According to the linked article, Federation officials arrived on the same day, so I assume you are referring to another reaction. Which reaction are you referring to?
Now, I am not an Intaki. I have a love for the people and their culture. One of my wives is Intaki. But I am not an Intaki, so if it was a mistake to have the monument be as it is, then I may never fully understand why.
But I do understand how this mistake could be made. It was a Federation planet, and the Intaki living there were Federation citizens. Having the Federation Eagle on the monument symbolizes that what happened was not just a disaster for the Intaki, but for the Federation as a whole. From that perspective, it could be seen as an insult to not have the Eagle there, as that could be interpreted that the disaster is of little importance to the Federation.
What if the Federation citizens on Reschard V had been Minmatar? Should the symbol on the monument have been a Minmatar one? In my view, that seems to be a bit unnecessarily divisive.
That the Federal Administration, or who/whatever was responsible, failed their own people is regrettable, but I I’m hoping that it is not this symbol that is projected by the monument:
I feel you may be unjustly conflating the Federal Administration with the Gallente Federation as a whole. Surely you don’t mean to say that the Federation, as a whole, including Intaki, had to be guilted into a reaction.
That being said, I would hope that the current administration would have consulted the Intaki, especially the victims and their families about the monument, but if they failed to do so, and the sentiment expressed by Bataav is indeed the one shared by the majority of those Intaki, then their wishes should be granted.
My intention here had been to draw attention away from the wider Gallente Federation, and return it to the Intaki colonists who suffered and died in the original disaster, as any memorial to Reschard V should.
However, some interesting points have been raised in response, so to help foster a greater understanding of our perspective on this I’m happy to work through the criticisms of both the original Federal response (or lack thereof) in YC108, and of some of the decisions made with regards to the new monument.
I’ll start by sharing an image of the monument, captured by one of my drones during our recent visit.
As you can see, unfortunately you have cause to share in our disappointment.
When I made this remark I was actually giving the Federal authorities the benefit of the doubt. I assume there would have been a Federal presence among the second rescue fleet that was operating under the Aegis of the Sisters of EVE, despite them not being referenced in the news reports. And it’s worth noting that this would be a curious omission to make when we consider the criticism that had already been levelled at the Federation in the wake of the original disaster.
But you do raise an interesting point. Through the entire episode, the Gallente Federation appears to have been almost completely absent.
Let’s briefly consider what we do know about the Federal response:
In the immediate aftermath, while the Sisters of EVE had sent teams who provided reports and surveys of the situation as they found it, the Federal authorities sent “officials” to request that the population remain calm. I would say that this smacks of insensitivity considering that the Intaki are traditionally credited for our stoicism, but with regards to Reschard V I have to ask… what population??? The initial reports estimated an 88.7% extinction of all life on the surface!
The only other reaction was a PR statement from the President’s office to say how shocked they were at the terrible news. That’s it.
During the seven months that followed, while there are reports of CONCORD and Mordu’s Legion investigations, Sisters of EVE and Mordu’s Legion relief efforts, and possible Caldari Navy movements along the Black Rise Border, there is absolutely no mention of any Federal reaction. There was no reaction reported from the Federal Navy. Nothing from representatives from the Serthoulde District. Nothing.
Even the Federation itself acknowledges their abject failure.
The text available for visitors to the monument itself says:
Of course I understand that accusations of institutional neglect in Placid on the part of the Federation may make some uncomfortable, but unfortunately the events of Reschard V are not unique in this regard.
If we must remove ourselves completely from the human impact of the disaster, and take a purely objective view, then yes, the victims were legally Federal citizens, but that is hardly the point. We’re talking about people here! Entire families died. A community was lost.
The reporting of the time identified the colony as an Intaki settlement rather than Federal, or collectively as “Gallente”. And it was the Intaki diaspora across Placid and beyond that appeared to suffer the greatest sense of loss.
The ideals and vision of a post-racial society in the Federation is great on paper, but it just doesn’t reflect the the very different reality that we experience each and every day. So to answer your question, yes. If it had been a Federal Matari settlement that was lost, I believe it would be entirely appropriate for the symbolism of a monument raised in their memory to reflect who they were as a community, and I’d be surprised if a design of clan or tribal significance were to cause offense in the wider Federation.
Again the monument text says:
I bring President Aguard into the discussion because I’m confident that the Intaki Liberation Front’s call for the monument to display Intaki imagery instead of the Federal Eagle is entirely compatible with current opinion within the new administration.
In her inauguration speech President Aguard spoke of a Federation of peoples with “vital diversity”, and that her Federation “will be for all the peoples who live within it”.
She also said
If the intent is to reflect the wide and varied nature of the Federation, with its mix of ethnicities and cultural heritage, then do so.
I agree that the disrespectful use of nationalist imagery does little to provide remembrance of the decent Intaki people who lost their lives in that terrorist massacre. It also fails to commemorate the rescue efforts undertaken by the Sisters, and the valiant efforts of those who helped others planetside to escape the ravages of that terrible weapon.
But, it is not unexpected that Federal politicians continue to play on the lingering hurt from that attack to bolster their own agendas. It is even less surprising that a Federal eagle stands over the site like a carrion bird, given the Gallentean hubris stirred up by the ongoing factional conflicts in Placid.
Thankfully, there are a scattering of benevolent souls who, some covertly, some openly, continue their individual efforts to make small strides for the Intaki. And, of course, those who lost loved ones will continue to remember them as the diligent and clever people they were, carving out a brave existence in the apparent absence of security.
The Federal eagle is an extremist symbol, it designates irrational cultism (freedom worshipping), blatant illegal terrorism (freedom fighters), imperialism, fascism, ultra-nationalism, oppression, aggressive warmongering and the inhuman unspeakable atrocities and warcrimes that are being committed under that banner even the same moment as we are speaking.
And since we’re talking of Intaki and their reaction: they are actually one of the people who have felt Federal oppression themselves 200 years ago, they were departed, and they are still to this day prohibited of building their own colonies! Isn’t that ultra-nationalism when people of certain bloodline are not allowed to build colonies? Isn’t it an extremism that prevents proper business relations and prosperity? Isn’t it a symbol of Intaki’s submission to foreign military power?
I understand why Intaki consider it offensive and fully support their struggle against gallentean occupants.
Putting this evil mark above the world that suffered such a devastating catastrophe was at a minimum distasteful, if not straightforwardly criminal.
I’ve read this thread several times and have pondered my response, taking into consideration the immense sensitivity surrounding Reshard V for the people of Placid.
The Reschard disaster occurred when I was still in the State War Academy as a young man. I remember the reports coming in of a scourged planet, wracked with electrical storms of such magnitude that it prevented any rescue attempt for months. This alone was a major hindrance to any rescue efforts taking place, by which point nearly 90% of all life had been eradicated on the surface. Blame can be shared - then-President Foiritan could and should have done more, the Federal Administration, the District Parliament et al. The failure of Tripwire and Navy observation posts to detect a Titan-class vessel in Reschard in the first place should have warranted an enquiry, if one was not held.
In respect to the memorial imagery, the Federal Eagle means so much more than it’s origins from the civilisations of Gallentia and Caldari. It is a symbol of the Federation’s unity and spirit, irrespective of whether it is referencing our individual spirit or our powers combined as a flock. It is an expression of the grief from all those within the Federation’s for it’s lost citizens as well as a symbol of our solidarity in the face of such a criminal act. I would expect that the surviving Intaki population of Reschard V were consulted throughout the process when the decision was taken to install the navigation beacon in orbit above their ravaged world. Nevertheless, I would be in support of a motion to modify, or add, the symbol of the planetary government of Reschard V to the memorial alongside that of the Federal symbol.
The Federation serves us all and it should not shy away from it’s failures, no matter how gross or minor that they may be. The tragedy of Reschard should act not only as a lesson for the central Federal government and the Districts, but also as a rallying point to ensure that we as citizens are always holding those that represent us to account and to bring them to book when they are not conforming to the standard we expect of them.
The lessons from Reschard have hopefully been learned well, as we saw when the Seylin Event caused yet another disastrous calamity for another Federal world. It should never have come at the price paid by the Federation and the people of Reschard.