One year ago, I founded a religious organization, the Avetat Order, for the purpose Reclaiming the spirit of Amarr through the purging of contemptible qualities and the adornment of good virtues and character. Over the last year, we have worked to build a grassroots baseliner following among the common and slave peoples of Amarr.
This week, we have released our manifesto, outlining our issues with the Amarr of today, and our hopes and goals for the Amarr of the future. This document has been dispensed throughout Amarrian territories, and I have decided to post it here on the Intergalactic Summit in order to help expand the audience.
By His light and His will.
As Empress Catiz I celebrates the third anniversary of her ascension to empress, a time where calls for petitions are put to the masses, I direct a petition of my own to the people of Amarr, whose voices will not be heard by Her Imperial Majesty.
For those who do not know me, my name is Samira Kernher. I am an Amarr of Minmatar ancestry, born into slavery, later emancipated and given the opportunity to serve the Empire as a member of the Auxiliary Force of Praetoria Imperialis Excubitoris and in the 24th Imperial Crusade. To serve Amarr has always been at the forefront of my mind, first as a slave and now as a capsuleer. In that capacity, I have needed to stand for more than myself. I represented Amarr. I represented PIE. More than that, I represented every Amarrian Minmatar, and every slave. And I have done my utmost to always honor those responsibilities.
While all of the attention is on the jubilee, I want to talk to you about the soul of Amarr.
A Nation in Peril
I wish I could say the nation I served was what we all wish it was. I wish I could say Amarr is the bastion of God that we want to believe it is. But it isn’t. It hasn’t been for a long time. Many know this, but we are afraid of admitting that Amarr is not well. This is not because of the arguments the Purists make: It’s not because of the Minmatar, or the Ni-Kunni, or the Udorians, or any other person of low birth who ‘climbs above their station’. It is not about us, the people who believe, who serve, who put the food on the lords’ plates and weld the hulls to their ships.
It’s about them. The lords. The heirs. The emperors. The noble councils and families. They have long ignored the teachings of the Book of Missions, which says that the test that a person will take to prove their faith reveals more of their soul than the test that finds the person who believed their faith already proven. Instead, the noble councils and families claim that their faith was proven by the actions of Amarr who lived hundreds and thousands of years ago, and that sanctified blood coursing through their veins is what gives them a divine right to rule.
Where do I even begin? We all know about the Red Chamberlain, and his blooder court. We all know about Aritcio Kor-Azor, who tormented the common people for his own amusement. And we all know about King Khanid, who betrayed Shathol’Syn, rebelled against the Empire, seceded — stealing a fifth of our territory and a third of our fleet in the process — and declared man’s law to be above God’s law. But there’s so much more than that.
Six years ago, I was taught a very important lesson. I had been speaking with a True Amarr woman, who had wanted my help with an endeavor she was engaged in. I later learned that she was a traitor and heretic, and was told not to trust the word of every True Amarr I met. This came as a shock to me — I had been raised to believe that True Amarr were blessed. And, indeed, while she was not the first less-than-perfect True Amarr I had met, it was the first time I really began to see through the lie.
That was not the only lesson I have learned. Later, I received photographs and videos of tortured slave women in a Holder’s breeding camp. I called them criminal, and argued that they were the exception, the actions of a few rogue Holders. But I would later learn that no, these places were legal, and many Holders own them. Even worse than that, I encountered the Butcher Nauplius, and other Sanists in the 24th Imperial Crusade. I watched with horror as they stuffed thousands, millions of abused slaves — even freed ones, Amarr citizens — into transports or storage canisters and obliterated them, to the cheer of their fellows.
It was just the evil of blooders, I thought, who perverted the faith. But no, these blooders are not alone. Afterall, the Imperial Navy allowed them to keep operating in the Crusade, despite their activities. And more, these blooders would buy their slaves from Amarrian Holders, through the Civic Court and other organizations. Nauplius bought his from the Kahah markets, a place we all know, now, where Khanid Holders butchered millions of their own. And when those of us who witnessed these atrocities — and did our part to try and stop them — begged the empress to intervene, to uphold Scriptural traditions regarding proper ownership of slaves, we were refused. The greed of the Holder class came before the rules of our faith and the lives of innocents.
That greed does not just affect slaves. Amarr has some of the worst wealth inequality in civilized space, and millions of commoners live in poverty, forced to subsist on charity or sell themselves into slavery just to survive. Vital life-saving medicine and implants are reserved for the nobility alone, leaving the common person in Amarr with vastly lower life expectancy. The lives of freepersons are little better than slaves, sometimes worse. When my family were freed, we moved to the Republic because we thought we would have better economic opportunities there than in our own home.
Of the Holders I have personally met, many have demonstrated a poor education, have been possessed of exceptional self-delusions, and were utterly incompetent as leaders. Some have been just and true, as they are supposed to be, but those have proven to be the exception, rather than the rule. Numerous are the Holders who, in Aritcio’s style, treat their high positions as an excuse to wallow in decadence and abuse you, by punishing you for their own mistakes or stealing your home, your labor, your discoveries and inventions, or even your children or spouse. And let us not forget that Sansha’s Nation, which even today invades and steals Amarrian citizens, was built by Amarr selling slaves — again in violation of Scriptural law — to Sansha Kuvakei.
When the just, true Holder is the exception, rather than the norm, the whole basis of our system of government collapses. We give our Holders immense power under the belief that they are more righteous than us, wiser than us, smarter than us. But if they are not — and they are not — then we have signed away our safety and our faith to the Deceiver.
The Legacy of Sin
Not even the emperor and the Councils are above sin. Indeed, their very claims of speaking with the voice of God is one, for, after Amash-Akura spurned God, God charged him to rule by his own merits. Gone were the sefrim and the divine wisdom and acumen of the Avetat. Amash-Akura became a man, as any other. And as a man, he can sin. No emperor, heir, or holder is above sin. It is by their own merits that they should be judged.
We must remember that the Deceiver lives in the darkness. He thrives on lies. In the time of Amash-Akura the Deceiver claimed great power, that he had magic that could shake the world, and with such powers he would mold Amarr into his own image. But we know that God’s blessings can only be earned. The Avetat and Ametat will never be found until we prove we are worthy of them again, as Amash-Akura did. And only God and His sefrim possess the powers the Deceiver claimed. The Deceiver had no magic. He couldn’t conjure floods and plagues. Only God can do these things.
And yet today, we still allow ourselves to be blinded by charlatans claiming God’s gifts, claiming divine powers. Jamyl, whom we all know was a capsuleer, and who died in her capsule, came back from death claiming to have been reborn by God’s blessings. But like the Deceiver, this was a lie. It was a lie that everyone, even the Theology and Privy Councils, told because our ego was so bruised by the Elder Fleet’s success that we forgot to think!
There are so many questions from that day that we have just passed over. The most damning of all is how the Elder Fleet went so unmolested in Imperial space for so long. How could it sit in orbit over a capital world, over Sarum Prime, one jump from Athra, for so long? Was it because of the Blood Chamberlain, seeking to weaken the Empire, as so many seem to think? Perhaps, but what was he weakening us for? What was he hoping to achieve? What was his goal? Destroying an Empire he already fully controlled? Who actually had the most to gain from that day? Who came flying in like a hero, seemingly out of nowhere, to stop a force that any Imperial fleet should have been able to beat, and rose to fill a throne that had been conveniently emptied a few years earlier?
Remember who Jamyl was as an heir. Remember that a Sarum Fleet attacked Doriam II on his coronation day. Remember that there were fears Jamyl would secede and form a Sarum Kingdom because she lost the trials. Remember Jamyl the heir, a warmonger utterly convinced of her own superiority and her destiny to rule. Remember that Jamyl’s house delayed nominating a successor for years. Like Garkeh Khanid before her, Jamyl and her allies refused to accept that she had lost the Trials, and so concocted a plot to steal the power she felt was rightfully hers. Jamyl lied to the Amarr people.
And the Privy and Theology Councils, who could have been the safeguards for the sanctity of the Imperial throne, acquiesced to Jamyl’s coup and named her as empress. Even after she died, and Catiz I ascended in her place, those same spineless Councils fast-tracked changes into Scripture to suit Catiz’s political aims to expand the capsuleer hegemony. The Theology Council, despite having a culture of patience and careful handling of controversial affairs, instantly approved Scripture to validate cloning. This came not because it was the right thing to do, based on intense deliberation and meditation into God’s true will. Instead, it was because Catiz wanted to build a capsuleer army and needed the Amarr people to ignore our very justified concerns over the state of a clone’s soul. As a capsuleer and clone, the decision rendered by the Theology Council at Catiz’s behest did not set my concerns to rest. Rather, it exaggerated them, because I could not trust that the Scripture had been implemented honestly or faithfully.
Above God’s Law
Some of these people have been punished for their crimes. For example, the Refusards — Holders who disobeyed an order to release their slaves — were struck down for their refusal to comply. But most aren’t. It took a rare appearance of the Speakers of Truth to stop Aritcio. The Grand Inquisitor of the Ministry of Internal Order declared he would investigate and stop Sanism in the 24th Imperial Crusade, but he never did. As for King Khanid, he was invited back, without punishment, made an heir again, and allowed to be the first heir in the history of Amarr to be allowed to compete in the Succession Trials twice, despite having lost his first attempt.
If a common person of Amarr committed sins as egregious as these, would we be let off as easily? No, of course not. Because we aren’t powerful. Holders get away with sin and crime because they are too powerful, too inconvenient to oppose. Few commoners could get away with challenging a Holder, no matter the Holder’s guilt. Guilty or innocent, faithless or faithful, it really doesn’t matter. If it benefits the people in power to get rid of you, they will.
I was at Kahah last year. I watched as the Khanid Kingdom responded to an atrocity — the release of Deathglow into Kahah settlements, a new Mabnen — with another atrocity. They didn’t care that the people there were victims. Just as Idonis Ardishapur did at Arzad, they razed entire city districts, massacring men, women, and children, whose only crime was that they inhaled a toxic gas from an attack that the lords’ own security forces had failed to prevent. Instead of protecting and helping their people, doing what should be their duty as rulers, they butchered them.
Controlling the Enemy Within
Corruption has taken root in Amarr. It is our duty, as the faithful of God, to Reclaim ourselves if we err. Amarr needs reform. We need a new Moral Reform, a true Moral Reform, one that brings us closer to God’s will instead of further away, as Heideran V’s coup did.
Reclaiming the Truth
It is a difficult path. We have lived under corrupt leadership for so long, and given that leadership free rein to alter the most important spiritual documents we have — Scripture. How can we know what is God’s will, how can we know if we have been led astray, if the power to dictate it is given to the sinners? The Order of Saint Tetrimon, for all their faults, are right about one thing: We cannot trust modern Amarrian Scripture or the moral authority of today’s emperors.
We need to establish a commission on Scriptural purity. We must determine which parts of Scripture are valid and relevant, and how it has been altered over our history.
Furthermore, I believe we must establish a separation between Scripture that we know to be God’s will, and that which is the product of theological interpretation. All Scripture written by Amash-Akura must be considered absolute and incontrovertible, for God saw what he did and knew it to be true, and so sent him the sefrim and gifted him the Crown of Avetat so that he would rule in full accordance with God’s will. Thus, the laws and policies of Amash-Akura stand above any and all other Scripture. It is necessary that they be acknowledged as binding, and made immune to any change or overrule by future theologians. Likewise, the First Prophet, Gheinok, should also be understood as absolute, for God came to Him to guide us to the true faith and the holy land of Amarr. The First Prophet and Amash-Akura are the backbone, the True Word, of our faith and must be acknowledged as such. Any changes that have been made to the True Word, during the Moral Reforms or at other times, must be reversed.
All other Scripture must be acknowledged as it is: traditions and teachings of enlightened servants of God. These works, both moral and scientific, help us lead our lives, but they should be understood as coming from the lens of mankind. Scientific truths have been revealed to prophets, only for those truths to have been determined erroneous or incomplete by future prophets, and theologians dictate laws that apply in one era, but may not apply in the next. Without the aid of God Himself, through the sefrim and the Avetat, we have only an incomplete understanding of His will and laws. God commanded us to redeem ourselves to him by our own merits, and so it is only by our own merits that we interpret the universe He has created for us. These are the Interpretations, the Great Work, the Reclaiming, the quest to cultivate the spirit of mankind. These Interpretations can and must be reviewed, continuously, and if determined inaccurate or false, expunged or changed.
Return to Service
But of course, before all of this, we must have leaders we can trust to guide us towards what is righteous. The only way to do this is to acknowledge that we are all human and we all have potential for sin. God charged us to redeem ourselves by our own merits. And so we must judge each other by our own merits. Holders are not naturally more capable or just than anyone else in Amarr, and laws that permit them to act as they please only open the way to abuse and corruption. All authority in Amarr must be held equally accountable to the same laws as the common people, and there must be a system in place to enforce compliance with those laws. We must restore the Council of Apostles and return the position of emperor to its proper role — a first among equals. The Succession Trials, a system once intended to test the fitness and wisdom of the emperor but now turned into a barbaric bloodsport, with even Sani Sabik permitted to fight on behalf of a candidate, must be ended. The emperor should be elected from among his or her peers in the Council of Apostles, as it was before the Moral Reforms. The time of “heirs” must end. Amash-Akura never envisioned an Empire that would include hereditary “emperor houses”.
Furthermore, we must give the common people a say in government. Common citizens must have a place on the Council of Apostles, and on local ruling councils alongside the governing Holder. The archaic and dishonest system where Holders are given all of the power on some assumption of inherent sanctity of their blood must give way to reality: that all human beings are as capable of righteousness and sin as any other, and all must have a say in the important matters that govern their lives. The rulers of Amarr must be checked by the common people of Amarr whose lives are the most affected by their rule.
All things in Amarr must serve one higher, and this must be true. Even the emperor must serve. No ruling body in Amarr can be invested with all power, for this invariably leads to corruption and abuse. All government entities and persons in Amarr must be able to be checked by another body.
The Chosen People
It must also be understood that no one is better than another by virtue of race or birth, only by their own merits and by their faith. “True Amarrism” is an erroneous interpretation of Scripture that contradicts Missions 5:14 by declaring faith already proven by virtue of the deeds of one’s ancestors rather than one’s own merits. Where Scripture references the Amarr people, it speaks of all the faithful. No matter who they are, what they are, or where they have come from, all of the faithful are the people of Amarr, for, as it is said in 2:1 of the second book, it is by living righteously and in fear of God that thus one is saved and becomes God’s chosen.
Generational slavery must be ended. The principles of Blessed Servitude — that salvation is achieved through working off the sins of one’s ancestors under the guidance of pure and just rulers — are flawed. Like True Amarrism it denies the merits of the individual and instead places upon them the sins of one’s ancestors. Furthermore, it has, throughout history, been a conduit for corruption and abuse, as the absolute power conferred onto Holders often does not lead to spiritual guidance (or if it does, that guidance comes from teachers and overseers under the Holder’s employ, or indeed, often from other slaves), but instead amplifies a corrupt Holder’s ability to inflict their sin on those beneath them. Generational slavery has led to the use of breeding programs and facilities and the systematic rape of women for the purpose of expanding slave populations. The enslavement, abuse, and rape of conquered peoples betrays Amash-Akura’s laws on the just treatment of enemies, as Amash-Akura ruled that looting, mistreatment, and rape of enemies is forbidden, and that members of enemy populations who do not raise arms — civilians — must be spared.
An end to generational slavery must be immediately announced. Efforts to call for more time or patience — even centuries! — are nothing but stonewalling in attempt to put any end to slavery out of mind and thus avoiding the necessity to enact change. Following such an announcement, slave owners can be given an adjustment period to transition from a slave economy to a free one, but the allotted time for this should not exceed a decade in length and they must show that they are committed to the transition and meet any deadlines set.
An end to slavery will help to unite the common people and give them a greater voice against their rulers. An end to slavery and a return of slaves to the common workforce will create equal opportunities for those seeking employment, as they will be competing with other wage-earning workers for jobs, rather than with a Holder’s personal unpaid labor stock.
Beyond Our Borders
In addition to Amarrian institutions, CONCORD must also be recognized as the institution Heideran VII meant it to be: an avenue of the Reclaiming. We must force CONCORD to adhere to moral ethics. The only way to do that is to make sure that it is accountable to the people, instead of itself. CONCORD should not be allowed to treat itself like its own separate nation, beholden to its own self-appointed rulers. The representatives of the member states should be its chief executives, and self-interested corporations like the Society of Conscious Thought should have no place on its council.
CONCORD should be a proactive body that works to protect peace and security in the cluster, instead of turning a blind eye whenever some capsuleer slaughters a million people or one signatory invades another. It needs to forbid the public ownership of military-grade arms and restrict the power of independent capsuleers and other mercenaries, it needs to actively police piracy and devote more resources towards the repelling of foreign invaders, and it needs to cut off freedom of movement to criminals.
CONCORD should be an active force for good, not a reactive one.
A Beacon, Not A Scourge
A rethinking of war must also be held. While war over a righteous cause is always appropriate, many causes are not righteous, as are many means of war. We must, again, look back to Amash-Akura’s laws on warfare, the policy of the Light or the Flame. Those who submit may remain in power, the offer of surrender should be extended to those who fight back, and even if total victory is achieved the civilian populace of an enemy nation should not be harmed. It is wrong to pillage, and loot, and rape. It is wrong to murder the innocent or the young or infirm, or to scorch the land and make it uninhabitable. It is wrong to defile the bodies of the dead. And it is wrong to betray our word, to ignore cease-fires, flags of truce, and other negotiated terms.
Rather than seeking to conquer and enslaving faithless nations, or rendering unto them demands for immediate conversion that would likely escalate war and make it more difficult to actually achieve the Reclaiming, we might consider taking an example from CONCORD and allowing non-faithful nations to serve under the Amarr Empire as client nations provided that they fulfill certain easier-to-stomach legal obligations, such as providing tribute and an inability to participate in political decisions outside of their territories. Through limited integration, the Empire would gain certain economic and political advantages, while opening doors to future conversion. Full membership in the Amarr Empire would, of course, require the nation to follow Scriptural law and efforts by Amarr’s government to pursue this ultimate goal would of course be expected in any relations.
This policy is already being attempted today, seen especially in the case of Providence. Despite declarations by Catiz I that it is part of the Empire, it maintains largely independent in practice, governed by its own laws, with many of its population and even leaders either faithless or members of other faiths. Further integration into the Empire as a whole is desired, both by citizens of the Empire and by many members of Providence, but this is likely to be a gradual process.
The Khanid Kingdom is another example, but unlike Providence, it has been handled much more poorly. Its church was deemed heretical by the Empire for most of the Kingdom’s history, and it still maintains many independent customs despite rejoining the Empire, but the current situation provides an avenue with which to convert the Kingdom again into rightful thinking. Where mistakes are made is in the amount of influence the Kingdom is given in Amarrian affairs — they should never have been allowed into the Privy and Theology Councils, the Succession Trials, or given new territory, until they have made considerable changes to bring them more in line with the Empire.
Forcing others into the faith should be understood as wrong, as coerced belief is not true belief. The rightness of the faith is self-evident, and so we should endeavor that we represent that faith justly. Our example alone should be enough to bring the faithless back into harmonious unity with God.
The Empire of God
What I have brought up are only a handful of things that need to happen if we are to bring the Empire back to its holy purpose. The Amarr Empire was founded to cultivate the spirit of mankind, but instead of doing that, our rulers have allowed it to shrivel up and ossify. We live in a world where people fear us — not because of their sins, but because of ours. The Amarr faith has the power to unite all people and yet our Empire has instead made it one which divides them. In recent centuries, we have not grown, we have not brought people into the faith. Instead, we’ve seen the opposite: rebellions, secessions, hatred.
A Voice In the Wilderness
I’m not the first person to say all of this. 2000 years ago, a prophet named Ilash Toth spoke of the same sins I do. He’s not someone most people today would know — he was judged a heretic, just like I am. And just like me, he was judged because he called for a world where the common good should come before the selfishness of our rulers. The Udorian conquests, and slavery, caused a dramatic shift in our culture. Lust for power became our faith, not God. Greed and dominance became our faith, not God. It is for these reason that Ametat and Avetat were taken from us. But Ilash Toth saw that we could be better than we are. He envisioned an egalitarian utopia where commoners and emperor alike are equal in the eyes of God, where the wealth of the Holders is used to improve the lives of every person instead of themselves. He saw a world where we reclaimed the fundamental message of our faith: dignified service to God, where the common good and piety is put first.
I want to live in that world. I want to live in a world where I do not have to fear that my lord will abuse and discard me for his own gain. I want to live in a world where I will be judged on the merits of my faith and devotion, not on the blood in my veins, or the family behind me, or the gold in my pocket. I want to live in a world where I can look at our most important Scriptural writings and know that what is in them is God’s real will, and not the product of political power games. I want to live in a world where we can look at our wondrous works and not think about the thousands of dead on whose bodies and stolen riches they were built. I want to live in a world where we do not tolerate rape and cruelty. I want to live in a world where outsiders look at us and the strength of our faith and, rather than shunning us in fear, will instead reach out their hands out and say, “I want that. I want to know the purpose and love that you feel. I want God in my life.” And I want a world where the sefrim will come down to us again, where we will be blessed with Avetat and Ametat again, where God will gaze lovingly on us and know that we are doing His will.
The Test Comes to Us All
Before we can have any of this, we need you, the people of Amarr. The commoner, the slave, the good people of Amarr whose faith and devotion I know to be true. No matter what goes on among the upper classes, I know the people of Amarr are great. The lords have tried to diminish you, to cast you down from the stairs and call you unworthy, but you are not. Through your many hardships, you have become the closest to God. You are the only ones who can save Amarr.
It is scary and overwhelming, I know. I thought the same when I started down this path. But I knew in my heart, in my soul, that the Amarr I believed in doesn’t exist, not unless I did my part to create it. We can’t throw our hands up in resignation, to accept that things will always be as they always have been. Remember, the Code of Behavior does not call for loyalty to sin — God commands us to be loyal to Him and His will above all. Pure Thought is the Instigator of Sin, when it leads you to passively sit back in fear and run from your duty to control the enemies within. Free Thought is the Begetter of Disorder, when your thoughts are going towards things that are not the proper worship of God. And Uniform Thought is the Way of Life, when that thought is uniform with God’s will. If Amarr’s leaders sin, it is their faithless thoughts that have begat disorder in our holy Empire. If Amarr’s leaders sin, unity with them would have us join them in their sin, and away from the true way of life under God’s teachings. And if Amarr’s leaders sin, we would instigate sin by allowing them to continue to sin, instead of calling them out and demanding change.
We must demand that change. We, the people of Amarr, the commoners and slaves who have toiled, who have suffered hardships, who have had to test our faith, time and time again. We must no longer passively accept the unproven faith of our lords, not until they toil, until they face hardships, until they are tested.
We must demand that change.