Eka bikids olloran veertye revyaar reviraat taarvat; naa avetyvahaacu naa avrashokra kiapahyk parnaact
“There are only two mistakes on the road towards the truth; not starting and not going far enough.”
The abrupt and decisive Federation occupation of the Intaki homeworld and neighboring systems in the Placid region has drawn widely varied responses from the Empyrean community, luminaries and reprobates alike. There are detailed discussions of legality, vitriolic arguments over the larger conflict between Federation and State, and concern for the worlds caught in the crossfire.
But there is something missing from this wide-ranging dialogue, an absence all the more conspicuous for its central importance: why the Federation took these drastic measures. Obvious, comfortable answers present themselves to those who wish to understand the occupation in a way that suits their own agenda, but there is a deeper truth, seldom spoken, which bears repeating now.
The Intaki people have long been, and continue to be, the single greatest threat to Gallente hegemony, and thus to the stability of the Federation.
Now, this is a claim many will scoff at. Doubters might cite the looming threat of further Triglavian conquest, which have ravaged the very stars themselves; or the ongoing conflict against the immense military and economic might of the hostile Caldari State; or the looming enmity of the Amarr Empire; or the ongoing predations of the Sansha or Serpentis. These and other threats naturally seem far more dangerous than a dispersed, demilitarized people - a founding member of the Federation in good standing, no less.
And yet, in this time of turmoil and uncertainty, surrounded by dangers and enemies, the only "threat far too grave to acquiesce before,” the only issue which necessitated direct and overwhelming military action was the subjugation of the Intaki system and the surrounding regions in Placid. So, there is more than may meet the eye.
As the Federation is rather fond of reminding all and sundry at every available opportunity, its government is democratic in form and function. In lofty sociopolitical theory, this means that every citizen, every voice, every vote matters. In practice, only the votes sufficient to build a governing majority are strictly relevant. And though many coalitions, governments, and agendas have held sway over the last century, an enduring feature of their composition has been an ethnically Gallentean, Luminaire-centered bloc.
This should not, in itself, be surprising. Power, whether economic, military, or political, naturally coalesces and centralizes; and once obtained, those who possess it will guard it with jealous diligence. While the Gallente lack both the numerical majority and rigorous ideological cohesion to directly rule the Federation democratically, their dominant plurality confers a status as a first among equals that ensures their interests are protected.
But where there is a first, there must be a second, a potential challenger, and in the Federation that ill-fated group is indisputably the Intaki. While the Gallente comprise some 30-35% of the overall population, ethnical Intaki contribute a sizable 20%, and the Mannar, the Jin-Mei, Matari expatriates, and sundry other peoples are increasingly fractional components of the remainder. Their numbers alone would guarantee them relevance in any political process of democratic form, but the Intaki are notably more culturally cohesive and politically unified than their peers, forming a political bloc that is the only substantive challenge to continued Gallente political hegemony within the Federation. This is doubly true in the wake of the devastation of the Caldari secession, after which it is manifestly clear to all parties that the Federation could not endure a second widespread rebellion. And so, again and again over the last century any hint of Intaki political independence is opportunistically and ruthlessly quelled by the duly elected democratic offices which claim to represent their interests.
Sometimes, these actions took the form of overt repression. After the end of the Gallente-Caldari war, the Ultranationalist government rounded up thousands of Intaki dissidents and summarily marooned them in deep space to die slow and lingering deaths. While the exiles themselves stubbornly declined to expire in the black (and eventually became the Intaki Syndicate), the act did accomplish a chilling effect on the Intaki, remaining in the Federation, precisely as intended:
“We were afraid of those ‘in power’. (…) [Violence was] never threatened openly. But when our fellow Federation citizens were bombarded, it was not a huge leap of reasoning to believe that any others expressing rebellious attitudes would be similarly dealt with. Whether it was true or not, I don’t know. But we were afraid, and so many remained quiet and sought other ways to continue. Some left. Others became politicians.” - Vremaja Idama
Sometimes, they are acts of such blatant negligence that their intent is still clear. When the prosperous Intaki colony on Reschard V burned in a cataclysmic attack by a never-identified aggressor, the Federation government was so unmoved by the deaths of millions of its citizens that third parties had to start rescue and recovery efforts. The result: the Intaki populace reduced not insignificantly in numbers, with much of their resources and attention diverted to dealing with recovery efforts for years to come.
“We have been left to suffer.” - Vremaja Idama
And sometimes, greater political events transpire that “just happen” to isolate and marginalize the Intaki, particularly their original homeworld. When the newly formed CONCORD was sorting out the security apparatus for the systems in the cluster, the densely populated, industrialized, culturally significant system of Intaki Prime was consigned to a lower security status. Perhaps the nameless bureaucrats were attempting to honor the concerns of Intaki elders about undue military presence in their skies - though those wishes had been voiced some two centuries prior, before the advent of modern interstellar piracy, the Caldari secession, the Empyrean revolution, and countless other developments that transformed the cluster. Whatever the intent, this categorization isolated the Intaki homeworld from its disparate peoples, imperiled its commerce, and kept the Federation navy far from its influence.
History repeated itself in Concord’s Emergency Militia War Powers Act, which consigned the Intaki system and the surrounding region to a theater of conflict in which the Gallente and Caldari navies could vent their fury upon each other without recrimination or consequence. Well, except for those lesser mortals who had the misfortune to dwell in those systems, who have been alternately exploited, bombarded, blockaded, manipulated, and caught in the crossfire for over a decade. Again, the architects of this reclassification and their motives remain obscured, but the practical impact of isolating, endangering, and marginalizing the Intaki is undeniable.
Not content with merely oblique repression, the Federation Senate stripped the voting rights of all those citizens which fell under the temporary sway of the Caldari navy and its Empyrean militia. Dozens of predominantly Intaki worlds were thereby robbed of their supposedly inviolable democratic rights for the crime of the Federation Navy not fighting hard enough to control their spacelanes. The Intaki bloc was again fragmented and neutralized, preventing them from coalescing into any kind of opposition.
While the ebb and flow of Gallente and Caldari influence through the “warzone” changed over the years, the Intaki Prime system itself has been under the sway of the Caldari (particularly Ishukone) for some years. This worked yet again to divide and disrupt the Intaki who now had to contend with the occasionally… rapacious Caldari corporate administration. But, as time passed, the Intaki and Caldari reached a more tenable equilibrium of interests, and with each passing year they grew more entangled and integrated and independent of Federation influence.
And this is why the Federation has abruptly invaded. It is not to “rescue” the people who were thriving under Ishukone administration. The Intaki certainly were not consulted on the matter, let alone requested for gunships be deployed to terrorize their civilian centers. No, this is merely the latest incident in a long tradition of Gallente repression of the Intaki populace for even the possibility that they might exert some measure of independence, especially when other dangers rear their head. The Gallente bloc cannot admit this fear, because to give voice to it risks it becoming real. As before, so again the black eagles skulk in the shadows while the theatre of politics draws the eye of the cluster.
Will it work? Quite possibly. Gallente apologists are skilled at their craft, and already have taken advantage of Empyrean myopia to shift the discourse towards discussions of legality, macropolitics, and the bitter feuds between hostile militia factions. For its part, the Intaki populace that lives within the Federation has had generations of practice being duped, distracted, and intimidated into kneeling before their ostensible peers and allies.
But this universe is governed by entropy, and patterns will eventually be broken. Perhaps, this time, the Intaki will no longer meekly accept subjugation. They might actually become what the Gallente have always feared: a powerful, self-determined people no longer willing to mortgage their futures for the advantage of those that have always feared and abused them.