UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: April 25, 301 AP.

Editorial Column: Armatirions add further fuel to the Utanian nationalist fire

The Armatirion government has inadvertantly played right into the hands of Utanian nationalists who are aching for a war with the socialist giant. Hopefully President Okarvit's forthcoming summit comes quickly and has some effect at defusing what is fast becoming an issue of national importance.

The Armatirions have banned any religious organisation from owning land, though there is an exemption for the "developed" properties of churches, mosques or temples. Still thousand of acres have been seized by the Armatirion government in its zealous quest to sublimate the role of the church in the country. While already existing buildings and properties will not be torn down, properties that may have been reserved for future churches, such as in expanding cities, or as investment capital to hedge against the day the organisations will need to build new churches. There has not, however, been any discussion of compensation for the deprived church-goers whose hard-earned money was gifted to the church and now seized by the government.

Still, some may argue what are spiritual organisations doing owning property, certainly something the Savaj Spiritual Church could empathise with. Furthermore, surely the people belonging to the churches should be able to form cooperatives - organisations the government in Ailati is keen to foster - for joint ownership in new "community halls". Certainly the Cruistian Church in Armatirion will need to think creatively in order to find ways about this law.

Yet, it is difficult to understand why a country renowned for its good, peaceful reputation would make the past twelve months something of a vendetta against the Cruistian and other religions in Armatirion. What is more devastating is the impact on Utania. President Okarvits is due to visit the Ailati later this month (though early next month appears the safest bet), and will be pressed to take a hardline with President Elgaas. If he does so, the Armatirions may reject Utania as a partner for peace. If he fails to do so, he may be replaced next year by a leader more willing to do so. There is no shortage of Utanians seething at what they see as persecution of Utani and other Cruistian populations in Armatirion.

Utania does not need massive military spending. The region does not need an arms race. Why, oh, why, are the Armatirions antagonising the nationalists in Utania?

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©UPA, 301 AP.

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©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)