Zeitgeist Magazine, for the story behind the news
Issue 50,
Volume 7,
7 May 301 AP

The Story behind the news.
Edition
Cover
Rovens: an end to 40 years of war?


Business
Exports rotting on the docks
But, Reagan scores a win in Guwimith


Politics
The big decision: Parliament or President
The Consequence of delay
Is Okarvits up for the job?


International May Day: what protests?
Communist Abaco leader to be arrested


Sport
Coup in the UFA!!


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The longest march.

Where is Rovens?   It has been forty years coming, but it will have been worth the wait. The guerrilla movement that began in the highlands near the affluent Guwimithian colony of Port of Olives, now controls almost one third of the region of what is now Rovens. Now, the Empire they despised is gone, peace may be just around the corner.

Here we analyse the why's and where's of the rebellion that has lasted forty years, and ask whether a peace is really at all possible.


The Secretary of the Pataki Communist Party, and effective Interior Minister of the almost separate state centred on the city of Patak, Piers K'nossa remembers the marches
as gruelling flights from terror, long and difficult climbs into mountains that could just as easily take their lives as the Guwimithian Army could.

K'nossa was eighteen in 260ap, when the Guwimithian Army reigned terror on the Pataki people. A poor yield from farms the previous three years had lead to widespread starvation in the Pataki region. The government, meanwhile, insisted on continuing the policy of rubber plantations on good cropland - the rubber was essential for Guwimithian manufacturing, while the Dependencies were expendable. So while the people in the city of Patak starved, stories were told of plentiful supply in warehouses in the Guwimithian family-owned farms on the east of the mountain range.

Supported by communists and other anti-Guwimithian democrats around the world, the Pataki Peoples Army had its beginnings as guerrillas who raided the massive farms in the lower lands near Kpotha and T'jomapai, to collect food from the warehouses. Within a year, a massive underground network of transport trucks,   Rovens in the 60s
and donkey convoys carried the precious cargoes back to the city of Patak.

Little appreciative of the situation the other side of the mountains, the Guwimithian nobles who absentee-owned the farms were distressed at the loss of export crops and ordered the Guwimithian Dependencies Security Forces (GDSF) to deal with the thievery. When they proved ineffective, given that most were supportive of the raiders, if not actively supporting them, as they were mostly conscripts from the Dependencies, the Army proper was introduced, and the suppression was horrific.

Thousand simply disappeared, hundreds more were arrested and executed without trial. And with local farms around Patak producing again, the guerrilla raiders found a new cause. Yet, despite their best efforts, they were no match for even the poorly equipped but ruthless regular army. The Pataki rebels retreated into the mountains they knew better, and hid, emerging only in Patak for supplies.

Thus began the era of the long marches. K'nossa had joined the rebels during their raiding days in 261, and managed to survive the slaughter of 262. Now, the next threat to his life was the marches all over the mountains, from one side to the other in a couple of days, desperately hoping to avoid capture as they raided Army outposts on either side of the mountains. This way they continued fighting for another fifteen years, until their numbers allowed them to strike a foothold into the Pataki region, which had lost its usefulness after the development of artificial rubbers. In 278, the final march: after a seventy-three day battle with the Guwimithian 15th Heavy Infantry Brigade, they captured Patak and began an over twenty year reign of the city.

Now, for K'nossa, his ultimate march may soon be over. The enemy of forty years is gone, his country is a free nation, and the communist rebellion may end peacefully. Yet, it is proving difficult for the PIMR government to convince the communist regime of Patak that this is true, so the long march may be one that K'nossa is forcing his opponents in the government of Rovens to do.

Negotiations
The communist rulers of the Pataki region have controlled the region for over twenty years under a communist dictatorship. During that time, the rubber plantations have been restored to fertile farmland, cotton crops were introduced for clothing, the local iron smelter even helps to produce bullets that the Pataki Peoples Army desperately needed to maintain their control of the region.

Rovens now   Schools, hospitals, a system of self-government based on the communist model all came to the Pataki region, and the people welcomed it, after years of military oppression under the cruel Guwimithian Army and its special forces. Thousands upon thousands more flocked to join the Peoples Army, strengthening the forces holding back the Guwimithian army
making it possible to keep them out of Patak forever.

With their bringing peace, the communists earned the crown of the Pataki Kings, who ruled the region as the Pataki Empire a thousand years ago, and no matter how badly they ruled, they would no longer be foreign kings.

Now, the people under the Pataki dictatorship fear that their days of peace are at and end. The Guwimithian government may have gone, and their party is negotiating with the PIMR government to end the forty year rebellion, and restore civilian control to the Pataki region. But how can they be so sure that the PIMR government of Haastadt isn't as bad as the overlords of before?

One way is inclusion: their own Pataki Communist Party (PCP), of which Mr K'nossa is secretary, is a key member of the PIMR government. Another is to rally in support, demonstrating the awesome support the communists have in Patak, and thus the power they would have under a democratic system.

K'nossa waving to crowd at the May Day rally   At the rally on May Day, May 1st, 400,000 rallied in support of the communist regime, ensuring that the PIMR government negotiators understood the power the PCP, and the need for the PCP to remain a key member of the PIMR government. Should the PCP pull out of the coalition because they are unhappy with the deal the government is forcing on them in
peace negotiations, they can walk away from the PIMR coalition, forcing it into minority government.

Trust
Insiders say that the PCP does trust the PIMR government, just not the right-wingers that might come to power if elections are held. They fear the fascist elements that continue to control the Rovens Army might have too much influence in the government, and may seek revenge on the former communist leaders that humiliated them.

So, they are seeking a autonomous state within Rovens, where they will maintain a "police force" and the Army will maintain only the border with neighbouring Begral. It will also allow the communists to retain the system of education, which PIMR moderates oppose as simple indoctrination, and the free basic health care.

To counter the demands, the PIMR government is also proposing free healthcare and an education system free for all and open to all. They also propose that the PPA (Pataki Peoples Army) follow the lead of the Peoples Democratic Army in March, and join the Rovens Army as a new Division, eventually integrating with the rest of the Army.

The communists do view the integration of their communist state into Rovens as an inevitable step, as the UNVCOCN mandated it, and they will receive little international support on their own. Much of the supplies they had received were from non-communist allies, allies who would cease supporting them if they tried to break up the state of Rovens.

Yet, if integration is inevitable, it is all a matter of how. They are adamant that the Pataki people should not lose a single benefit of their independence, and they have made it known that they will not hesitate returning to their jungle kingdom and fighting the Rovens regime instead, even without international support.

Terms of Negotiation
So, what does the peace demand?
  • An end to violence,
  • A complete disarmament by the PPA, or integration into the Rovens Army as a new Division,
  • Integration of the Communist city administrations into the Haastadt public service,
  • Complete freedom of passage for all citizens of Rovens, including the military, through the region, and
  • Effectively an end to the communist state.
Not to mention the continued support of the PCP for the PIMR government. And it is this final demand that made necessary the massive and very public rally last Tuesday: the communists made sure the PIMR moderates knew just how much respect they would demand. Respect for their party, and for their communist ideals and policies. The PIMR is a wide democratic coalition of parties from the moderate-right to the far-left, and the PCP want to make sure that they are taken seriously as the major partner in such a government.

It bodes poorly for the country. Such diversity can tear it apart, or it can enrich the body politic. In some respects it would be easier for the Kyonte government to simply let the communists go. But, they too are committed to the international mandate of a complete Rovens, making the autonomous state more palatable, a sort of "One country, Two systems".

Now the far-right's voice becomes known. The Loyalist Army of Guidarma, the right-wing equivalent of the PPA, renowned for assisting the Guwimithian Army in massive purges of communist sympathisers in the east of the country, still exists and still wields influence. Aside from members in the Rovens Army, it has the Army's moral support, and the support of the wealthy ethnic-Guwimithians from the former Port of Olives who are still voters who must be included in debate if the country has a hope of pulling itself out of the economic collapse it appears to be in.

These far-righters, including the Army, absolutely refuse to even consider the idea of an autonomous communist state within Rovens borders. To add to the government's woes, there remain at least another two rebel groups who control part of the Pataki "independent" region - shall they be granted autonomy over areas they control, too? "One nation, four systems?"

The situation requires a delicate negotiation style, and it remains to be seen whether the PIMR government negotiators lead by Amea Kope have the necessary tact, skill and determination to convince the communists the war is over, that their long march is, indeed, at an end.

In association with Rovens Independent Media.
Related links:

Colonel Zegannin arrested

General Keralski condemns coup

Utania condemns Rovens coup

President Kyonte condemns coup

Rovens coup master calls on military to overthrow government

Rovens capital under Coup D'Etat

Interview with Rovens Military Chief

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The Armed parties in this war over Rovens From extreme left to extreme right...
The Pataki Peoples Army (PPA), and their political wing, the Pataki Communist Party (PCP) who control the north-western quarter of the country. Rebels numbering ~25,000.
The Communist Union of Rovens, a coalition of moderate breakaways from the PPA who despise the PPA; Numbering ~1,000 rebels in the mountain ranges of the country's centre.
The PIMR government, a broad coalition of parties from the far-left to the moderate, anti-Guwimithian democratic right.
The Democratic Peoples Army, a moderate democratic force of 5,500 rebels allied to the PPA. Thought to have links to rebels in Begral. Despite their moderate politics, their warlords are the most reluctant in all Rovens to surrender control of their far-west enclaves.
The Peoples Democratic Army, (former). Now the 14th Infantry Brigade in the Rovens Army. Numbered 4,000, and very moderate. Links to Gvonjian politics.
The Rovens Army. Though officially neutral and supportive of the democratic government, the Army is decidedly right-wing and anti-communist, and a recent attempted coup indicated not completely without desire to "right the balance". Recently, the more moderate General Keralski is in command, supportive of the PIMR government. Numbering 40,000 soldiers, including 2,000 in the Navy, 700 in the air force.
The Loyalist Army of Guwimith/Guidarma/Kotovsk, all three titles apply. They number 15,000 and are loyal to the RAIU, often performing "special services" at the direction of the RAIU. Or so it is claimed. Majority are weekend warriors with right-wing and anti-communist politics.
The Rovens Army Intelligence Unit. Staffed by former "security forces" of the loyalist type, the RAIU is the most feared unit in the Army, a sort of secret police, whom it is said are responsible for the majority of "disappearances" in Rovens.
Analysis courtesy Rovens Independent Media Political Analysis Group (RIMPAG). All opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily a 100% true reflection of the situation in Rovens, but are based on the best information to date.

Est. support by voters for political wings:
Estimated support from voters for parties
Clockwise from extreme-left to extreme-right, red to purple, the PIMR are the government, though the PCP (communists) are part of the PIMR coalition. The Democratic Reform Alliance and the Peoples Party of Gvonj are PIMR allies in the current caretaker Parliament.
The Democratic Union Party are free-market conservatives, while the Loyal Nationalists and Liberal Party are the extreme right wing of Rovenian politics.