Lauchenoirians comment on presence of Shuellian aid workers
27th May 2019
In February, the provisional government, headed by Keitha Noguera, accepted an offer by the Incorporated States of Shuell to send aid workers to Lauchenoiria to help in the rebuilding effort following last year’s civil war. Shuell is an authoritarian, capitalist dictatorship in the north of the IDU, which did not get involved in last year’s war. The autocratic nature of the country makes Shuell controversial in Lauchenoiria, and as such is seen by many as a curious choice of country to accept aid from.
The Lauchenoirian Guardian spoke to Lauchenoirians from each of the provinces to see what their opinions of the Shuellian aid workers present in the country are. Opinions ranged from grateful recipients of aid to conspiracy theorists alleging a ‘stealth invasion’. The decision remains controversial, which is an unwelcome development for a government meant to encourage unity across the country.
An Aelurian independence campaigner
Elijah Yates, who campaigned for Aelurian independence in last month’s referendum, is one of the many who have benefitted from Shuellian aid. Since the blockade of the island during the war, many areas on the island have continued to suffer from shortages due to backlogs and bureaucracy, and Shuellian food packages have benefitted many, especially in the small village of Carala, home to Yates’ family.
Interviewer: How has Shuellian aid helped you?
“My village has been struggling to get deliveries of food and medicine. It’s isolated, and during the war a lot of the roads were damaged. A lot of the companies that delivered stuff before the war have gone out of business, and we’re being missed off a lot of the supply lists. People were having to travel for miles to get food, and most of us can’t afford fuel for our cars any longer, because almost everyone has lost their job and the fuel taxes are so high. When the Shuellians arrived and began distributing food packages I can honestly say it probably saved the lives of half the village.”
So, would you say you’re grateful to Shuell?
“That’s an understatement! I know some people have criticised Prime Minister Noguera for her decision, and I can’t say I approve of their authoritarianism, but at the end of the day, if Lauchenoiria isn’t capable of caring for her people without help, they should take any help they can get. It’s a shame, because before the war things were good here.”
What do you think of the Shuellian food packages?
“At first it was quite strange – did you know Shuellians eat moss? I was a bit wary at first, but I got used to it. It’s actually really nutritious. Of course, it’s a big difference from the stuff I was eating before the war. It’s a big adjustment. A lot of people feel embarrassed for relying on aid now, especially people who were pretty well off before the war. And though the food is healthy, it’s hardly luxurious.”
What is your overall opinion of Shuell?
“Well, as a supporter of democracy I can’t say I approve of everything they do, [nervous laughter] but I honestly think the country has been unfairly demonised in the media. The Shuellians I’ve interacted with seemed like perfectly normal people, not cold, unfeeling monsters as they’re often depicted on TV. They supported Aelurian independence last month, which naturally gives me a more favourable opinion of them, but I really hope that even though we voted No, Lauchenoiria and Shuell can have better relations in the future.”
A Communist in Melissa
While Melissa Province saw little fighting in the war, parts of Melissa City were destroyed in various terror attacks, which leaked documents later showed were black-ops sponsored by the Conternian state. Even though the government of Conternia responsible has been removed from power, Lauchenoiria has since increased security along the border in Melissa Province, and Conternian citizens living in the province have reported vastly increased rates of xenophobic abuse. There has been little need for Shuellian aid in the province – which has come as a relief to members of the Communist Party resident in the province.
Aidan Olson was a supporter of Chaher’s government in the war, and is an active member of the Communist Party. He strongly objected to Noguera’s acceptance of Shuellian assistance, going so far as to organise a protest at his university. The protest was poorly attended, but that hasn’t stopped Olson from continuing to object to Shuell’s presence.
Why do you dislike Shuell so much?
“If I was Shuellian, all else equal, I’d probably be dead because of my political opinions. Or at the very least rotting in some prison. Shuell is the very opposite of a fair and free society. People are persecuted for what they think, and I find it repulsive. I don’t believe that Lauchenoiria should have anything to do with such a nation. They find the principles of fairness and economic equality abhorrent. I could never support allowing such an authoritarian nation to ‘help’ us.”
Is it not true that you supported Chaher in the war? Was his government not authoritarian also?
“I do believe that Suleman Chaher could have found a better way, yes, but he was responding to a grave threat to this nation – Laura Moore being influenced by foreign forces into holding that capitalism referendum, the result of which was not accurate. There were many electoral irregularities and we’re expected to believe that Moore is the perfect democrat? Given Shuell’s irrational hatred of both communism and democracy, I’m willing to bet they were one of the parties involved in fixing the referendum.”
The rumours that the referendum was ‘fixed’ have been debunked before. What makes you think Shuell was involved?
“If the shoe fits. Naturally, all the capitalist countries wanted Lauchenoiria to join them. I don’t think just a single country had Moore on their payroll, I’m not that much of a conspiracy theorist. I’m willing to believe that Moore was unaware of how she was being manipulated, I don’t think she deliberately committed treason. But I do believe we need to have an investigation, and I don’t trust Shuell at all. Why would they stay out of the war when they claim to hate communism so much? And why now would they offer aid, in a move that seems very out of character for the dictatorship? I can’t discount the fact they might have an ulterior motive.”
A Kerlian refugee in Fleura
Fleura Province, home to the capital of Lauchenoiria, Buttercity, is the most populous province of Lauchenoiria. Bordered on the north by Kerlile, it is also home to the majority of Kerlian refugees who fled the matriarchal dictatorship. Tasha Rockwood came to Lauchenoiria at the age of seven with her father and two older brothers, fleeing the Kerlian civil war in the 1990s. Much to the horror of her brothers, Rockwood joined the Feminist Party, seen as a Kerlian front by many.
What is your opinion of the Shuellian aid workers?
“This is the second war I’ve lived through. In the first, in Kerlile, I was only a child, but what I remember most of all is that nobody came to help us. We had no choice but to leave our country because the alternative was dying. I’m glad that someone is helping the Lauchenoirians who need it now, but I just wish it wasn’t Shuell.”
Why do you wish it was someone else?
“Shuell is a dictatorship, and dictatorships never do this stuff out of the goodness of their hearts. There is an ulterior motive. It’s the same with Kerlile too, of course. People say that because I’m in the Feminist Party that I have to support the Kerlian regime, but that’s not true. Kerlile has some good things – their position on women’s rights is far ahead of any other country, but that doesn’t make up for their crimes. I’m in the Feminist Party because I support improving women’s rights in this country within a democratic framework. I could never support a dictatorship – be it Kerlile, Shuell or any other.”
What do you think Shuell’s ‘ulterior motive’ is?
“I don’t know. Probably the usual – spreading influence, making sure Lauchenoiria is in their debt so we’re under their control. It’s funny – of all the countries that invaded us last year, none of them has nearly so much influence now as those who stayed out of the war. Neutrality reaps rewards, it seems. That’s what makes Shuell so dangerous in my opinion – they’re clever. We could end up under their thumb before we knew it was a risk.”
Would you rather Lauchenoiria had refused their aid?
“No, I wouldn’t. Whatever the risks, it’s better to have people here to help. Nobody should be going hungry, suffering or dying because the government were too proud to accept help. Lauchenoiria is struggling right now. It’s painful to see, since this country made me so welcome and gave me so many opportunities I wouldn’t have had in Kerlile, but it is. Whatever the risks, I’m grateful to the Shuellians for their help.”
A construction worker in Costeno
Costeno province was the site of the first battle involving foreign forces on Lauchenoirian soil. On the 13th June, the day after the Resistance attacked Annatown, Skodenian troops landed in the city of Summersea. Costeno province is also the location of Carville, the city which was under the control of four separate powers during the war. Much of Carville was destroyed in the war.
Tyler Foster lived in Carville during the war, and described the experience as ‘hell’. At the end of the war he joined Lauchenoiria First – the controversial far-right party led by Paul Doberman. He works in construction, and has managed to find a lot of work rebuilding the many buildings destroyed by the war.
What is your opinion of the Shuellian aid workers in Lauchenoiria?
“It’s typical – get foreigners in to solve a problem caused by foreigners. First foreigners interfere in that referendum and use it to start a war, then they invade our country, and to add insult to injury it’s a foreign government that stops the war! Kerlile, LOM, Sanctaria, Shuell – they’re all the same! They say this is ‘foreign aid’ but we all know what that means – it’s just a stealth invasion.”
Are you saying you believe Shuell intends to invade Lauchenoiria?
“Yes I am. They’re already doing it. Slipping themselves into our country under the guise of aid workers. They’re probably all trained and one day they’ll turn, take our cities and then take over our country. We’ll all become second class citizens in our own country, and if we don’t cooperate with the Shuellians they’ll kill us. The worst part? People like Noguera are allowing this to happen. They don’t care! The Shuellians have probably paid her to sell out her country.”
Have you actually spoken to any Shuellians?
“I tried confronting a couple, but the police escorted me away. They’re trying to cover it up, they won’t let us speak to the invaders! Worst part? A couple of Sanctarian peacekeepers were watching too. Can Lauchenoiria do nothing for itself any longer? They come here, taking our jobs and trying to control our country. Paul Doberman is the only one willing to stand up for Lauchenoirians! It’s all gone downhill since they started letting any old Kerlian over the border.”
What is your opinion of Shuell in general?
“Well, if they’d stick to their own country, they have the right idea in many ways. Communists should be arrested. They’re a threat to everyone. The Lauchenoirian government are too liberal. They let people do whatever they want and it leads to moral degeneracy and the destruction of our culture. But Shuell is not Lauchenoiria, and the only reason they need authoritarianism is because their people clearly need to be kept in line. Shuell has a lot of problems – they should focus on that instead of interfering here.”
A pacifist on Butterfly Island
Butterfly Island was the only province left completely untouched by the civil war. It was the wealthiest province of Lauchenoiria before the war, and remains so now to an even greater extent. There has been no need for Shuellian aid on the island, in fact most Butterfly Islanders continue their lives as if nothing happened.
Mimi Martinez lives in a three-storey house on the island with her boyfriend and three cats. The property is a stark contrast to the village of Elijah Yates on Aeluria, where they are going days without electricity at times. She’s pregnant, and has joined the new Pacifist Party because she says she wants her child to grow up in a world with no war.
What do you think about the Shuellian aid workers in parts of Lauchenoiria?
“I’m really happy that someone is helping the unfortunate people living in such areas! My heart just broke during the war, it was so horrible watching something like that unfold in this country. Jon and I, we spent the whole time absolutely terrified it would come here too. I didn’t much like the Chaher government, I’m not a big fan of communism, but I was really devastated that Laura Moore was willing to start a war instead of seeking international mediation!”
Does it bother you that Shuell is hardly pacifist themselves?
“Well, of course I don’t approve of their militaristic culture, but it’s up to Shuell how to govern their own country. Lauchenoiria should not be commenting on other countries’ systems of government. Such actions are provocative and only lead to bad things. Look at what happened when Chaher decided to anger Skoden and Laeral! It’s important that we focus on improving Lauchenoiria. One day there will be no more wars, and then there will be no need for any country to have a large military.”
Some would call that view idealistic. Are you not compromising on your ideology if you fail to condemn Shuell’s militaristic ways?
“Well of course it is! We need to have ideals in order to progress. Our ideals light the beacon, and compromise is how we find the path towards it. Both have a place in finding our way to the future. We have to work together, and refusing to compromise is how wars start in the first place. Of course I won’t approve of everything Shuell does, but I do approve of their willingness to help our country rebuild from a terrible war, one I hope never repeats itself in the future.”
An anarchist in Yervia
Sidney Connors is one of the candidates for the Anarchist Party of Yervia, more commonly known as PAY, the acronym for their Spanish-language name. She lives in the city of Usera, which spent much of the war under Resistance control, followed by a month-long Kerlian occupation – much to the horror of all residents. Many residents of Usera are now receiving Shuellian aid, but Shuell remains very controversial in the city.
The interview with Ms Connors was carried out in Spanish due to the general policy of PAY members to refuse to speak English ‘until the rights of Spanish speakers are recognised by the central government’. The central government insists that the English and Spanish languages have equal recognition under Lauchenoirian law.
What is your opinion of Shuell?
“Shuell is the embodiment of everything I dislike. Their entire culture seems based around obedience of the state, whereas I want to see the state abolished. I refuse to take anything they’re handing out. I would rather starve. I spent the entire Kerlian occupation in a jail cell because I wouldn’t cooperate with them. They treated us horrendously but I wouldn’t give in. Well, I won’t cooperate with Shuell either.”
You understand that Shuell is not an occupying power here?
“Yet. I know how this ends! Lauchenoiria would last all of five minutes if Shuell decided to invade us. And with a presence already established in the country, it would be easy for them. Sure, they can’t do anything now but they will. All states want to expand, it’s in their nature. It’s why they need to be broken up. We need to tell the Shuellians to leave now, while we still can!”
What about all the people being helped by Shuellian aid?
“They can be helped better by their community. We don’t need outside interference if we look after our own. I’m not saying that I dislike foreigners or anything, I’ve no problem with immigrants, but the fact is it’s the people who live in an area that know what it needs best. That’s regardless of whether they were born there, of course. It’s Lauchenoirians that know what Lauchenoirians need after the war. Shuell can provide some assistance but it will never be as effective.”
Many Lauchenoirian communities, however, don’t have the resources needed to ‘help their own’, as you suggest.
“That’s because of mismanagement of resources by the state. We wouldn’t have such problems if the central government didn’t take our resources and export them at inflated prices. We wouldn’t have such problems if people like Suleman Chaher and Laura Moore didn’t think they had the right to play games with human lives. Shuell is just the same. It’s all a game to them. They don’t want to help people, they just want to gain advantage. Laura Moore, Suleman Chaher, Keitha Noguera, Edwin Sloan… they’re all the same. We’re just pawns on a chessboard to them.”
A teacher in Ecanta
Ecanta province, home to the city of Annatown, the site of several battles in the war, is a politically diverse province. There is no such thing as a ‘safe seat’ in Ecanta, with votes fluctuating wildly between elections. Kyle Ramsay is a teacher who once voted Communist – but he is now a member of the Liberal Party, and claims he ‘deeply regrets’ his former far-left views.
Have you had many interactions with Shuellians?
“Yes. My house was destroyed in the war by the Gonhogians. I’m living in one of the old apartments the government are putting displaced people in, but it’s not great. There’s a reason they were empty – it’s pretty substandard. We’ve got barely anything, and we can’t afford to buy stuff. So, I’ve been relying on the Shuellian aid packages. I don’t like it, and I can’t stand eating that Yvesta moss but it is what it is.”
How have your interactions with the Shuellians gone?
“Pretty positive. I’m grateful to them. I’m sure it would’ve gone a lot more badly though, if they’d known I used to be a communist! I’m keeping that one well under wraps. I’m ashamed of it, if I’m honest. It was a phase at university that lasted a little too long. I was already having my doubts about communism before the war but after Chaher’s coup, that really just cemented it. I was furious. I voted No in the capitalism referendum but I respected the result, unlike Chaher. I supported Laura Moore’s actions in the war – she had integrity, unlike most other people.”
So, do you approve of the Shuellian position on communists?
“I wouldn’t go that far. They’re a bit heavy-handed. I don’t approve of the authoritarianism aspect at all. I find it abhorrent, really, the idea of locking people up for their opinions. That’s why I was so angry at Chaher. I wish I’d done more to object to it, but I was frightened. In fairness, if I had objected I don’t know if I’d be alive right now. It’s a very scary thought. And that’s why I just can’t approve of Shuell, even if I’m grateful for their help.”
A grandmother in Ulinaria
Ulinaria province was the most Resistance-friendly throughout the civil war. The city of Elopolis fell into the Resistance’s hands without much of a fight, through the clever strategy of the former First Minister of the province, also a veteran, Victoria Juarez. This left the city fairly untouched and with a remarkably low casualty rate. It was in the rural areas of the province that the war hit hardest. The east of the province was plagued by Kerlians launching small attacks throughout the war.
Kitty Browne had lived all her life on a farm in eastern Ulinaria until the war hit. Her son was in the army, and his wife was in Buttercity when war broke out. She was caring for her grandchildren when war broke out. She now uses a wheelchair, and relies on aid in the small home the government gave her after the farm was burned down by the Kerlians.
How has Shuellian aid helped you?
“It has probably saved the lives of my grandchildren. They’re too young to work, and I’m too old. We have no money; my son never came back from the war and his wife vanished. We don’t know what happened to her. The Kerlians came to the farm, they wanted to set some kind of trap. When I refused to help them, they shot me in the leg and burned the place down. I’d lived there my whole life, it was devastating. I lost everything in the war. Lauchenoiria can’t… they can’t help everyone. The economy is a mess. The politicians are too busy arguing amongst themselves to care about the people. We needed outside help, and I’m glad Shuell is here.”
What is your opinion of Shuell?
“They have the right idea about communists, I tell you. We let ours run rampant and look what happened. Communism is such a destructive ideology, we’ve allowed them to have a say for too long. It’s time it was consigned to the history books. That said, I do still support democracy, I’m not advocating that we lock them up or anything! Shuell is a little too authoritarian for my tastes. I just simply think that a party that has caused this country nothing but harm shouldn’t be allowed to keep existing.”
So, do you have any objections at all to the presence of Shuellian aid workers?
“None at all! I think it’s excellent, it shows signs that Shuell is improving. They’re trying to do good, that’s the first step towards reform and getting rid of some of their… less savoury elements. This is good for both countries. I find it painful to accept handouts – I’ve worked hard my whole life, and this feels wrong to me. But the communists and Kerlians took everything from me, and the Shuellians have helped. All of Lauchenoiria should be thankful to Shuell.”