Sunday, 30 November 2014

Pragmatic Politics

On Nyanza, Derek Ombolu is complicit in treason and murder. He was a party to the conspiracy involving the assassination of the Imperial resident and the attempted assassination of Dominic Flandry and he himself would have seized control in Jairnovaunt if its hereditary Commander had not supported the revolution.

Flandry does not yet know all this but does know that Derek is anti-Imperial and that his deceased brother had been well informed about a revolutionary conspiracy. Flandry and Derek's father fake the latter's assassination, thus turning Derek against the insurrection. Derek kills the assassin, joins the alliance against the insurrectionists and harpoons the Merseian agent, A'u, thus saving Flandry's life. Flandry could arrest Derek for treason but instead helps him to make a beneficial marriage alliance. All's well that ends well.

When Derek first meets Flandry, he says:

"'I've heard about Brae, and more.'"
-Poul Anderson, Captain Flandry: Defender Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2010), p. 321.

We would like to know about the "...and more." There are two differences between Brae and Nyanza. First, Braeans are non-human whereas Nyanzans are human colonials. This should not make any moral difference and it is to Derek's credit that he protests against the conquest of Brae. Secondly, however, Brae was indeed brutally conquered whereas Nyanza has:

"'...nay suffered much more than a resident and some taxes -'" (p. 317)

- and, as Flandry adds, taxation would have been higher when each Nyanzan nation had to organize its own defense. So how credible is it that some Nyanzans feel murderous hatred towards Imperials?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Given the relatively benign and easygoing rule of the Empire, it might seem a bit strained for some Nyanzans to have "murderous hatred" for Terra. However, human beings, notoriously, are not always rational, so I don't find irrational resentment always that surprising. Moreover, I can see see some Nyanzans feeling nostalgic about their former independence from a century before. The two can easily feed on each other!

However, this resentments seems to have faded away after the A'u affair. And I can see more Nyanzans taking a greater interest in Imperial affairs. One example being how Olaf Magnusson married a wealthy Nyanzan heiress.