Ariddian national identity

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The issue of Ariddian national identity is a complex and much debated one, for a variety of reasons. Those reasons can roughly be outlined as follows:

  • multiculturalism
  • fragmentation
  • internationalism


Ariddia is not only a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society today, it has been so for centuries, ever since it was colonised. Before colonisation, Indigenous Ariddians (or Wymgani) had no basis of comparison upon which to build a sense of national identity for themselves. The isles were not assembled into a geo-political entity under a unified government. Wymgani were aware of other peoples inhabiting other Pacific islands and beyond, which made them in turn aware of certain defining characteristics of their own, but there was no sense of a single, well-defined Wymgani “national” identity.

Colonisation complicated the picture. The British and French colonisers each brought their own sense of national identity with them, and saw Ariddia as an extension of it, rather than as a separate nation. Gradually, the colony’s sense of identity developed, but a sense of kinship with the “homeland(s)” remained strong for a long while. Adding to this was the fact that Ariddia was not colonised by a single power, which made it a hybrid colonial entity from the start. At first, French, British and Wymgani identities existed along separate parallel lines, undoubtedly influencing one another but remaining distinct nonetheless. Gradually, the identities of the colonisers began to blur just a little, building in a comparison with that of the colonised. Identity is not constructed or experienced in a vacuum, and the three main ethnic groups in the Isles had one another as a basis for comparison. Only slowly did all become aware that they shared a same nation, and a same national future.

With the increase of immigration from around the world, Ariddians began to proclaim multiculturalism as a core aspect of their national identity – but they still needed an overriding structure, a defining sense of national unity. Common values came with the election which heralded in the “revolution”, and socio-political beliefs all could share in.

History also became a key to the Ariddian sense of identity, and Ariddians looked back beyond the colonial era, to their nation’s pre-colonial past. Wygmani began to be perceived as Ariddians par excellence, and their contribution to Ariddian culture as that which made the nation different from any other. Wymgani ways were not restricted to the Wymgani; they had a notable impact on the beliefs and habits of all Ariddians. Ecological concerns and the preservation of nature, a sense of communal, national and human solidarity, Ariddian communism itself may well have sprung from a Wymgani ethos – influenced and reshaped in turn by contact with the wider world. The place of Indigenous Ariddians in the PDSRA’s sense of national identity is anything but a marginal one. (The most notable example, or at least the most visible from abroad, is the embracing of the ulek by the national sports teams of all three Ariddias. The ulek is supposedly millennia old, and as such is perceived as being a core element of genuine Ariddian identity. Performed just after the national anthem, itself central to identity, at the beginning of a game, the ulek is a forceful affirmation of Ariddian identity on the international stage. It exemplifies the feeling that Ariddian identity has many of its roots in its pre-colonial past.)

See also: the article on the notion of "sele'eosh".


The stubborn reluctance of the Ariddian government to recognise the sovereignty of West Ariddia, which went on for many years, may have stemmed from far more than simply not wishing to acknowledge a loss of land and authority. The Limean secession, and above all the ideology it rested upon, were anathema to a sense of identity which should have united the twenty Isles. Suddenly, it was no longer true that the same core values were shared by all Ariddians – a severe blow to the idea which had equated geography, identity and communist and ecological ideology. The fact that Wymgani fled West Ariddia in their thousands to settle in the other nineteen Isles, even at the cost of abandoning their ancestral lands, only seemed to prove, from a PDSRA perspective, that the Limean experiment was an aberration, running contrary to a sense of identity grounded in millennia of history.

It is interesting to note the efforts in recent decades towards a “national” reconciliation of the Isles. Ariddians in all twenty islands share a sense of being one nation, a sense balanced with the (now) undisputed reality of three separate, sovereign States. North-West Ariddia’s rejection of re-unification with the PDSRA further underlines the fact that a sense of national oneness can co-exist with the determination of the two “smaller” Ariddias to preserve their own sovereignty and explore their own political, social and economic paths.

The use of the word “nation” in the Isles has increasingly come to refer to a pan-Ariddian sense of nation, with the term “State” being used to designate each of the three sovereign entities. Especially in North-West Ariddia, few speak of a “North-West Ariddian nation”. This evolution of meaning in the word “nation” can be seen as highly revealing of the sense of identity supposedly shared across borders within the Isles. But what exactly makes West Ariddians part of the same “nation” as the inhabitants of the PDSRA has never clearly been defined.


Attempts have been made to define the “Ariddian Way” as one embracing internationalism, and rejecting such concerns and puzzles as that of national identity. The idea that the PDSRA and North-West Ariddia could in a sense be considered “one”, despite being separate States, only reinforced this. Ariddians on the whole, however, feel that taking an in interest in the rest of the world should not prevent them from trying to define who they are as a nation – quite the contrary. This has become all the more true with Ariddia having few strong ties even with fellow democratic communist nations, in part because an economy without money is difficultly compatible with extensive foreign trade.

See also: Books on this topic

  • A Comprehensive Guide to Ariddian History and Identity, Ellen DIAMOND, pp.884
  • Being Wymgani: Changing Perspectives and Cultural Continuity, Uw WEA, Albert GRIND and Il WOL, pp.340
  • Searching for “l’lwesh”: the Quest for Ariddian Identity, Serena DENG, pp.292
  • “Rouges et Noirs”: idéologie et identité nationale, Fabrice DESVAUX, pp.257