Melvinland: The story so far
Melvinland is a new nation, founded upon the only date imprinted on every citizen’s memory - The fourteenth day of October, known to all as Melvin Day. It is located in the south of The Great Karoo semi-desert region of South Africa, with the capital, Melvin City, built on the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains.
The nation was founded by Melvin, an Orang-utan living in Prins Albert zoo with his mate, Melvina, and his three sons, George, Winston, and Melvin Junior. Melvin, for whom the country is named, was by all accounts an exceptionally intelligent and resourceful beast, but contrary to popular opinion in Melvinland, he was unable to converse in the human speech, due to the unfortunate limitations placed upon all Orang-utans – their underdeveloped voice box. He was, however, able to understand several languages almost perfectly, most notably, English. Hence, he was the first creature in the zoo to here of the end of Apartheid in South Africa. He was also observant enough to realise that his situation had not improved by this ruling. He and his family remained in cages. He was still treated as a beast, as though he was no better than the Gorillas. And so, he planned to save his race.
10 years had passed since the end of Apartheid, and still Melvin had not acted. The plan that he had worked so hard on was ready, and he knew that if it was carried out properly, Orang-utans could escape tyranny the world over within 5 years. All he needed now was an opportunity. That opportunity presented itself on November the fifth, 2004. One of the zookeepers, Nicolas Pietersen, was retiring, and all employees had gone to Cape Town to give him a send-off. This unbelievably irresponsible action gave Melvin and his family a chance to escape such as they had never before thought possible. It took Melvin Junior two minutes to pick the lock on the Orang-utan enclosure, and after that, the family were presented with the simple task of walking out of the zoo.
Now in those 10 years, Melvin had not been idle. Contact had been made with the largely unorganized Orang-utan resistance group “Freedom for Orang-utans (FFO)”, who lived as outlaws in the Swartberg Mountains. Numbering in their hundreds, they agreed to have Melvin as their leader, and from then, the task was obvious – They would go from zoo to zoo, from country to country, freeing Orang-utans as they went. Within a year, it is said that no Orang-utan in Africa remained in a cage, and Melvin decided that the time had come to strike. Marching into Prins Albert at the head of a 10,000 strong, but unarmed, army, Melvin took the mayor and chief of police hostage, issuing the government of South Africa, and the UN, with a set of demands: • Orang-utans worldwide would be set free. • The area around Prins Albert would be vacated by humankind, and set aside for the Orang-utans • That the government of South Africa would acknowledge the birth of a new nation, Melvinland, within South Africa, and that it would no longer lay claim to jurisdiction within Melvinland • The government of South Africa would present the Government of Melvinland with 100 tons of bananas every year, as a token of their good will.
These demands were quickly agreed to by both the UN and the government, and so Melvinland was born, with a population quickly exceeding 50,000 as Orang-utans around the world were set free. The constitution that Melvin had worked on for months while in the mountains was passed into law, and a government was set up, consisting of ministers chosen by Melvin, as by now his word was uncontested, so elections would have been a waste of time, or so he said.
On 14 October 2006, however, angry humans stormed Prins Albert, demanding their homes back. They were armed with rifles, while the Orang-utans were armed with their teeth and claws. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the humans slaughtered hundreds, and eventually broke into Melvin’s personal residence. In what was effectively a complete reversal of fortunes, Melvin was presented with one demand – That Melvinland should be returned to the humans. Melvin was of strong will, however, and, ignoring the threats, refused to agree. He was killed, along with the rest of the government ministers, before Melvinlands army, largely consisting of members of FFO, broke in and defeated the terrorists.
However, Melvin’s legacy lives on. His son, Melvin Junior, now known as Ogodai, after the Mongol genius, has guided the nation since his father’s death, and he has proved himself an intelligent beast himself. The nation’s economy is now booming. A strong, fully armed military complete with several tanks has been created. The country has joined a now flourishing international alliance, the Confederacy of Independent States (CIS). Melvinland has gone to war several times for the Confederacy, and has never lost a battle, despite losing large numbers of troops.
The capital was moved from Prins Albert to a new, planned town to the north, named Melvin City. The city has excellent transport links, many public amenities, and has been hailed as a work of art by many. The standard of living in Melvin City was recently voted as third in the world, beaten only by Munich in Germany, and Zurich in Switzerland.
In recent weeks trade has flourished, after Pig farms were set up on the plains, and more significantly, Gold was found in the mountains. This Gold has increased every citizen’s daily income by $3.00, making it by far the most valuable resource to be found in Melvinland.
Melvinland has recently expanded over the mountains to the south, giving rise to the belief that soon, the country will be landlocked no more. Should this happen, the annual trip to Malaysia, the holy land, which is made by over two thirds of citizens, would be made far easier. It would also increase the tourism trade, with fine beaches to be found on the South African coastline.
However, there is of course some bad news to take with all the good. The government is often accused of caring about money before the population’s happiness, taking 28% of every citizen’s daily income in taxes, and making trade deals with zoo keeping nations, something that had always been one of Melvin’s policies never to do. Many are worried that Melvin’s dream of equality and democracy for all Orang-utans is now being eroded away.
Leisure and EntertainmentEdit
By far the most popular sport in Melvinland is Mud Wrestling, followed by Tree Climbing. Melvinland’s national teams regularly perform well in both of these Olympic categories, winning Gold in both at the first Olympics to hold either event.
In recent months, however, the better educated citizen’s have taken an interest in Golf, which is known to be popular across the border in South Africa. The sport has led to tensions being felt between the classes in Melvinland, with the working class, who still consider themselves to be revolutionaries, calling for it’s banning, while the middle and upper classes argue that it is their right to play whatever sport they choose. The well educated government generally side with the pro golf group, while the hard line revolutionaries formed their own political party, the Melvinland Patriot Party (MPP), which was ridiculed as racist by its critics. With the introduction of free education for all, however, the MPP lost most of its popularity as more and more Orang-utans trained to be Doctors or Lawyers, and took up Golf themselves, usually playing on Wednesdays.
Thanks for reading! I believe that Melvinland deserves this scholarship because of its fantastic revolutionary history and its successful liberation of Orang-utans across the globe. Should Melvinland win the award, the money would be spent on erecting statues of Melvin in every town or village in the country, and also on a Harbour to counter the steadily decreasing employment rate, while at the same time presenting Melvinland with more trade opportunities. The current strength of Melvinland is around 960, and many celebrations are planned, to be unveiled when the "magic number" of 1000 is reached.