Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Freeing Sark

We didn't even have to invade!

Last week, the denizens of the island of Sark, a bit of rock in the English Channel and the so-called "last feudal state" in the world, chose to end a 450-year tradition of feudalism, in which one hereditary seigneur owns all land and (in theory at least) controls all economic activity, in favor of transforming a council of landholders into a truly representative elected parliamentary system. Yay for democracy!

No word on whether the seigneur will give up his other, more curious solely-held rights "to keep pigeons as well as an unspayed female dog [and to own] all debris washed up between the high and low tide lines." And I hope the denizens can retain the right of "Clameur de Haro,"

a legal device which still exists in the other Channel Islands. A person can obtain immediate cessation of any action he considers to be an infringement of his rights. At the scene he must, in front of witnesses, recite the Lord's Prayer in French and cry out "Haro, Haro, Haro! À mon aide mon Prince, on me fait tort!" ("To my aid, my Prince! Someone does me wrong!")
(Local color from the Wikipedia entry on Sark.)

Do you think they even told Bush about this? Or did they skip it, out of fear that he'd start thinking about Cutty Sark instead?