It’s a cold, rainy morning in Alios. This year’s winter has been especially cold, some say the coldest in years. Napoléon d’Hélène stares at the window as the raindrops fall on the glass, his big amber eyes in a reflective trance. These days the former Enkâkourak finds himself more and more immersed in reveries, he tells us. “Must be the old age”, he jokes.
Today is an important day for all of the Kingdom, but moreso to the whale-shark who ruled Sabia and Verona for a few months after its inception. It was three years ago on the 25th of July that Napoléon Bleuberrie did something no one thought him capable of doing: attempting to overthrow the Sabioveronese democracy. The team of The SiV Phonograph requested an interview with the former head of government and military leader to gain insight on his thoughts of the events, three years after they took place.
This is the first interview Napoléon Bleuberrie gives since his arrest after the failure of his self-coup attempt.
July 25, 2013. What happened that day?
We all know what happened. You were there, and you saw it with your own eyes. Chaos, madness, treachery. But mostly confusion. There was a lot of confusion that day. I remember early in the morning I had tea with my ministers, and I spoke with Anna [Stefanović] about the future of our nation. I remember I asked her “where do you see yourself in a year?”. She paused for a moment and pointed towards my Order of the Needle pin, which only the Enkâkourak is supposed to wear. She looked at me and said “right were you are standing”. She is still one of my favorite people I’ve worked with.
Many Valtirians were left asking themselves “why?” Do you have an answer to that question?
Indeed many Valtirians asked themselves that question. And the answer is simple: at the time, I did not think Sabia and Verona had a future in Juclandia. I did not think, like most other people back then, that Sabia and Verona was “fine” bowing before a foreign King. My reasoning was that I could have not worked so hard, my people could have not worked so hard to be recognized as citizens and to have our own sovereign state, just to have us be a colony of a European nation. I thought that was wrong, and I knew diplomacy wouldn’t get us out of that situation, because the others did not see anything wrong with how things were. That was my frustration.
I was imprisoned, and my friends were imprisoned, and once we were released we all agreed the most bitter thing was that in failing to seize power through violence we had completely stained the idea of an independent Sabia and Verona. Our struggle was now going to be permanently associated to our mistake. That was the most bitter thing of it all.
Do you still hold these beliefs?
Partially, yes. I see now that our relationship with Juclandia was not one of colonization and exploitation, but rather a diplomatic relationship in which our two nations reaped benefits. However I still disliked that we had a foreign king, even if it was one as thoughtful and respectful of our sovereignty as King Ciprian was. I do not hold anything against him or the good Juclandian people, I was merely against the concept of the Juclandian monarchy in Sabia and Verona and I do not regret that.
Naturally, I did not appreciate it when Queen Isadora was crowned. We were given the choice of becoming a democratic, socialist state, and we insisted on pandering to crowns and titles. I rallied against the monarchy again when Isadora stepped down, but the people chose Tarik to rule. I cannot act against the will of the people. Not again.
You mentioned your friends in inprisonment. Boris Tovinski, Paula Walker, Timothy Lawrence. They were all arrested with you as collaborators. How is your relationship with them now?
I remain a close friend of Boris, and I visit him often. As you know he is head of DEX [the National Intelligence Division] now, which makes him a very busy man. Paula and Timothy stayed in the Valtir. I had invited them both to be a part of Haronos, but they decided they wanted to stay. And that was good. We needed people to stay. Their sacrifice made this nation greater.
You believe those who stayed in the Valtir made a sacrifice?
Of course. Haronos was not only a project to expand our territory, it was a way out of crisis, hunger and injustice. It is most saddening that our dear nation has suffered so much because of the incompetence of rulers we did not elect, rulers whom we reject. As much as we claim we are sovereign and independent from Venezuela, we cannot ignore the reality that Sabia and Verona was entirely dependent on her. Those who stayed behind, to allow Haronos’s success, they made a sacrifice. They are the true heroes of our nation.
You are no longer involved in politics, but you still write about politics, yes?
Correct. Most of my political philosophy has been espoused by the National Artists’ Guild, although they have rationally attempted to distance themselves from my image. They are, after all, a new party of new ideas. I represent the old, the broken, the Sabia and Verona of the Socialist-Unity hegemony. I understand all of this.
I’ve written a lot for the Guild, and I’ve collaborated in article pieces for Sourg ê Mourg [the NNS’s monthly newspaper]. I do not agree with all of the Guild’s ideas, but I do think they are the best party for Sabia and Verona.
What ideas of the Guild do you not agree with?
Well, for starters, they are staunch supporters of the monarchy. I believe that’s my main issue. They know this, and I’ve talked with them about it. But again, I still believe their platform is the most comprehensive one. The monarchy has been reduced to quite a small role these days, it’s a very minor thing in the greater scheme of things.
What do you think will happen in September?
Well, hopefully we will get another year of Shounn Virny. To this day I believe he is the best Enkâkourak this nation has had. He really has a lot to offer, and I fully stand behind him, especially considering the alternatives.
The alternatives being Andrew Blackhorse and Apollo Cerwyn.
Yes. Two young politicians not unlike Shounn, but with completely different ideas of where to lead Sabia and Verona. Cerwyn worked under me as Minister of the Environment. He’s a good bear -well, both are good bears. But I do not see him as Enkâkourak material. As for Blackhorse, well. I will not give him the pleasure of hearing me speak ill of him. We’ve heard it all, to be honest. The Three King rebellion nonsense. We were all dumb in 2012. All of us. I like the direction Blackhorse has taken with Unity. He’s making major reforms, which is just what Unity has always needed, but they are far from my liking. It’s a matter of ideals, you see.
Completely. Besides politics, what else is in store for Napoléon Bleuberrie in the coming months and years?
Hopefully I will continue writing and contributing to the development of our nation. There is a lot to be done, and culturally we must keep progressing. I’ve been reading a lot of Vyghana Desrochers’ works on Lycene mythology. I think it’s important to preserve our Lycene heritage, as well as our Pashqar heritage. It’s easy to forget just how much of a multicultural nation we are now that we are here in Alios, where we are all Valtirians. But we must make an effort to remember where we come from. Otherwise, how are we supposed to know where to go?