This time last year I blogged about the virtual country, Wirtland, which had been established as a haven for those fed up with their own physical land-locked, quarrelsome or cash-strapped places of residence - although to be fair, Wirtland describes itself as 'an experiment into legitimacy and self-sustainability of a country without its own soil'.
Things have moved on apace in twelve months, as it seems they need their own soil after all. Cristopher Luengo, PR Attache to the Government of Wirtland's Foreign Office, has issued an email release to advise that Wirtland is shopping for land, with its sights set on the tiny South Pacific Island nation, Nauru. Cristopher says in his release that Wirtland hopes to acquire land by consent from Nauru and, if successful, it would be the first case of a peaceful formation of a new country 'from scratch'.
I was surprised to see the bid for land, as Wirtland's national pride lies in its virtuality (or virtuosity?), although I can quite understand if you are going to set up a new country then a tiny sun-drenched South Pacific paradise is going to please the voters. However, it would seem that under various international conventions, Wirtland cannot be recognised as a nation state without a bit of land to hang on to. The quality and size of the land doesn't matter apparently - it simply has to exist and nationals have to own a piece. The intention is not to move there - ever. Just fulfill the requirements of international law when it comes to recognition. I have no idea what Nauru makes of all this so far and it is going to be really interesting watching Wirtland's progress towards a virtual real-estate existence.
I did find myself deliberating (with myself of course) whether, if Nauru was against the plan, I could sell Wirtland residents a few feet of my back garden? Technically it's mine to do with as I wish - but would that constitute selling New Zealand (or four flower beds of it in any case) illegally? Such are the legal conundrums that social media, its virtual and physical manifestations present to us. If you know the answer, tell me - I'd love to know what the legal ramifications would be!