Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Forgotten Lands: Gokura

Islamic Republic of Gokura 

Capital: Gokura
Population: 742,486 (2000 census)
Area: 3,200 km2
Independence: 1946

Economy: Shipping, finance, and light industry dominate an internationally oriented economy. Agricultural production is exclusively for local consumption. Gokura prints no money of its own; the local merchants and cashiers are willing and almost uncannily able to accept, calculate a rate for, and make change in any significant world currency.
Per Capita Income: US$43,340
Languages: Kurakura, Chinese, English, Malay
Literacy Rate: 98%

If the impossibly rugged and remote island of New Guinea is to a certain extent a world of its own, then this prosperous little country occupying the lower valley of the Five Bats River is the least typical part of that world. Papua New Guinea, the country that occupies most of the eastern half of the island, is one of the least technologically developed countries on Earth, but Gokura is a gleaming oasis of modernity. Where Papua New Guinea is loosely governed by a weak central government, in Gokura the state is deeply involved in the lives of its citizens. Papua New Guinea is overwhelmingly Christian and largely off the beaten track; Gokura is Muslim and, at nearly the eastern tip of the island, sits on a natural bottleneck for oceangoing traffic.

Converted by traders and missionaries in the 13th Century, Gokura represents the very easternmost spread of traditional Islam. Held by the Portuguese during the colonial era, it was incorporated into Japan’s military empire in the 1930s, gaining independence after liberation by Australian troops during the Second World War. Though much smaller and less discussed than other Asian growth economies, it has developed a similar prosperity over the last half-century through success in shipping, manufacturing, financial services, and technology. A rare high-profile moment was a 1998 cover story – “Asia’s Other Tiger” – in the business magazine The Economist.

Gokura is a self-avowed Islamic state. Non-observance is tacitly tolerated, but public practice of faiths other than Islam is strictly prohibited. The city and its surrounding farms convey an impression of immaculate order, tidiness, and cleanliness. The government ascribes the extremely low crime rate to a faith-based public education system and strict enforcement of traditional Islamic law.

Flag: Intersecting green diagonals, trimmed with gold on official banners (but not on the less expensive flags seen on many schools and public buildings), against a black background. No official account of the flag’s design is known, but presumably the green was chosen to represent Islam.

National Anthem: “Where the Shining River Falls.”


Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Terrific flag. Is Green Lantern their patron saint?

Elaine said...

Do they eat tempura in Gokura?

fingerstothebone said...

Wait a minute, this is a replay. Is that allowed?

Michael5000 said...

They are all replays. But they've been extended, enhanced, and updated for 2010!