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Republic of Socotra
National Flag

National Flag
Motto
Nec pluribus unum
Capital City Centronom
Official Language(s) Arab languages, English
Demonym Socotrans
Established 7/1/2010
(5,134 days old)
Government Type Capitalist Capitalist
Ruler Caius Alexandrian
Caius Alexandrian
Alliance Green Protection Agency
Green Protection Agency
AllianceStatsIcon rankingsWorldIcon warIcon aidIcon spy
NpoarmageddoniconNpolosticonNpoisolationiconNporedemptioniconEra of Boldness
Nation Team Team: Green Green
Statistics as of 09/14/2016
Total population 201,390 supporters
 162,890 civilians
 38,500 soldiers
Population Density 27.90
Literacy Rate 100.00%%
Religion Christianity Christianity
Total casualties 613,296
 193,614 attacking
 419,682 defending
Casualty Rank 3,229 of 5,242 (61.6%)
Currency Euro Euro
Infrastructure 13,000.00
Technology 12,599.72
Nation Strength 124,238.153
Nation Rank 1,024 of 5,242 (19.53%)
Efficiency 54.80
Total Area 9,250.747 Nation Map
Environment 2.20
Native Resources Gold Wheat

Nation Information[]

Contemporary Map of the Republic of Socotra

Map of the Republic of Socotra


Republic of Socotra is a large sized, mostly developed, and ancient nation with citizens primarily of Arab ethnicity whose religion is Christianity. Its technology is first rate and its citizens marvel at the astonishing advancements within their nation. Its citizens pay extremely high taxes and many despise their government as a result. The citizens of Republic of Socotra work diligently to produce Cattle and Wheat as tradable resources for their nation. It is an aggressive country that some say has an itch for war. It believes nuclear weapons are necessary for the security of its people. The military of Republic of Socotra has been positioned at all border crossings and is arresting all drug traffickers. Republic of Socotra allows its citizens to protest their government but uses a strong police force to monitor things and arrest lawbreakers. It has an open border policy, but in order for immigrants to remain in the country they will have to become citizens first. Republic of Socotra believes in the freedom of speech and feels that it is every citizen's right to speak freely about their government. The government gives foreign aid when it can, but looks to take care of its own people first. Republic of Socotra will trade with other nations with questionable ethical treatment of their citizens but prefers to keep such trade agreements a secret.


Catfish Republic of Socotra2

A School of Socotran Cathfish

National Animal[]

The catfish is the national animal of Socotra and the primary source of food. Some Socotran tribes have the catfish as their heraldic animal. Pre-Socotran fairy tales name a catfish goddess of abundance and prosperity, called Anim-Arik-La, that sacrificed her own breed to produce relief for mankind that was famine-stricken. This fairy tale is still very popular and is traditionally passed on from father to son and from mother to daughter.

Dragon-blood-tree4

A Dragon Blood Tree

Hajhir Mountains-Socotra

Hajhir Mountains, south of Hadibou City

National Flag[]

The national flag of the Republic of Socotra shows a yellow star with five arms in the center, surrounded by triangles in maritime blue and anthracite black. "Republic of Socotra" is written down in the center of the flag in white-grey capital letters. On the left side of the flag, there is an additional banner; there are two red strips on the edges of the banner, and the area between these strips is divided into black-grey and maritime blue. The two symbols on the banner display two capricorns. Colors and form of the flag resemble the flag of the New Pacific Order due to Socotra's past membership to Pacifica. The black color represents the soil and rocks of the islands, the blue for the sea surrounding them and the yellow star stands for the sun above Socotra. The red strips at the edges of the banner stand for the blood the Christian tribes had to shed in the past. The two capricorns signify the stubbornness and persistence that made it possible for Socotrans to endure the times of conflict.

National Motto[]

NEC PLURIBUS UNUM. Latin for "Not with many but one". President Caius Alexandrian considered the Socotrans not to be just thirteen tribes living on a group of islands but one proud people of equal heritage and excellence.

National Plant[]

The national plant is the so called Dragon Blood Tree. Old myths narrate about this unique kind of tree that it grew when the last dragons passed away and shed their blood on the soil of the island of Socotra. The Dragon Blood Tree is further on the national symbol of the Republic of Socotra.

The known Socotran flora stands at over 940 species, including some 300 endemics, 16 of which are restricted to Abd Al Kuri and another 10 confined to Samha.

Many are strange-looking remnants of ancient floras which long ago disappeared from the African /Arabian mainland.

They create a scene of weird vegetation and make the archipelago the world's tenth richest island group for endemic plant species.

There are certainly many more plant species that have yet to be discovered. For example, Dr. Tony Miller of the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh recently collected the first known specimens of a tiny carnivorous plant, which grows on moist tree trunks in the higher reaches of the Haggier Mountains.

One of the most famous Botanical curiosities of Socotra is the Dragon's blood tree; the tree is so named because any injury to the bark results in a deep red liquid secreting from the scar. This was compared in the past to the "Blood of Dragons”.

Only in sheltered valleys and higher mountain areas is the vegetation more luxuriant.

Different main types of vegetation can be recognised.

The most distinctive is the open deciduous shrub land of coastal plains and low inland hills dominated by the common shrub, Croton socotranus, and tree succulents such as the bizarre Adenium and Dendrosicyos.The higher altitudes are home of frankincense, Socotran Aloe and wild pomegranate. One of the most famous botanical curiosities of Socotra is the Dragon’s Blood Tree (Draecaenia Cinnabari), whose name is derived from the fact that by carving its trunk it pours out a red resin, it is said by the ancient belief, to be the blood of the dragon, also there is ancient belief that the tree grown on the same place where Cain killed his brother Abel, for this reason the tree called in Arabic (brothers blood's tree).

Gondwana-Arboretum Centronom

Gondwana Arboretum in Centronom City

History[]

Originally, there was an Oldoway (or Oldowan) culture in Socotra. Stone tools of the Oldoway era were found in the area around Hadibou in 2008.

Socotra appears as Dioskouridou ("of Dioscurides") in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a 1st-century AD Greek navigation aid. A recent discovery of texts in several languages, including a wooden tablet in Palmyrene dated back to the 3rd century AD, and indicate the diverse origins of those who used Socotra as a trading base in antiquity.

Deep inside a huge cave on the island Socotra, archeologists came across a large number of inscriptions, drawings and objects. As further investigations revealed, they were left by sailors who visited the island between the 1st century BC and the 6th century AD. The majority of texts is written in the Indian Brāhmī script, but there are also inscriptions in Bactrian, Ethiopian, Greek, South-Arabian and Palmyrene scripts and languages. This corpus of nearly 250 texts and drawings thus constitutes one of the main sources for the investigation of Indian Ocean trade networks in the first centuries of our era.

Antiquity to 1990[]

A local tradition holds that the inhabitants were converted to Christianity by Thomas the Apostle in AD 52. In the 10th century, the Arab geographer Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Hamdani stated that in his time most of the inhabitants were Christians. Socotra is also mentioned in The Travels of Marco Polo; Marco Polo did not pass anywhere near the island but recorded a report that "the inhabitants are baptised Christians and have an 'archbishop'" who, it is further explained, "has nothing to do with the Pope in Rome, but is subject to an archbishop who lives at Baghdad". They were Nestorians but also practised ancient magic rituals despite the warnings of their archbishop.

In 1507, a fleet commanded by Tristão da Cunha landed an occupying force at the then capital of Suq. Their objective was a Portuguese base to stop Arab commerce from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, and to liberate the presumed friendly Christians from Islamic rule. Here they started to build a fortress. However, they were not welcomed as enthusiastically as they had expected and abandoned the island four years later, as it was not advantageous as a base.

The islands passed under the control of the Mahra sultans in 1511. In 1834, the United Kingdom stationed a garrison on the island. Plans were made to make it a coaling station for ships bound for India, but the climate was considered unsuitable and the British left in 1839. In January 1876, it became a British protectorate along with the remainder of the Mahra State of Qishn and Socotra.

In October 1967, the Mahra sultanate was abolished. On November 30, 1967, Socotra became part of South Yemen.

Declaration of Independence[]

After the Yemeni unification in 1990 it has been part of the Republic of Yemen till its declaration of independence on July 1, 2010.

Centronom-City Socotra

Centronom City, capital of the Republic of Socotra

After having faced religious persecution in nearby Oman and Yemen for centuries, the Christian tribes on the four isles of Socotra founded Centronom, Socotra's capital, and began to embrace the thought of putting up a nation where they could live in religious freedom and economic stability without foreign interference. Constant economic growth and the people's will to be industrious allow them to rise from poverty to affluence. A petition was forwarded to President Caius Alexandrian in order to affirm Christianity as the one and only national state religion. At July 1st, 2010, the President accepted and announced Christianity as the state's official religion.

Contemporary History[]

Somali pirates have begun using Socotra as a refueling stop for hijacked maritime vessels until they were expelled from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Socotra. The Navy of the Republic of Socotra partakes in international programs to hunt down and eradicte privacy in the near Gulf of Aden.

Doom House-NPO War[]

Centronom after the first nuclear bombing

When the Doom House-NPO War started, the Republic of Socotra had to face a threat unknown to her citizens and president. Three hostile FAN nations engaged the peaceful country and nuked Centronom fifteen times. The aftermath was catastrophic. The entire town was wiped out and only ruins bore witness to the fact that a thriving capital has existed before these assaults. Hundreds of thousands citizens had to meet their death as well as the soldiers that were based around the capital of the Republic to protect it against hostile attacks. A nation stricken with horror and full of pain moaned and complained of the sickening cruelty of war that took place in the heart of the country, wasting many a good men and women and children who just strived to live their peaceful lives.

The last war against hostile forces sent by Flupptopia of GOONS came to an end at June 1, 2011. Socotra's population was considerably depleted to a few hundred survivors, the military effaced, public safety and order nothing but mere terms of an obliterated past that appeared so much brighter in hindsight. The laws of the country were not venerated at all, instead of the law of the jungle asserted itself in the ruins of a formerly thriving state. Nevertheless, although the land was barren and most inhospitable, the survivors started rebuilding their capital and working on overcoming the ferocious forces that had almost wiped out an entire civilization and its delightful culture.

In order to honor the brave defenders of Centronom, the 35th Army Division, and in order to pay tribute to the people of Socotra, the 1st of July was nominated the "Republic of Socotra Day" or just "Socotra Day".

Educational System[]

Altogether, there are 422 elementary schools providing basic education for 265,455 students under the age of 14. 305 of them are run by the state, 85 are aided by the state, but privately run and funded and 32 are entirely funded and run by private persons or enterprises.

There are 119 highschools in the Republic of Socotra. They provide education for 226,363 students between the ages of 14 to 19. After five years of studying, students are eligible to take their final tests in four to six subjects. When they pass the tests in written and oral form, they may receive a diploma that grants them the right to submit an application to one of Socotra's universities.

Centronom, the capital of the Republic of Socotra, calls three universities its own. The Farrin University of the Republic of Socotra, located north-northeast part of the capital, was founded on August 26, 2010. Farrin University contains seven colleges providing higher education for 4,765 domestic and international students.

Another university to be mentioned is the Makalaure University of Centronom, established on November 10, 2010, located east of Centronom. It contains six colleges and provides degrees for more than 5,275 international and domestic students.

Geography[]

The archipelago was once part of the supercontinent of Gondwana and detached during the Miocene epoch, in the same set of rifting events that opened the Gulf of Aden to its northwest. Socotra is one of the most-isolated landforms on Earth of continental, non-volcanic origin.

The archipelago consists of the main island of Socotra with an area of 3,665 km2 or 1,415 square miles; the three smaller islands of Abd-al-Kuri, Samhah and Darsa and small rock outcrops like Ka'l Fir'awn and Sābūnīyah that are uninhabitable by humans but important for seabirds.

The main island has three geographical terrains: the narrow coastal plains, a limestone plateau permeated with karstic caves, and the Haghier Mountains. The mountains rise up to 1,503 metres or 4,931 feet. The island is about 125 kilometres or 78 miles long and 45 kilometres or 28 miles north to south.

Climate and Time Zone[]

The climate of Socotra is classified as a a tropical desert climate and semi-desert climate with a mean annual temperature over 25°C (78°F). Yearly rainfall is light, but fairly spread throughout the year. Generally the higher inland areas receive more rain than the coastal lowlands, due to orographic lift provided by the interior mountains. The monsoon season brings strong winds and high seas.

Socotra does not observe daylight saving time. It follows the GMT+3 time zone.

Economy[]

The Republic of Socotra's economy bases on mining coal and silver. Fishing and goat herding provide the most important supplies of nourishment. The chief agricultural export products of the island are dates, laudanum, ghee, myrrh, tobacco, cattle and fish. Just like in Yemen, Qat, a mild narcotic plant that releases a stimulant when chewed, is cultivated on the smaller islands and rural areas of the Republic of Socotra. Industrial development concentrates on the periphery of Centronom. The tourism and service sector are steadily increasing and contribute to the economic power of the state.

Military[]

The Socotran military is arguably the most technologically advanced in their region northeast of Africa and south of the Arab peninsula. It comprises the Soctoran Army, Republic of Socotra Navy, and Republic of Socotra Air Force. It is seen as the guarantor of the country's independence. Diplomacy and Deterrence make up the basic fundamentals of the nation's philosophy of defense. The government spends 5.2% of the country's GDP on the military and one out of every nine euros of government spending is spent on defense. The National Board of Defense Developments provides technology necessary to equip the military. The small size of the population has also affected the way the SAF has been designed, with a small active force and a larger number of reserves.

Socotra has conscription for all able-bodied males at age 19, except those with a criminal record or who can prove that their loss would bring hardship to their families. Males who have yet to complete pre-university education or are awarded an exceptional ordinance can opt to defer their draft. Women are not allowed to join the SAF. Before induction into a specific branch of the armed forces, recruits undergo at least 10 weeks of basic military training.

Training activities such as live firing and amphibious landings are often carried out on islands, typically barred from civilian access. This also avoids risk to the main island and the city. Large-scale drills are performed on the main island. Training is also held in eight other countries. In general, military exercises are held with foreign forces once or twice per year.

The Army of the Republic of Socotra is compromised of 36,000 personnel, 200 tanks and 830 other vehicles. There are three Army bases and four training facilities throughout the territory of Socotra. The main training and basic recruiting base is located in Qashio, west of Centronom. The headquarter base of Socotra's Army is located in Hadibouh, east of Centronom. The third military base is situated in Jo'oh, east-southeast of Hadibouh.

The Air Force of the Republic of Socotra consists of 12,500 personnel and is being developed to respond to a wide range of issues, in both conventional and unconventional warfare. The Republic of Socotra Air Force has two national bases at their disposal, one of them near Centronom. The RSAF's 110 and 120 Squadrons are based in the Republic of Socotra Air Force Base near Centronom and the 130, 140 and 150 Squadrons are based in base near Qalansiyah. Altogether, the Republic of Socotra Air Force are equipped with 100 air craft, of which 97 are F-22 Raptors and 3 Tupolev Tu-160 bombers.

The Navy of the Republic of Socotra is compromised of 40,000 personnel, four submarines, seven aircraft carriers and 24 other warships. Primary assignment in peacetime is to prevent illegal immigration and to fight in the nearby Gulf of Aden.

Demographics[]

Green Mosque in Centronom

As of 2014, the population of the Republic of Socotra is 2.75 million people, of whom 2.33 million (85%) are citizens while the rest (15%) are permanent residents or foreign workers/students. Eight percent of Socotran citizens were born outside the Republic of Socotra (i.e. foreign born citizens). There are 225,194 permanent residents in Socotra in 2014.

The median age of Socotrans is 28 years old and the average household size is 7.35 persons. Three out of five Socotrans live in urban districts while the rest dwells on rural areas.

The total fertility rate is estimated to be 3.8 children per woman in 2014. Socotra has one of the lowest unemployment rates among developed countries. The Socotran unemployment rate has not exceeded 5% in the past decade.

As of 2014, about 15% of Socotra's residents were foreigners, a medium high percentage in the global ranking.

Racial and Ancestry Groups[]

Centronom Shinjuku hanazono Shinto shrine

In 2014, the government census reports that 89.6% (2.264 milions) of residents were of Arabic, 3.2% (88,026) of Indian (predominantly of Tamil origin), and 3% (82,512) of Sub-Saharan African descent (predominantly from Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia) and 0.9% (24,753) of Egyptian descent, while Europeans (predominantly from Great Britain and Greece), Eurasians, Asians and other groups form 4.2% (95,551). Prior to 2012, each person could register as a member of only one race, by default that of his or her father, therefore, mixed-race persons were solely grouped under their father's race in government censuses. From 2012 onward, people may register using a new classification system, in which they may choose one primary race and one secondary race, but no more than two.

Religion[]

Saint John National Cathedral of Socotra

Exterior of Saint John's National Cathedral

Christianity is the most widely practized religion in Socotra, and the official state religion, with 88.2% (2.2 milions) of the resident population declaring themselves adherents at the most recent census. 50% (1 milion) of all Christians are Catholic, 14% (280,917) belong to an Orthodox church, 8.2% (180,446) are Assyrians, 5.8% (127,615) are Copts, 5% (110,037) adhere to the Syro-Malabar Catholic church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic church, 4.5% (99,003) Maronites, 2% (44,012) are Baptists and 1.2% (26,408) adhere to Pentecostal churches, and 9.3% (204,633) adhere to free and independent churches. The next-most practised religion is Islam (4.4%), Hinduism (1.5%), Jainism (1.2%), Sikhism (1%), Buddhism (0.4%), Shintoism (0.4%) and Mormonism (0.3%). 2% (45,502) followed religions other than the ones named before. 1% (22,764) of the population did not have a religious affiliation.

There are 56 Christian churches, three Christian monasteries (two Catholic, one Orthodox), seven mosques, one Hindu temple and two Hindu shrines, one Jain temple and three shrines, one Sikh temple and one shrine, one Buddhist shrine, one Shinto shrine, one Latter-Day-Saint temple and three community centers. The Saint John's National Cathedral in Centronom serves as national shrine of Socotra.

National Cathedral of Socotra

Interior of Saint John's National Cathedral in Centronom

Monastery-in-Qadub

Saint Basileus Greek Orthodox monastery

Languages[]

Socotra has two official languages: modern standard Arabic and English. Soqotri, the native dialect of Arabic, is an inofficial language. English is the common language of the nation and serves as the language of business, government, and the medium of instruction in schools. All government agencies and departments conduct their businesses in English, and official documents written in a non-English official language such as Arabic typically have to be translated into English to be accepted for submission. The Constitution of Socotra and all laws are written in English, and translators are required if one wishes to address the Socotran courts in a language other than English. However, English is the native tongue for only one-tenth of all Socotrans. Fifteen percent of Socotrans cannot read or write in English.

Many, but not all, Socotrans are bilingual in English and Arabic, with vastly varying degrees of fluency. The official languages ranked in terms of literacy amongst Socotrans are English (85% literacy) and modern standard Arabic (75% literacy). Socotran English is based on British English, and forms of English spoken in Socotra range from "Standard Socotra English" to a pidgin known as "Songlish".

Arabic is the language that is spoken as the native tongue by the greatest number of Socotrans, almost three-forth of them.

The government discouraged Socotran citizens from speaking Soqotri due to its almost outdated character in a modern world. Due to these circumstances, Soqotri was not introduced as an official language and is primarily used in remote areas and on the islands of the Republic of Socotra.

Infrastructure[]

Education[]

Education for primary, secondary, and tertiary levels is mostly supported by the state. All institutions, private and public, must be registered with the Ministry of Education. English is the language of instruction in all public schools, and all subjects are taught and examined in English except for the Arabic language paper. In Socotra's education system, Arabic is used as the second language, as English is the first language.

Education takes place in three stages: primary, secondary and tertiary education. Only the primary level is compulsory. Students begin with six years of primary school, which is made up of a four-year foundation course and a two-year orientation stage. The curriculum is focused on the development of English, Arabic, and maths. There are five standard subjects taught to all students: English, Arabic, mathematics, science and religious education. Religious education is only compulsory for those students who are Christians. The focus in regards of religious education is on Christian core matters such as the Bible; denominational differences are not addressed, but have to be taught by the cognizant denomination the student belongs to. Secondary school lasts from four to five years and is divided between Special, Normal (Academic), and Normal (Technical) streams in each school, depending on a student's ability level. The basic coursework breakdown is the same as in the primary level, although classes are much more specialised. Some schools have a degree of freedom in their curriculum and are known as autonomous schools. These exist from the secondary education level.

National examinations are standardized across all schools, with a test taken after each stage. After the first six years of education, students take the Primary School Leaving Examination, which determines their placement at secondary school. At the end of the secondary stage, exams in four to six subjects are taken, depending on what career field the student desires to pursue. These exams are also mandatory to apply for access to any university in the Republic of Socotra. Students who wish to study History or Archeology at university have to take exams at History, English, Arabic and another subject of their liking. Someone who wishes to study Human Medicine at the uni has to take exams in Sciences, Mathematics, Biology, English, Arabic and another subject of their liking, for example. Exams are taken both written and orally in the last two weeks of the last year of school. All exams have to be passed with a percentage of at least 60%. Qualification percentage for a successful application to any university in the country require a percentage of at least 90%.

The country's two main public universities are the Makalaure University of Centronom and the Farrin University of the Republic of Socotra. Both of them also provide education in their joint partnership institution, the Great University of Socotra in Centronon, located in the south of the capital.

Health[]

Chinese-New-Year-Festival-Socotra

Chinese New Year Festival in Centronom

Socotra's healthcare system is generally efficient, even with a health expenditure relatively low for developed countries. In general, Socotra has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world for the past decade. Life expectancy in Socotra is 78 for males and 83 for females, placing the country in the list of 30 nations of the highest life expectancy in the world. Almost the whole population has access to improved water and sanitation facilities. There are fewer than 10 annual deaths from HIV per 100,000 people. Moreover, there is a high level of immunisation. Adult obesity is below 15%.

The government's healthcare system consists of three major schemes and one subsidy scheme for those in need. There is a government-funded health insurance scheme, another government-funded safety scheme for those who could not afford healthcare otherwise and a compulsory health savings scheme covering almost 80% of the population. An additional subsidy scheme exists for those on low income. In 2012, 34.6% of healthcare was funded by the government. It accounts for approximately 4% of Socotra's GDP.

Interstate Speedways[]

Although speedways in the Republic of Socotra are not linked to other countries or state and can only be found on the main island of Socotra, government assigned them the official designation "interstate speedway". They usually have the highest speed limits in a given area. Universal speed limits on the speedways is 65 miles per hour or 105 km/h. There are five interstate speedways in Socotra. I-1 runs from Qalansiyah in the far west of the island to Mori in the central north. The I-2 runs from Mori to Ra's Momi in the far east of the island. I-3 runs from Dihamri in the north, located east of Hadibou, to Homhi and the Momi Plateau in the central eastern part of Socotra. I-4 is linked to I-2 and runs from south of Dihamri via Jo'oh to Zahaq. I-5 runs from Centronom in the north of the island to Steroh in the south of the island along the Dicksam Plateau and Wadi Daerhu. I-6 runs from Hahrinitin to Iswaq and connects the southern towns and villages of the island with each other.

Transport[]

Thaipusam in Socotra

Thaipusam Hindu Festival in Centronom

The number of private cars on the road is not restricted, but purchasing a private car is expensive since they have to be imported to the island of Socotra. Car buyers must pay for duties one-and-a-half times the vehicle's market value and bid for a Socotran Certificate of Entitlement (COE), which allows the car to run on the road for a period of seven years. Car prices are generally significantly higher in Socotra than in any other country surrounding Socotra and thus only two in ten residents own a car.

Most Socotran residents travel by foot, bicycles, bus, taxis and subway. One company runs the public bus transport system – the Socotra Transportation Authority (STA). There are three taxi companies, who together put out 9,500 taxis on the road. Taxis are a popular form of public transport as the fares are relatively cheap in comparison to other developed countries.

The Republic of Socotra has a road system covering 2,115 kilometres or 1314 miles, which includes 465 kilometres or 288 miles of interstate expressways.

There are two harbors on the island of Socotra and one smaller harbor on each of the inhabited smaller islands. Ferry services provide transportation lines between Socotra and Abd-al-Kuri as well as between Socotra and Samhah. These services are managed and provided by the Socotra Transportation Authority (STA) that takes care of all means of transport in the Republic of Socotra. On the island of Socotra, two harbors are located in Centronom's north-northeastern part of Mori and in Hadibou, located east of Centronom.

Socotra is an aviation hub for Northeast Africa. There is one international airport in Centronom and two smaller regional airport on the island of Socotra. The national airline, Socotra Airline, connects Socotra to 55 cities in 28 countries.

Culture[]

Foreigners make up 15% of the population and have a considerable influence on Socotran culture. Additionally to the national holiday, Socotra Day, each religious community has the right to celebrate festivals of their faith publicly, given they notify the government of the course of action they would like to take. Celebrating Saint Patrick's Day has become more popular as of late and foreigners also celebrate their national holidays such as Australia Day, Canada Day, Waitangi Day and Independence Day.

Languages, Religions, and Cultures[]

Baba ganoush and pita

Baba ganoush and pita bread

Socotra is a relatively diverse and young country. There are two major national languages, several religions, and cultures that are noteworthy for a country its size. Due to the many cultures, religions and religious denominations in the country, there is no single set of culturally acceptable behaviours although Arabic customs are common.

When Socotra became independent in 2010, some of her new citizens were uneducated laborers from India, China, Somalia and Ethiopia. Many of them were transient labourers who were seeking to make some money in Socotra and they had no intention of staying for good. A sizeable minority of middle-class, local-born people, known as the aboriginal Socotrans, also existed. With the exception of those aboriginal Socotrans who pledged their loyalties to Socotra, most of the laborers' loyalties lay with their respective homelands. After independence, the process of crafting a national Socotran identity and culture began.

Unlike many other countries, languages, religions and cultures among Socotrans are not delineated according to skin color or ancestry. Among Arab Socotrans, nine in ten are Christian, another one in ten is Muslim. One-third speak English as their home language, while half speak Arabic as their home language. The rest speak Socotri or other languages at home. Socotran Indians also count among the most religious group of people in country. Only 1% of them are atheists. Five in ten are Hindus, two in ten Muslims, and the rest are mostly Christians. Four in ten speak English as their home language, three in ten Tamil, one in ten Malay, and the rest other Indian languages as their home language.

Each Socotran's behaviors and attitudes would therefore be influenced by, among many other things, his or her home language and his religion. Socotrans who speak English as their native language tend to lean toward Western culture, while those who speak Arabic as their native language tend to lean more toward Arabic culture. Malay-speaking Socotrans tend to lean toward Malay culture, which itself is closely linked to Islamic culture. Those who speak Indian languages as their native language would probably lean more toward Indian culture.

Attitudes and Beliefs[]

Fattoush1

Fattoush, a traditional Arabic dish

Socotra, as a country, is conservative socially in general, but some liberalisation has occurred as of late. At the national level, meritocracy, where one is judged based on one's ability and work ethics, is heavily emphasized.

Racial and religious harmony is regarded by the government as a crucial part of Socotra's success and played a part in building a Socotran identity. The national plant of Socotra is the Dragon Blood Tree. Many national symbols such as the National Coat of Arms and the Catfish symbol make use of the catfish, as Socotra is known as the 'catfish country'. Public holidays in Socotra cover major Christian, Arabic, Western, Malay and Indian festivals.

Socotran employees work an average of around 43 hours weekly. Four in six Socotran employees surveyed stated that they take pride in doing their work well, and that doing so helps their self-confidence.

Cuisine[]

Socotra Art Colony

Artist Colony near Arsel

Dining, is said to be the country's national pastime, along with shopping and spending time with the family. Yemeni cuisine is widely spread. Like most other Arab cuisines, chicken and lamb are eaten more often than beef. Fish is eaten mostly in coastal areas. However, unlike most Arab countries, cheese, butter, and other dairy products are less common. As with other Arab cuisines, the most widespread beverages are tea and coffee; tea is usually flavored with cardamom or mint, and coffee with cardamom. Karakaden, Naqe'e Al Zabib, and diba’a are the most widespread cold beverages.

Although each region has its own variation, saltah is considered the national dish of Socotra. The base is a brown meat stew believed to be of Turkish origin called maraq, a dollop of fenugreek froth, and sahawiq. Rice, potatoes, eggs, and vegetables are common additions to saltah. It is eaten with flat bread, which serves as a utensil to scoop up the food. Other dishes widely known in Socotra include: aseed, fahsa, thareed, Samak Mofa, Lahm Mandi, fattah, shakshouka, shafut, biryani, and jachnun.

In popular culture, food items belong to a particular ethnicity, with Chinese, Malay, and Indian food clearly defined. However, the diversity of cuisine has been increased further by the "hybridisation" of different styles (e.g., the Socindian, a mixture of Socotran and Indian cuisine).

Arts[]

Centronom Football-Stadium

Centronom's Al-Aden Football Stadium

The government has been promoting Centronom as a center for arts and culture, in particular the performing arts. One highlight was the construction of the National Center for Performing Arts that opened in October 2012. The national orchestra, Socotra Symphony Orchestra, plays at the Opera of Centronom, located nearby the government district in the center of the capital. The annual Socotra Arts Festival is organized by the National Arts Committee.

An independent artist colony can be found at the Eastern shore of the island of Socotra, located near Arsel. Sixteen painters, musicians, song writers, novelists and writers as well as sculptors give of themselves to their creative work there.

Sports and Recreation[]

Popular sports include football, basketball, cricket, swimming, sailing, table tennis and badminton. Most Socotrans live in public residential areas not afar from amenities such as public swimming pools, outdoor basketball courts and indoor sport complexes. Permanent residents and citizens of Socotra can request a General Ticket of Admission for all recreational and sports complexes. The yearly ticket costs €80 for each citizen; children under the age of 16 can get them for €20, pensioners for €60.

Water sports are popular, including sailing, kayaking and water skiing. Scuba diving is another popular recreational sport.

Socotra's football league, the Soc-League, formed in 2011, currently comprises five clubs of which the most notable are the Socotra Cormorans in Centronom. The Socotra Football Association (SFA) is a member of FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation, and the national team participates in it.

Media[]

Companies linked to the government control much of the domestic media in Socotra. SocMediaCorp operates the three free-to-air television channels and the four free-to-air radio stations in Socotra. The channels are Channel 1 (English channel), Channel 2 (Arabic channel) and Channel 3 (English channel). Centronom Cable Vision (CCV) also offers cable television with channels from all around the world. Socotra Press Administration, a body with close links to the government, controls the three newspapers in Socotra.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) regulates Socotran media with the claim to balance the demand for choice and protection against offensive and harmful material. Private ownership of TV satellite dishes is frowned upon, but not banned. Television is partially censored, and shows that thematize or address religious and sexual topics are banned. There are 1.5 million users of the internet in Socotra. The Socotran government does not engage in widespread censoring of the internet, but it maintains a list of one hundred and fifty websites that it blocks as a symbolic statement of the Socotran community's stand on harmful and undesirable content on the Internet. The government block covers only home internet access; listed websites may still be accessed by offices in corporations.

Political System[]

The President is head of state, however, his primary duty is to accept or refuse proposals that are forwarded to him by the Committee of the Thirteen Tribes of Socotra. The President has to be nominated by the Committee but must not be a present or a former member of the Tribal Committee. The President is nominated for life time but has nonetheless the right to retire. Seven voices of thirteen are sufficient to appoint him. If there aren't seven voices for one candidate, it is considered adequate to elect the candidate with the most members of the Committee behind him; a majority is not necessary if most Committee members remain undecided or can't find a compromise. A legal Committee member has to be a member of the tribe he was elected for and represents his or her tribe's political issues. Everything regarding the nation is decided by the Committee. Tribe members are welcome to ask their representatives within the Committee to decide about petitions, proposals and lawsuits. Amendments may be added to the Constitution of the Republic of Socotra if a referendum is submitted to the Committee of the thirteen tribes; if said referendum is proposed to the President and approved of by him, the referendum becomes an amendment to the constitution.

Presidential Palace-Centronom

Presidential Palace

Alcohol Policy[]

Quite unlike Arabic countries north of Socotra, alcoholic beverages are not banned. Wine is used in religious ceremonies of most Christian denominations. Beer, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages may also be purchased in supermarket or grocery stores. State-controlled liquor stores do not exist. Requirement to purchase such beverages is an ID that proves that its proprietor is 21 years of age which is the legal age for drinking. Drinking alcoholic beverages in public is frowned upon, but not banned. Almost all alcoholic beverages have to be imported which makes these products almost as expensive as in Northern European countries. There is a universal luxury tax of 20% on all alcoholic beverages purchased in Socotra.

Federal law requires citizens not to provoke religious feelings of other citizens which means that drinking alcohol close to buildings of religious communities that forbid alcoholic beverages are a punishable crime. Fines, therefor, amount from €500 to €15,000 if a citizen or permanent resident trespasses against this law in such manner. Tourists are usually asked to refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages near such religious buildings and are reprimanded strongly.

Capital Punishment[]

Altogether, there are 14 punishable crimes that may be result in a culprit being sentenced to death which is the maximum penalty in the Republic of Socotra. The crimes with such harsh possible punishment are: culpable homicide, aiding and abbetting of culpable homicide, terrorism, aiding and abbetting of terrorism, treason, aiding and abbetting of treason, human trafficking, aiding and abbetting of human trafficking, disturbance of the peace in an aggravated manner, consumption of drugs according to the law against illegal drugs, violation of religious feelings in an aggravated manner, forcible rape, aiding and abbetting of forcible rape, illegal immigration and aiding and abbetting of illegal immigration.

Convicts can select one of three different modes of execution. If the convict belongs to the active military, he may be executed by firing squad. If the convict is of Arabic origin, he may be executed by saber. The standard mode of execution is death by hanging. Executions are performed on publicly accessible places of execution. Executions may be boradcasted if it is of public interest. Permanent residents who commited a criminal offense that is worthy of receiving a death sentence are deported to their home nations, and all their possessions in the Republic of Socotra except the clothes they wear are being confiscated. Additionally, there is a lifetime entry ban for such people. In case of contravention, they are deported again. Reversal of a verdict is impossible as the highest law principle requires all evidence to be sufficient to come up for judgment. If there is evidence that a passed verdict was unlawful, then the judge who passed the sentence may receive the same verdict he passed. Appeals against any judgment are utterly out of the question.

Elections[]

Voting has been compulsory in Socotra since 2010 and there is universal suffrage for all citizen who were not convicted of any criminal offense at the time of elections. The legal voting age is 21. The Elections Department of Socotra is responsible for the planning, preparation and conduct of Committee elections and of any national referendum in Socotra that is conducted before it will be passed to the Committee of the thirteen tribes of Socotra who decide and discuss the referendum before letting the president decide on the matter. The Elections Department of Socotra is controlled by both the members of the Committee and the President.

Every citizen receives a so-called Standardized Citizen Registration Number (SCRN) when they are born or receive them when becoming citizens of Socotra. The SCRN is necessary for all e-government business via internet and for accessing the election website where one can vote online. Citizens who do not have access to the internet will be visitted by a mobile voting committee consisting of three government officials in order to vote via paper ballot. Paper ballots and the results of e-voting are stored in USB hubs and store rooms in the Supreme Court of Socotra in Centronom for two weeks. Afterwards, all records are being destroyed or deleted.

Elections are being held in order to elect the thirteen Committee representatives of the Republic of Socotra who represent the interests of their tribes in the government. Elections for the Committee representatives are held annually on February 21. All high government offices are distributed among the members of the Committee who officate as Prime Minister, Minister of Education and so on. Distribution of these offices follows a scheme with exception of the offices of the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Finance; the Rethmil tribe is automatically assigned the office of Minister of Finance and the tribe of Homrath is automatically assigned the office of the Minister of Defence due to historical reasons and their experience with these matters.

The representatives of the thirteen tribes may select a President they consider appropriate to assume office for the good of the Republic. Once appointed by the representatives, a President may serve for lifetime.

Foreign Relations[]

The Republic of Socotra's foreign policy is directed to maintaining a secure environment in their part of the Indian Ocean. An underlying principle is political and economic stability and sovereignty in the region. It has diplomatic relations with surrounding nations that are part of the community of nations of the GPA. Socotra also maintains membership in the GPA and the European Union. Former diplomatic relations were directed towards nations of the NPO, TIO and MI6. Most of these relations were the result of the former membership to these communities; these ties do no longer exist, however.

In general, bilateral relations with other GPA members are strong. Some previous disputes with other nations have been resolved by the International Court of Justice. Piracy in the Gulf of Aden is a major cause of concern.

Human Rights[]

The government and its security forces are known for a zero-tolerance policy on criminality and illegal immigration. Extrajudicial executions are considered a common measure to deter illegal immigrants from setting foot on Socotran territory. Criminals and suspects are subject to arbitrary searches of homes. Freedom of speech, the press and media as well as religion are all restricted by government censorship. Journalists who tend to be critical of the government might be put on a black list and are subject to receive an employment ban within the Republic of Socotra.

People accused of supporting religious extremists may be arrested at any given time. Socotran authorities reportedly deported illegal immigrants without giving them access to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, despite the UN's repeated requests, or they were court-martialed and executed on the spot. Refugees are considered illegal immigrants by the government and refugee camps are not allowed. Supporting of illegal immigrants is a punishable offense and will result in offenders being arraigned. If found guilty, permanent residents may be deported, while citizens may face the death penalty.

Secret Services[]

There are two Secret Services in the Republic of Socotra. The Presidential Guard consists of 100 personnel, responsible for protecting the President and his family as well as to detect and eradicate possible hazards. Only current or former persons in military service of the Republic of Socotra are eligible for either being invited or applying to the Presidential Guard. Applicants must be 25 to 45 years of age, have to spend three months in a facility outside of the capital for basic training purposes and then another six months in various facilities and outposts to specialize for their future duties. Physical and mental fitness are a must for this job.

The second Secret Service, the Scimitar-al-Soqotra, consists of an unknown amount of personnel. Scimitar is tasked with performing operations inside the Republic of Socotra and outside, gathering information and analyzing whatever piece of information might be useful for the security of the state. Organized in teams of four persons, Scimitar makes up the eyes and ears of the Republic around the globe. Usually, the identities of the members of such team are entirely unknown to the other teams and their members. Only the Director of the Scimitar calls information regarding the identities of the people involved his own. Scimitar only holds accountable to the President.

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