To Be or Not to Be, is there an answer?

Edward Taaffe
11 min readNov 19, 2021

Another little life who was not wanted, not important.

Who owns the earths crust and by whose authority does anyone claim the right to deny another?

Statehood, Citizenship and Human rights; the holy Trinity, how they are changing before our very eyes.

Statehood, some of us who say no to it.

For centuries, the Roma have faced hatred and mistrust as they roamed Europe stateless and homeless. At least they were free to roam, even if most of their journeys were away from something rather than towards anything.

Few humans have the mental strength to live a life in those circumstances and it’s a credit to their character that the rumours of petty crime supporting their persecution are largely untrue, tempting as it must be to take revenge much-less occasional necessities from an arrogant bourgeois.

Nobody, including the gypsies themselves, can recount with any sort of confidence why they live the life that they do or how they came to be that way. There’s plenty of examples of modern-day gipsies such as the Irish traveller communities that formed leading to and during the great famine of the 1840s and remained a race apart more or less. Similar stories can be found for Gypsies in different parts of Europe and of course there have always been gipsies giving up the road to settle, or to marry settled partners and leave it all behind. I’ve known and befriended a number over the years.

A pragmatic thinker would have to conclude that the “apartness” of the gypsy way is as much their sense of belonging to a way of life as it is the natural racism of those who make them feel uncomfortable and all that lies in between.

People have embarked on great migrations as far as archaeological record can stretch back and historically we have record of Genghis Khan’s epic travels to influence the ethnicity of Asia, Europe, Siberia, Iran and further from a start in Siberia. A pragmatic thinker, especially one equipped with some historical fact; would have no hesitation in assuming that the majority of such migrations began with extreme hardship such as famine, volcano, war or one kind of unavoidable misfortune.
Walls, borders, passports and even deeper hostility would seem to hold an ominous message today for what’s left of the Gypsy clans. Perhaps they are at least free of 24/7 surveillance until satelites become cheaper to launch.

The state is a fickle thing.

The best explanation I ever heard of statehood came from a children’s story told to Spanish children centuries ago and that explains kings and states.
It describes an ageing Knight who drinks too much and falls from his horse. When found by woodsmen he covered his embarrassment with a great tale of having survived an attack by a fearsome dragon over which he eventually prevailed.

The impressed woodsmen offered him a home, a salary and a choice of their daughters if he would keep them safe from dragons and thus began the first state. It then expanded by increasing the dragon attacks and selling their services over and over. (Ukraine, Palestine, Iraq, etc). Not a lot has changed in 1000 years.

People with a shared saviour or persecutor invariably share more and combined with geography, they develop a sense of belonging that; while attributed to place, is really more like the one enjoyed by their cousins from the ROMA or travellers i.e. more of an ethnogenesis and tempered by simple need for safety in numbers, something we know to be the key to a majority of human behaviours.
In reality the state more often begets ethnicity, while race is more complex when there are strong visual differences, or even religious ones, another source of ethnogenesis some would argue.

Geography became important when boundaries replaced dragons as the source of risk and the “raison d’etre” of government, be it elected, or born. In parallel, or sometimes at odds, religious empires compete with the state or they learn to live side by side.
Indeed, Europe relied until fairly recently upon the Pope to imply a sort of deity or superiority in royal families to strengthen their hands in return for freedom to run his own empire on Sundays and feast days.
After a short period of imperfect, but workable democratic election of leaders, we now have militarised states that control not only the media but social media that empowers them to manipulate emotions on top of the lies they’ve told and corral these same innocents jsut as surely as John Wayne corralled his cattle. The funds to support this corralling are provided a few dozen oligarchs who now hold the old dragon slayers to ransom.

The passport replaces smell and sound.

For now, at least, we haven’t quite matched the biometric test, though we are working on it. Members of the animal kingdom apart from modern humans use smell and sound more than sight to identify family and friends. If you want a motherless lamb to be adopted, roll him in the afterbirth of a new mum and she will generally accept him as hers. Even her maths fails at one, but her nose works. Today, we humans use social media to spread the scent we want spread and get the reactions we desire.

The Landlord as a Feudal dinosaur of the modern world.

We can’t immerse in a discussion about statehood, passports and rights without a comment on the earth, its ownership and it’s proprietorship.

As someone who was born into a farm that had been at least seven generations in a family that was at the heart of European history for centuries, I took these issues for granted. It was only when I moved into my first student bedsit that it all reality hit home.

I very quickly learned that every scrap of that city and indeed every other square inch of the planet is “owned” by someone. The majority, in land terms and in wealth terms is inherited and for those of us with nothing to inherit, we are gypsies by birth, if not ethnically.

Only by the grace of a kind banker who “owns” the right to print and lend money and a large income with which to pay the rent on that money, do we become “tenants” of a tiny space in which to hang our hat and sleep safely and only as long as our services are valued and our health stands up such that we can maintain that rent be it landlord rent or banker rent.

In any other case, we may, in 2021 at least, remain ethnically accepted, but we are no longer “of the place” and it can very quickly spiral.

Kenyan street child

The Lord of the land who is often born a lord of the land is now a reality for nearly all of the earth’s crust and 60% to 80% of homes and other property essential to life. So what is to become of the rest of mankind? Half of England is owned by less than 1% of its population and 30% of all wealth was inherited rather than earned. Then of course we can only guess at the numbers of foreigners who have bought British passports and live in multimillion pound mansions paid for via secret offshore accounts where a further £14 trillion of wealth is hidden.

The state as an excluder rather than an includor.

A person deprived of a home, much less a state, will no-longer have the right to lie down and sleep when tired, to eat food he/she come across growing, to drink water, or a whole range of things vital for survival, things we grew up taking for granted as basic rights. Mehran

Indeed; without an address, they won’t be able to vote, won’t have a bank account and can’t look for work, or get paid. That is surely a harsh sentence dished out to the very large and growing portion of society who are several steps ahead of refugees on the rights ladder. A sentence harsher than death hanging above their heads. That little boy in my picture didnt even get to argue.

Imagine now what it must be like to be also deprived of your passport and told you will be dumped on the other side of the boundary where you not only have no passport, but share no ethnicity either. Indeed, they may want to immediately kill you or imprison you in a compound. If young enough you will be preyed on by slave masters or pimps and if you have a little money, by traffickers selling you lies only to take what money you may have and dump you on a beach somewhere even more destitute than before, assuming that is, that you make it unlike the poor boy we see above.
Mehran Karimi Nasseri(8) was just one example.

The Landlord as a source of homelessness.

Even as the pandemic raged and evictions were generally banned, Councils in England were approached 274,000 times for homelessness assistance during 2020–21, with around 106,000 owed the “prevention duty” as they were at risk of homelessness, but not yet legally homeless.

These figures were largely a representation of the numbers involved in family breakups and losing the use of a friend’s sofa. As with many aspects of UK data just now, national figures have been made unusable by different metrics and rules between the nations that make variables non-comparable. I’m told it’s accidental.

The latest news on British homelessness is that the average salary, roughly covers the cost of a small flat in London with no heating, or a heated flat in the Midlands, but no food, or other necessities. That’s a combination of high housing costs and low income with which to fund those costs.

Rent controls don’t exist in UK and London landlords are currently finding excuses to evict tenants, keep their deposits and re-let at a 20% higher rent they can now achieve over last year’s rental rates. Dublin, Amsterdam and most European cities follow the same pattern. Blackrock bought vast swathes of US housing after the last crash and now are the worlds biggest landlord.
Rental in the UK is confined to “shorthold lets” a contract that empowers the landlord to evict at a month’s notice. Even Leaseholds, still use ancient Landlord tenant legislation and although unusual, evictions can and do still occur.

This doesn’t bode well.

If you’re wondering about the dynamics of property appreciation as I was, then here’s what I learned. Its ultimately the land, not so much the building that goes up in value. Building costs are quite a stable thing even with trades shortages. If a building burns down, it may be worth £500k. Replacing it costs £100k and now its value is restored to £500k. Alternatively, the site could have been sold for £400k

If you own land, then you will achieve little net gain from developing it over sitting tight and maintaining scarcity, at least not enough for all the trouble. Lobbyists and indeed Landlords in Westminster of which there are a great many and their counterparts in Local Authorities and Cities, can control building approvals to maintain the high values through scarcity and therefore drive constant appreciation in value independently of people’s means to pay. Meanwhile they can sit on their own development land and watch it appreciate. An acre of farmland valued at £10k is immediately worth £2.8m after rezoning. Not a bad evening’s work down at the lodge, or over at the gentlemen’s club. Why bother building on it? Purchasers from abroad, willing to pay for a passport as part of the deal are also plentiful and a lucrative niche.

Those who inherited the earth’s crust are free to exploit those who didn’t with neither boundaries, nor controls apart maybe from murder, for now at least. Where did we learn about this scenario before?

The scale of the stateless problem, 2017 -2023

I define stateless as driven out, or simply failed by the state of their birth.

68.5 million INDIVIDUALS were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, and scores of reasons by the end of 2017. Of these, 25.4 million were REGISTERED REFUGEES. 6,163 MIGRANTS lost their lives or went missing during migration.

Of these, 25 million were victims of ENFORCED SLAVE LABOUR. Some in British, European and American cities.

102.000 refugees were admitted for resettlement.

£5 TRILLION was contributed to the global economy by migrants in 2017.

In 2021, the figure is 84 MILLION forcibly displaced people worldwide. 68% ORIGINATE FROM JUST FIVE COUNTRIES:

Syria 6.8 million — War and western interference.

Venezuela 4.1 million — Democratic breakdown, climate change.

Afghanistan 2.6 millionWar including western interference.

South Sudan 2.2 million — War and climate change.

Myanmar 1.1 millionWar and ethnic cleansing, climate change.


Turkey 3.7 million

Colombia 1.7 million

Uganda 1.5 million

Pakistan 1.4 million

Germany 1.2 million

Of these five, only Germany would be thought of as a wealthy country.
Many who are busy building walls and arming coastguards were in-fact, the ones interfering in Syria and Afghanistan and directly causing some of the migration. Turkey has since suffered a terrible catastrophe via volcano and was largely abandoned and let-down by the international community.

4.3 million people are STATELESS.

We are on the cusp of a huge increase as entire states go under water and others become too hot for habitation.

“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

or to take arms against a sea of troubles

and by opposing end them.”

How likely is it that almost 70 Million people will decide to accept death as an alternative to fighting for what is their right?

It’s the equivalent of the population of UK rambling across the globe with either no state, or no state that they can safely return to.

They are locked out because:

  1. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or

2. perhaps because the earth’s crust was inherited by somebody else, or

3. because someone, elsewhere on the planet damaged the planets environment and destroyed the habitat they used to enjoy and called home.

I’ve always understood Shakespeare’s soliloquy to say:

Men are weak and tolerate a lot, but when pushed to a decision they’ll fight for survival. Too much thinking weakens them as does too much talking. Action can solve the problems swiftly, but deprives the actor of the pleasures of wallowing.

Here are some questions for you:

1. Where do you see the 70 million souls turning up next year, by then 80 million, or perhaps 90 million?

2. What will the lords of the earth’s crust eventually decide to do to defend their territory when they are forced into the open? Maybe they’ve already decided behind closed doors?

3. Are we capable of standing by and cheering while 100 million men women and children are mowed down for daring to demand their rightful patch of the planet they were born into? Are you?

4. How likely is it, if not already in place, that a dark power will unleash mass death to solve their minor inconvenience?

5. How long can we as a race; or as a nation, continue allowing inheritance of rights to the earth’s bounty and its very crust to go on orphaning new generations in UK or elsewhere?

6. As Hamlet put it,

is it better to bury our heads in the sand and accept death as inevitable, or to face our adversaries now and resolve it?

7. If we have talked too much already, then Is there really an alternative to tackling it?


Back to the first question.



Edward Taaffe

Ed is a technical consultant and writer in the areas of Digital and Products. He writes here on random subjects that catch the eye.