Egbertalia was a peaceful country, apart from the huge
line dividing the two sections of Christianity straight
down the middle. Traditionally, the Catholics loved the
Protestants. The Protestants said they loved the
Catholics more, but the Catholics said that was a lie. How
dare the Protestants claim that the Catholics didn't love
the Protestants more than the Protestants loved the Catholics.
Graffiti started to appear on walls all over Egbertalia:
'WE'RE NOT FIT TO LACE YOUR BOOTS!'
'YOUR LOT FOREVER!'
'WE WILL NEVER WIN!'
'WE BOW TO YOUR SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE!'
When the Protestant and Catholic leaders met on a TV show
to try and quell the situation, each tried to hug and kiss
the other to prove that he loved his foe more than his foe
loved him. Eventually they were both arrested as they sprawled
around the television station floor, arguing:
“You're much better than me!”
“Rubbish! I'm not good enough to wipe your nose!”
People in the ghettos began to break their own windows and
vandalize their own property. They were convinced, after
years of brainwashing by their forefathers, that they weren't
worthy of living in the same town as their foes. A wall
had to be erected between the Catholic and Protestant estates,
to prevent the opposing factions from smothering one another
to death with too much cross-community love.
Protestants started marching in the name of 'Equality for
our Catholic betters'. But disapproving Catholic onlookers
formed a rampaging mob and began to throw stones at themselves,
ordering themselves to 'Get back home where we belong!'
The Protestant marchers rushed to their aid, and tried to
stop the furious Catholics from beating themselves up. The
leaders of the two main Churches went on television to appeal
for calm. In their struggle to show their followers which
one of them loved the opposing creed the most, the Archbishop
gave himself a black eye and the Cardinal broke his own
Protestant politicians proposed that all Egbertalian Protestants
be shipped back to Dongidonia where they belonged. In response,
Catholic politicians ordered their fellow Catholics to flee
the province and go to live across the border in the Egbertalian
Free State. Catholics began to cross the border in droves,
while Protestants bought one-way boat-tickets to Dongidonia.
Eventually the Egbertalian Free State put padlocks on its
borders to keep the Catholics out, and Dongidonia filled
the sea with flour, turning it into a thick, sticky mess
so that the Protestants couldn't sail across it. The Egbertalians
weren't allowed to leave their province, no matter how much
they wanted to fight for their enemy's rights.
Trying to please their Catholic neighbours, the Egbertalian
Protestants started to fly the Free State purple, pink,
amber and brown quadricolours from their bedroom windows.
In response, the Catholics began to fly the Dongidonian
red-and-yellow polka-dot skull-and-crossbones from their
In a desperate attempt to try and ensure that the Protestants
always maintained their majority, Catholic paramilitaries
began to indiscriminately shoot their fellow Catholics.
Their Protestant counterparts replied by shooting the Protestants,
trying to reduce their majority. Protestants turned out
in their thousands to mourn every time a Catholic was buried,
and the Catholics did likewise at Protestant funerals. It
had reached the point where every time a member of one community
died of natural causes, the opposing creed thronged the
streets and vowed swift and painful revenge upon themselves.
Both sides began to swat themselves like flies. It was
in their very blood. For generation upon generation, each
side of the sectarian divide had been brought up to love
the other side but to hate themselves. As an inevitable
result, the province changed religion en masse. All the
Protestants became Catholics, and all the Catholics became
Protestants. It was the ideal solution to an age-old problem.
After countless years of confusion, the whole population
of Egbertalia knew exactly where they stood. The formerly-Catholic
Protestants hated the Catholics, and the formerly-Protestant
Catholics hated the Protestants. Egbertalia was a happy
land at long last. Egbertalians were totally free to love
their neighbours, just as their beloved God had commanded,
as long as they didn't kick with the other foot (an Egbertalian
amendment to the ninth Commandment).
Alas, just like in the days of old, the self-proclaimed
philosophers had to go and ruin everything. They ask a searching
If the Catholics once hated the Catholics, and loved the
Protestants so much that they eventually became Protestants
themselves, and the Protestants who hated the Protestants
and loved the Catholics became Catholics, was it not intrinsically
true that each community was still really only hating itself,
in the transposed personification of its once-beloved enemy?
The question was unavoidable.
As a result, Egbertalia has now become a somewhat confused
land. Egbertalians aren't at all certain why they are actually
fighting with their fellow Christians, although most are
happy to know that there is probably a very good reason
for it…they just don't know what it is. Sometimes
it's best just to get on with your own daily life and continue
to harm who you are already harming, because if you ask
yourself too many questions, you may find that you don't
have any answers to explain why you do what you do. And,
after all, surely every sane man in Egbertalia would rather
lose a few members of his own beloved family and friends
to the bomb and the bullet as the price for the right to
cold-bloodedly murder a few innocent civilians from the
opposite branch of what is basically the same religion,
as opposed to the unthinkable alternative of no deaths on
either side of the Egbertalian community? Surely be to God
that is not too high a price to pay for a bit of fun?