This is the final “full” entry in our “X-Men Foreign Policy” series, a dynamic look at the nuanced politics in the recent X titles. You can find part one here, part two here, part three here, part four here, part five here, or if you haven’t by now, the handy introduction guide.
In our last installment, we took a look at how previous oppression of a people may impact how their state will function once they have sovereignty and national agency. We will continue this question here, examining historical cases in which earlier persecution may result in retaliation against their oppressors and attempts to create reconciliation programs to right past wrongs.
First, we must first recognize that Krakoa is like no nation on earth. Unlike other countries, Krakoa is made up entirely of mutants. This is not simply because humans are not allowed to travel to the island, but that the Krakoan gates literally reject anyone who is not a mutant. Coexistence between mutants and Krakoa is currently not an option, unlike other states that have seen an oppressed people come to power and sharing government with their former oppressors.
In the 1990s, a number of wars were fought in Eastern Europe as once-Communist state of Yugoslavia dissolved at the end of the Cold War. One nation to win independence in this series of conflicts was Kosovo. Kosovar Albanians, the largest ethnic group in this new nation, were systematically discriminated against when the region was part of Serbia. Not long after the country gained independence, retaliation against alleged oppressors began by portions of the Kosovar community. Human Rights Watch notes:
“After a decade of repression that culminated in a three-month killing spree by the Yugoslav army and Serbian security forces and the expulsion and displacement of more than half of the ethnic Albanian population, most of Kosovo’s Albanians are finally able to live without fear of discrimination or violence by the Serbian state. Life is returning to Kosovo as refugees return from Macedonia and Albania. Yet for the province’s minorities, and especially the Serb and Roma (Gypsy) populations, as well as some ethnic Albanians perceived as collaborators or as political opponents of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), these changes have brought fear, uncertainty, and in some cases violence.”
Conflicts between the now ruling Kosovar Albanians and the Serb minority continues today, but there are signs that these past animosities are beginning to change. As of now, the mutants on Krakoa do not yet have human neighbors to reconcile with. Even if we did see a human population come to Krakoa to live, we can assume it would be made up of human supporters in the Marvel Universe (or the human children of the existing mutant population). Having said that, many mutant villains now live on Krakoa and have been welcomed as equals alongside more upstanding members of the community. One can imagine similar demands for retaliation and reparations being made against villains like Mr. Sinister and Apocalypse, as both men were literally responsible for the murder and torture of many of Krakoa’s citizens. Once the euphoria of independence ends, what will Krakoa do to right past wrongs done to its citizens by its supervillain element?
For younger members of Krakoan society, they might look to a program that has generated success in Kosovo called the Mitrovica Rock School. As Global Voices reports:
“Some of the joint inter-ethnic activities of the Mitrovica Rock School at first took place in Skopje, the capital of neighboring North Macedonia, as a safe and in a way ‘neutral ground’ where kids who usually didn’t venture on the other side of the river in their hometown felt safe to interact with their peers from the other community.
Despite such obstacles, the school has gradually succeeded in bringing together Albanians and Serbs, who rarely cross over to one another’s side of the city, to create music. Since its founding 12 years ago, the school can boast of hosting approximately 1,300 students, creating 49 multi-ethnic bands, organizing several well-attended concerts, and maintaining a sustainable program – all while enjoying the popularity of a multi-ethnic hub in Kosovo and beyond.”
With the upcoming Hellions book exploring how villains on Krakoa can be reformed, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a similar program may help the younger mutant villains to reintegrate with their more upstanding kin.
As for the likes of Sinister and Apocalypse, Krakoa might look to the success of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Having spent decades under racial apartheid, South Africa had its first democratic election to include black Africans in 1994, bringing Nelson Mandela and his party to political power. With decades of brutal and systematic abuse levied against its black citizens, South Africa created a public institution to tackle these abuses (via PRI):
“Over seven years, from 1996, some 2,000 people, perpetrators, and victims told their stories of what they’d done or what had been done to them, under apartheid. Over 7,000 perpetrators asked for amnesty; fewer than 1,000 got it. Those who did generally showed contrition, sometimes directly to family members of the people they’d killed.
All this testimony was broadcast live, and all around the country, people watched. Some wept. Some scoffed. Some knew these stories all too well. And some were hearing them for the first time.”
I find it unlikely that the likes of Sinister and Apocalypse have actually reformed, but a public discourse holding them accountable for their crimes against mutants may help bridge existing social divides. Krakoa’s own reconciliation council could go a step further and require that those who have done wrong to mutant kind commit themselves to servicing the community they have wronged. Without a public acknowledgment of previous wrongdoings, it seems likely that mutants on Krakoa will look for retribution against their oppressors.