Matbaa’s founding Zatriarch (head of state), Maximillideus, abdicated his throne on 4 June amid inactivity paralyzing the Syriac micronation, naming Sfeir Afudyakno, better know as Vilhelm von Benkern, as his successor. It now falls to the new Zatriarch to bring Matbaa back to life after struggle and decline since late 2006. For his part, Sfeir has promised to undertake a purge of inactivity during the forthcoming months and he will work to rebuild Matbaa’s foreign relations.
In his inaugural speech to the micronation, Sfeir praised his predecessor, noting that Maximillideus, who founded Matbaa on 2 December 2005, was a well-liked leader who gained Matbaa respect on the intermicronational stage and a significant force behind the micronation’s development and evolution. According to Sfeir, “[Maximillideus] was not an easy man to find fault with or dislike.”
Matbaa’s current bout of inactivity began in late 2006 when many of the original citizens left or became inactive. Even Maximillideus once considered ending Matbaa in a post to the Micronations.net community forums. Convinced to let it continue, macronational obligations slowly caused the first Zatriarch to join the rest of the inactive citizens, paralyzing the micronation. In April of this year, discussions were undertaken to chart a new direction for Matbaa, the result of which entailed the abdication in favour of allowing Sfeir to lead.
Sfeir’s primary goal in the early months of his Zatriarchy is to repair Matbaa’s foreign relations, with an emphasis on smoothing over relations with Antica. Relations with that micronation were strained by the actions of Maximillideus in a recent recreational war. Adamantly stating that “if we’re inactive … let’s deal with it rather than hide from it,” Sfeir has promised a purge of inactive government officials during the summer to open positions up for both new and active citizens. Inactive citizens will not lose their citizenship in the purge but instead be delegated to a lower status.
Matbaa will continue to be a major player in the Micronational Cartography Society as the Zatriarch has outright rejected any notion of joining the Geographical Standards Organization, noting that the micronation knows where its loyalties lie.