In the process of compiling notes for the biography of my mother, I came across this document in the palace archives. It’s a piece of homework I turned into my tutors in 163 AG, concerning a number of important diplomatic agreements made since the end of the Hundred Year War. I took the liberty of appending some rather arch notes I wrote about each entry at the time. If nothing else, it is an amusing indicator of the false certainty in youth regarding complex matters.
If you would want to cite this, and spirits know why, the correct format would be: Ursa. (163 AG). An Overview of Important Diplomatic Agreements in the Wake of the Hundred Year War. Fire Nation Royal Palace, Caldera City.
In 100 AG, Fire Lord Zuko officially declared an end to the Hundred Year War during his coronation, although fighting had already mostly ceased in the uncertain week between the passing of Sozin’s Comet and the ceremony. The Fire Lord pledged the full and unilateral withdrawal of Fire Nation forces from the Earth Kingdom and made initial indications that the Fire Nation would look to pay reparations. This proclamation was made side-by-side with Avatar Aang.
I cannot believe the tutors are making me write ‘Fire Lord Zuko this’ ‘Fire Lord Zuko that’ for Agni’s sake he’s my grandfather! But no, apparently that’s not dignified enough. Ugh. Sure, when I was first learning about all this I guess, but I’m 14 now. Great-aunt Azula was taking over cities at my age (not that I want to take over cities) (obviously) (okay it might be cool) (Mom said it was not the done thing any more).
Anyway. The Proclamation is interesting because it’s pretty vague and unspecific. I guess that’s not a surprise, grandfather wanted to leave himself room for negotiation, but still. The fact he associated it so directly with Avatar Aang was very bold. I have to say though some of the wording is pretty sappy. ‘A new era of love and peace?’ who came up with that? Did Ty Lee write this? He got grumpy in that funny way of his when I asked, and grandmother just laughed at him.
The Jasmine Accords
The Jasmine Accords, concluded in the closing months of 100 AG, were the official peace agreement signed between the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom. The negotiations were conducted in Ba Sing Se and formalised the processes for withdrawal of Fire Nation troops and set agreed levels for reparations. The Accords also led to the creation of the Harmony Restoration Movement, intended to resettle Fire Nation colonists back to the home islands.
You know how it’s the Jasmine Accords because the jasmine is the flower of love and peace and stuff? I’m pretty sure it’s actually because they did all their negotiating in great-great-uncle Iroh’s tea shop – the Jasmine Dragon? Coincidence? I think not!
The tea must have gone to their heads because the Accords were pretty silly in places. Sure, withdrawals and reparations made sense – although that latter one definitely got the political class at home all angry, for Agni’s sake you can still see the scorch marks from the last assassination attempt. But the Harmony Restoration Movement? Uprooting communities that had lived in places for decades, nearly a century? Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid and if I were in charge it would never have happened. And worse! Evacuating the bulk of the armed forces from these communities made them feel unprotected and gave rise to a whole bunch of militia groups. Ridiculous. Absurd.
The Yu Dao Declaration
Following the Yu Dao Crisis in 101 AG, Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei, under arbitration from Avatar Aang, agreed to independence for a number of Fire Nation colonies in the northern Earth Kingdom, most notably Yu Dao. This declaration led to significant dissent in both countries, ameliorated by public diplomacy from Avatar Aang.
So, I’m not saying that this whole crisis was bone-headed idiocy. But also. It was. And I’m allowed to say it because on one side was my grandfather and the other Earth King Kuei who I think everyone knows was…unsuited to the burdens of royalty. Hah! Look at that turn of phrase. Shame I can’t actually submit these notes to the tutors. Or let mom see them, probably.
Of course, the Earth Kingdom had grievances with the existence of the colonies, that makes sense. And there needed to be some compromise. But the Earth King let his hand be forced by irregular militia (the Gaipan freedom fighters, I think? Though what they were doing in Yu Dao I have no idea), which meant we had to move some troops into the area, but instead of trying to calm tensions, we went in with a strong military approach just a year after pledging peace?
And then. And then! We decided to let a whole bunch of cities become independent, without any kind of extensive discussion, just because one group of pro-independence militia fought for Yu Dao. What kind of process is that? The whole affair just further enshrined violence as the principal means of change, undermining grandfather’s whole reform agenda, and lost to us a great number of citizens who might have remained part of the nation in some sense. Ugh. I’m going to have to throw some knives at something when I’m done with this.
Conventions on the Protection of Innocents and Respect for the Dignity of the Human Person (Cranefish I)
In 105 AG, Avatar Aang convened world leaders from all nations to agree to certain standards in the prosecution of war and governance. After nine months of talks, the Conventions on the Protection of Innocents and Respect for the Dignity of the Human Person – also known as the Cranefish Conventions or Cranefish I for the location of their negotiation – were signed.
This represented an important step forward in the creation of international laws. The Conventions explicitly barred the deliberate targeting of civilians, the use of torture, prohibited practices such as bloodbending, and affirmed the protected status of spiritual sites; a precedent later used as part of the Qel’a Protocol.
This was a good thing. I know great-aunt Azula scoffs at it, but I think that’s just because she likes to annoy grandfather. He gets all soppy when he thinks about it, probably because it was one of Avatar Aang’s most lasting achievements after the end of the war. It’s a shame that Avatar Aang died so young. I met him a few times when I was small, and I’ve got a vague impression – saffron robes, warmth, a bison trying to lick me. He seemed kind, and the way mom and grandfather speak about him suggests he was. It would have been nice to know him better. I know Avatar Korra is training in the South Pole at the moment. Maybe we could be friends? (I mean, she’s nine years old right now…so maybe give it some time). Also, I have to say this acronym is awful.
Rikori Joint Agreement
In 116 AG, delegates from Yu Dao, Haiza, Zaran and a number of other former Fire Nation colonies met secretly in the village of Rikori. There, they agreed to set aside their differences and form the United Republic, which would bring them together as a new nation. The announcement, and unification, was well-received domestically, but sparked outrage in Ba Sing Se; outrage only exacerbated by statements of public approval made by certain Fire Nation officials. Earth King Kuei disclaimed war as an option of redress, but as we now know, hardliners within the Earth Kingdom military disagreed.
I can’t fault the United Republic cities for doing this. It makes sense, given their position, common culture, linked economies and so on. But I have to say that of course it would lead to political concerns and tensions. A scattering of disunited former colonies wasn’t an issue for Ba Sing Se – a new, contiguous nation, certainly was. I just don’t think there was sufficient planning in place for this, I really don’t. Especially since that first government was dominated by citizens of Fire Nation extraction. You don’t need to be a Grand Lotus to join the dots.
The Haiza Compromise
In 117 AG, anti-Republic and anti-Fire Nation riots broke out in the city of Haiza, particularly in the eastern districts, at the border of the Republic and Earth Kingdom. Local police lost control of the situation and Earth Kingdom troops moved in, claiming a duty to protect citizens.
United Republic forces, including Chief Beifong’s metalbending and chi-blocking police, were dispatched – leading to clashes in the streets. Only the arrival of Avatar Aang and rumoured White Lotus involvement avoided a major conflict. Subsequent investigations revealed the riots to have been agitated by officers of the Earth Kingdom Army as a pretext for annexation.
The incident indicated a need to find a compromise settlement. Haiza itself was partitioned between Earth Kingdom and United Republic jurisdiction. The United Republic consented to governmental reform which involved benders of all nations taking part in a ruling council, to avoid a perception of Fire Nation dominion. Meanwhile, the militia were set aside and regularised into the United Forces, which drew on personnel from all nations to avoid its use as an offensive force in anything but the direst circumstance.
There’s something about partitions that world leaders really like, isn’t there? And the United Republic definitely came out the worse from it – look at those restrictions! I’m surprised there hasn’t been some kind of revolution. But the real thing is that something definitely happened with great-aunt Azula and Sokka here. She came back to Caldera from exile in 117, and the two of them were thick as thieves in the months after it; mom told me about it, but she didn’t say why. I know they were both in Haiza around then, but they haven’t told me anything more than that – Sokka even tapped his nose when he said that. Tapped his nose, can you believe this is the Chief of the Southern Water Tribe? Unbelievable. I’m going to figure it out. They can’t stop me.
Supplementary Protocol to the CPIRDHP Concerning Aerial Bombardment and the Rights of Settled Groups (Cranefish II)
In 144 AG, world leaders met to agree to an extension of the Cranefish Conventions regarding the use of airships to bombard targets, and to reaffirm that culturally distinct groups within a nation had the right to representation and protection. This meeting, convened by Avatar Aang, but mediated in part by his son Master Tenzin, was the result of the newly ascended Queen Hou-Ting’s actions against the Foggy Swamp waterbenders in 143 AG. The Fire Nation was represented by Crown Princess Izumi, as Fire Lord Zuko was detained with mediating an issue with the Saowon.
Hey, it’s mom! Apparently she hated every second of it because Hou-Ting is a louse. The agreement was only signed because she was being brutal anyway. Plus, mom said that she ate her dad’s pet bear. That’s terrible! The actual agreement was sensible and useful, and I can only support it.
The Qel’a Protocol
In 152 AG, the new heir to the chiefdom of the Northern Water Tribe, Unalaq, met with spiritual and government leaders in an attempt to strengthen protections for spirits. Citing the destruction caused by the spirit attack the previous year on Agna Qel’a, he warned that industrial expansion and military policy had to accommodate for them. Avatar Aang, in one of his last official engagements, attended in support – but practical implementation of the protocol has proven challenging.
I’m around by this point in history. But the archives don’t mention me. Very upsetting, I’m sure I had much to add as a three year old. Unalaq is pretty weird and his children are extremely weird but this seemed like a good initiative. A bit challenging to implement though, I would agree. I think that’s the problem with most agreements, in honesty.