Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!



I opened the latest issue (July 25, 2014) of THE WEEK and read a blurb in “It wasn’t all bad” about six-year-old Emily Heaton who asked her father if she could be a princess. Jeremiah Heaton “began scouring the globe for terra nullius, land unclaimed by any nation”—and found it. Heaton is one accommodating dad. He made a flag and secured the territory—an area of African desert between Egypt and Sudan. It’s now the Kingdom of North Sudan and Emily is its princess. Heaton’s “seeking official recognition from neighboring countries and the UN.”

Jeez, Emily must have a pony or two already, but Daddy’s set one impossible bar for Emily’s future satisfaction, whatever she covets, whether she chooses to be single or unites with either a man or a woman. Who could top this gift? Who’d care to try?

In his zeal to express love (?), to give Emily everything she wants (and maybe nothing she needs), Daddy Heaton may have used poor judgment.

Scenes of the Heatons at home are swirling in my mind:

“I WANT to go NOW,” screams Emily.

“But we can’t. I have to be in Miami.”

“Why is it YOUR ami? Why isn’t it My ami.”

“Please, Emily, you already have a kingdom.”

And there’s this consideration: What if resources necessary to American consumers are discovered in the Kingdom of North Sudan?

“Princess, we have a problem. Troops just toppled your statue.”

Okay, THE WEEK abbreviates these stories. I need to Google, for more–inquiring mind, you know. Yes, there’s a mommy, intact family. Emily has two brothers. And GET this: Emily’s parents have asked family members and friends to call their daughter Princess Emily. Don’t they realize someone’s going to beat the shit out of their daughter? That kids will be lining up to beat the shit out of their daughter?

Imagine Emily on the playground, “I’m a straight-A student AND a princess.” Yeah, she’s going to get the shit beat out of her.

My, my, this story truly is icky. On a different site, I saw Heaton’s explanation that he’d have “given the same answer if she had asked if she could be an astronaut or a doctor — because he wants his daughter to believe she can be whatever she wants.” I’m really struggling here, thinking about those two avocations, astronaut and doctor, that they require years of education, dedication. You can’t just stick a flag in a yard and suddenly have the expertise to perform a gastrectomy. Emily didn’t lift a finger to become a princess. Here’s a smidge of hope though. She wants her nation (800 square miles) to be a garden, to feed the starving, even though it’s a desert.

Oops, I’ve spotted an inconsistency: On one of the links, Daddy says he never calls Emily “princess” unless he’s asking her to do a chore, to “show there’s work accompanied with that title.”

Maybe like this:

“Princess Emily, help your mother iron my boxers.”

“No, that’s MAN-ual labor, and I’m a princess.”

Uh, oh, seems there’s controversy in planting that flag to claim ownership, particularly relevant in light of conflicts and casualties—today and throughout history—over land. According to Shelia Carapico, professor of political science and international studies at the University of Richmond, Heaton’s claim requires recognition by the other African nations or the United Nations. Furthermore, Carapico says it’s “not plausible for someone to plant a flag and say they have political control over the land without legal recognition.

But wait. I think I see the ulterior motive, more than a father’s display of love for his daughter: At the top of The Kingdom of Sudan’s flag is a star, representing Mrs. Heaton. At the bottom are three small stars, representing the Heaton children. And in the CENTER, there’s a crown, representing—drumroll, please … Jeremiah Heaton, the king. Yeesh. No wonder he purchased a $1600.00 plane ticket and traveled 8,000 miles to claim that terra firma. He’s the KING. Talk about enTITLEment. And now I’m wondering if King Jeremiah’s taken that pledge to protect Princess Emily’s virginity. Excuse me while I sleuth.

(I wrote an article about Gaza and the continuing carnage, ending with my wish for peace. It was ready for submission. Laura and Erma said no, insisted I lighten up. I. Am. Trying. But I’m horrified, anguished by the inhumanity.)

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
Lara Gardner
Why I’m Not Voting
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017