Articles

Bir Tawil – the land that nobody wants


JAY: Welcome to Map Men.
MARK: We’re the men,
JAY: And here’s the map. (♪♪♪) Map Men, Map Men
Map Map Map Men, Men JAY: Today’s map is of the disputed border between Egypt and Sudan. MARK: “Sud-arn”.
JAY: Sudan. In particular, this bit here called “Bir Tawil”. MARK: A bit of land the size of London which nobody wants. JAY: As with many badly drawn borders, it starts with the British. MARK: So we’ll draw a line here in the middle of the desert ignoring all tribal boundaries because we own this place anyway so I don’t really see it being a problem Can I please have a sandwich? JAY: It turns out the British got very good at drawing straight lines, seemingly unaware of all the trouble they were to cause. *Screaming and explosions* JAY: But, once a line’s been drawn, that’s final, right?
MARK: Unright. 3 years later, in 1902, the British drew a new line to better reflect cultural differences. JAY: We should never have drawn that straight line. I can assure you the man who drew that line has been shamed. MARK: So now there were two borders. A straight one, and a squiggly one. JAY: And here came the problem. This area, known as the Hala’ib Triangle was valuable and both sides wanted to control it. So Egypt claimed the straight line,
MARK: And Sudan claimed the squiggly line. The side effect? If either side claimed Bir Tawil, they’d have to give up the Hala’iiiiiiib Triangle. JAY: It remains the only disputed territory in the world were both sides insist it’s not theirs. MARK: So… we could just go and claim it?
JAY: Technically, yes. In 2014, an American named Jeremiah Heaton, traveled to Bir Tawil and claimed it for himself so that his 7 year old daughter could fulfil her dream of being a real princess. “Ain’t nothin’ more important that my daughter’s happiness, and now she’s got everything she ever wanted, isn’t that right sugarplum?” *cough* So, due to the value of the Hala’iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiib Triangle, Bir Tawil, with literally nothing in it, is internationally recognised as Terra Nullius. MARK: And although many people have tried to claim it, including worryingly Google, A lack of UN recognition,
JAY: Or indeed any kind of recognition from anybody,
MARK: Has left these claims as hollow as this globe. *punch* Goodbye. (♪♪♪)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *