Normally, the staff of foreign posts are forced to walk a difficult line of political neutrality or benignness with their choice of profession. It’s just a fact of life for many diplomats that they must hold their tongues on certain matters and choose their words carefully to avoid any embarrassing or uncomfortable situations between their homeland and their host nation. But what happens when a member of a foreign mission decides to speak out about a local issue on their own?
Well, the administrators of the Eirian consulate in Suyang, Haesan, are now facing this question head on after a member of their staff spoke to the Bay Street Review about their position on the recent labor protests in Sinhan Province. Mikelis Lukar, a 28 year old Deputy Officer in the Eirian Foreign Service, reportedly reached out to a journalist from the Review after reading about the hundreds of arrests made during the Seoyeon factory strike.
“The Stendē administration needs to consider its confidence in the current Haesanite government. Granted, we need all of the democratic allies that we can get right now. But how much of a democracy can a nation be if it oppresses peaceful protests, values the voices of business more than those of its people, and keeps workers from advocating for their own safety? Eiria cannot stand by and call Haesan a friend while the latter is so hostile towards important democratic values.”
After Lukar’s statement was published, the Eirian consulate in Suyang announced that he had been put on an indefinite suspension pending an investigation of his actions. Both the Eirian Ambassador to Haesan Amelija Krēn and the Suyang Consulate’s Director Karlis Jumars declined to comment on the situation, directing any further questions to the Ministry of Diplomacy’s Office of Accountability and Inspection. It is unknown if this unexpected indiscretion will result in Lukar’s release from the Foreign Service, but no doubt it will at least cause a reassignment.
While the labor protests in Seoyeon weren’t extensively televised outside of Haesan, these comments by an Eirian consulate worker have thrust the issue into the international spotlight. In particular, the issue will pose a significant threat to Chancellor Leah Stendē’s foreign policy portfolio. With just over a week out from the national election, labor issues and foreign affairs (two areas that Stendē and the Unity Alliance have previously had the advantage in) are now up for debate. And in a nation such as Eiria, where labor rights and democratic diplomacy have played a key role in the national history, these issues could easily change the course of races across Eiria. However, only time will tell just how much this incident will change the minds of voters.