[LMB] : Political Discussion

Tel teldreaming at gmail.com
Sun Jan 30 04:07:19 GMT 2011

On Sat, Jan 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM, Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com> wrote:
> I was re-reading Komarr yesterday, and came across a tiny part that
> hadn't jumped out at me on first reading.
> In Chapter 17: "The station had undergone modification and enlargement
> during the period of the Cetagandan invasion; Komarr had granted the
> ghem lords right of passage in exchange for massive trade concessions
>  throughout the Cetagandan Empire and a slice of the projected profits of
> the conquest, a bargain it later came to regret."
> Now, I was thinking that the Komarrans were paid a bribe by the Cetas
> for passage through to Barrayar. But this puts a totally different complexion
> on it all.
> Komarr didn't take a bribe and stand back to allow the invasion to happen.
> Komarr was a partner in the whole event. Taking a slice of the profits puts
> them right in it with the Cetas. The Ghem were the muscle, Komarr were
> the facilitators, and they split the proceeds. This wasn't just a bribe to look
> the other way. They were part of it all, eagerly waiting for the profits to
> come in.

The occam's razor way to read this is:

Komarr let Cetagandan military ships through as part of a free trade
agreement when they were not previously permitted to cross the system.
Komarr charged this for the privilege like any other ship going
through. (taking a cut)
So basically military right of passage, of the sort we see Barrayar
negotiating with all sorts of worlds.

Miles's version is the Barrayar-framed narrative. I take it about as
seriously as the Barrayar-framed narrative of Escobar.

There is a question of what the consequences of Komarr saying no would
have been. How coerced was this arrangement?

It is also important to note that the government at the time Barrayar
invaded was not the same government, because sixty years had passed
since that decision had been made. And that the invasion was made
after forty years of peace.

> Otherwise, the only resource is the people. Slave labour, sent throughout
> the empire.

I'm not saying the Cetas don't practice slavery, because they do in an
elite, specialized way with the ba. But assuming the Barrayarans were
intended to be mass-enslaved is going a bit far. The Cetas controlled
Barrayar for twenty years, and so far as we know zero off-planet human
shipment occurred in that very long period of time. It's the sort of
thing that would have been mentioned.

> Komarr fared way  better under Barrayar than anything they had planned for
> their Barrayaran victims. Complete on-planet rights, their own local government
> systems still in place, and the right to lobby and complain for more federal
> funding without fear of reprisals.

Uhhh... this is excessively rosy in a lot of ways.

Can they vote ImpSec off the planet? Can they vote Barrayar off the
planet? Can they control their own natural resources?

Well, no.

Is advocating these things in a way oppositional to the regime viewed
as legitimate? Is it safe to do so?

Probably not, I'd bet.

Does this have huge free speech-restricting consequences: abso-frigging-lutely.


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