Battle lines

Kingdom of Dixit? Indian stakes claim to African territory, American says he already owns it

Suyash Dixit of Indore has christened a piece of land between Egypt and Sudan the ‘Kingdom of Dixit’. An American who got there before says he’s a ‘liar’.

On November 7, 24-year-old Suyash Dixit from Indore declared himself king of the “Kingdom of Dixit” – 1,290 square kilometres of unclaimed land between the borders of Egypt and Sudan called Bir Tawil.

Bir Tawil is literally “nobody’s land”. Its terra nullius status is a result of dispute over borders by the surrounding nations of Egypt and Sudan. Currently, the region remains unclaimed by every country and has no registered population.

Dixit, a businessman by profession, wrote in a Facebook post that he travelled from the Egyptian city of Abu Simbel to reach Bir Tawil, going through regions occupied by the Egyptian military where the army allegedly has orders to shoot trespassers on sight. Upon reaching Bir Tawil, Dixit planted sunflower seeds as a “traditional way to claim ownership of land”, according to the Times of India. Dixit has declared himself as the acting prime minister and head of military of the “Kingdom of Dixit” while his father is the acting president.

However, Jeremiah Heaton from Virginia, United States, who had got to Bir Tawil in 2014 and claimed it for himself as the “Kingdom of North Sudan”, has called Dixit “a liar” and claims and that the Indian did not actually reach Bir Tawil.

Heaton flew down to Africa three years ago with the express purpose of claiming Bir Tawil as a sovereign state and gifting it to his daughter Emily, then seven years old, as her kingdom because she always wanted to be a princess. Heaton claims to have set up embassies for his kingdom across the globe in the United States, Denmark, Lithuania and the Czech Republic in addition to drafting bill of rights for the territory. No government or international organisation has, so far, recognised the “Kingdom of North Sudan”.

Before Heaton, in 2011, journalist Jack Shenker visited Bir Tawil and placed a makeshift flag in the region though he did not make claims to the territory.

As Dixit’s story was being covered by major news outlets and websites in India, Heaton took to Twitter to debunk Dixit’s claims. Heaton wrote that Dixit could not have made the journey from Abu Simbel to Bir Tawil because the area is separated by Lake Nasser which cannot be crossed since there are no ferry services or a bridge.

Meanwhile, Twitter is slowly waking up to Heaton’s allegations, and people are pointing out that Dixit is not the first person to claim Bir Tawil for himself and that his declaration is not recognised by the international community. Scroll.in wrote to both Heaton and Dixit for comments.

Dixit responded by saying that he did travel to Bir Tawil but he would not share his exact route because he does not want to encourage others to repeat that journey. He said that he never took permission from the Egyptian military and he operated on insights given by the local Egyptian police.

He said he would reply to Heaton on Twitter. “...But I do not want to create any ill scene there and I encourage people to do the same,” Dixit said. “I hope you understand that I am CEO of a reputed firm and reputation of my clients goes with it.”

Heaton said that Dixit had contacted him two weeks before his scheduled trip to Africa asking for his help with getting permission from the Egyptian military to travel to Bir Tawil. Heaton told him that the military had restricted access to zones beyond tourist areas following the accidental killing of 12 people in 2015. However, he could try talking to the Egyptian military, Heaton told Dixit, but two weeks was not enough time to do so. Heaton claimed that Dixit blocked him on Facebook after the exchange.

“This guy faked his journey,” Heaton said. “It is unfortunate for me because I have been working very hard to finalise recognition with both Egypt and Sudan. His false claims are a distraction to my investors on the project.” Heaton has been working towards using the land at Bir Tawil for agricultural research and development. To have the “Kingdom of North Sudan” recognised by international law, Heaton is raising funds to build a 1 gigawatt solar farm in Bir Tawil. Selling the power to Egypt and Sudan would count as a trade relationship with other countries which in turn would help Heaton’s kingdom become a country.

“I have $1.5 billion in letters of intent for the construction of the solar farm. It’s been a slow process of building credibility and Suyash’s news coverage undermines all the hard work I have carried out.” Heaton said.

Meanwhile, some Twitter users are beside themselves with an Indian grabbing a piece of land in Africa and declaring himself as its king. Congratulatory tweets poured in.

Heaton and Dixit finally spoke to each other and shared on Twitter that they had resolved their differences.

This article has been updated to add the responses of Jeremiah Heaton and Suyash Dixit.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.

Play

So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.