|Barmenian Refugee Crisis|
Refugee boat on its way to Selucia
| Genzid Caliphate
Sun's Sons militia
| Felinist refugees
| Caliph Abdlmecid
Prince Lazr Juhnsrmko Jezk'ar
| Commander Aye Nkamansrmko Rûh
Imperator Caius Cassius Sophus
Imperatrix Octavia Flavia Hadriana
|Casualties and losses|
|Refugees killed: 2 million est.|
Refugees enslaved: 1.5 million est.
Refugees missing: 0.5 million est
The Barmenian Refugee Crisis (3818-3838) was a human rights crisis that led to the mass exodus of Felinists from Barmenistan, their settlement in Selucia, and the near total termination of Felinism in its homeland.
For centuries Barmenistan was locked in a state of nearly perpetual conflict between Ahmadism and Felinism. Barmenistan was the birthplace of the Ahmadi faith, and for much of its history it was the headquarters of Ahmadism, governed as the most widely accepted Caliphate. In 2951 Barmenistan was conquered by Selucia and brought under the rule of Queen Rebeca I of the House of Victoria. Under Selucian rule Ahmadism declined, and in its aftermath a new faith was born, Felinism, based on the traditional beliefs of the Jelbic people with heavy influences from Selucian Paganism and Selucian Hosianism. The new faith gained prominence after the collapse of Selucian rule with the establishment of the Feline Homeland of Barmenia as a Felinist theocracy, leading to centuries of conflict between the two Barmenian faiths. The spectacular growth of Felinism was helped by the establishment of syncretic practices that allowed Ahmadis and Hosians to retain their faiths while also adopting Felinist elements. Save for a brief restoration of the Caliphate in the 35th century, Barmenistan remained under Felinist rule until it was invaded by Temrkai Khan in the Barmenia-Vanuku War. Temrkai, having converted to Ahmadism, attempted to end Felinism in Barmenistan and return the Ahmadi faith to its lost prominence. Although Felinist Barmenistan was restored following the collapse of Temrkai's empire, the resurgence of Ahmadism proved long-lasting. After joining the Jelbic Khaganate in 3788 as the Shahdom of Barmenia, Barmenistan outlawed Felinism, leading to the end of Felinist syncretism and reducing the faith to its most devoted followers, who continued cat worship in secret; known as crypto-Felinists, those that retained Felinist practices were reduced to the status of second-class citizens. In the course of the Jelbic War between the Khaganate and Zardugal, the Jelbic nationalist government of Barmenistan was replaced by an Ahmadi theocracy, the Genzid Caliphate. Eager to establish its legitimacy over Barmenistan and to find a source to recover its massive debt, the Caliphate decided to expel the remaining Felinists and confiscate their property.
Edict of Expulsion of 3818
On the 17th of February 3818 Caliph Abdlmecid signed the Edict of Expulsion, ordering all crypto-Felinists to leave Barmenistan within a year with all those remaining in the nation after the deadline to be executed or enslaved, and mandating the forfeiture of all properties they left behind. The purpose of the edict was two-fold; on the one hand the government, lacking popularity, wanted to increase its legitimacy as the Ahmadi Caliphate, a role rejected by most Ahmadis, and on the other, as many of those to be expelled belonged to the wealthy Selucian minority in Barmenistan, the confiscation of their property would have allowed the Caliphate to pay off its war debt. As Felinists had lost most of their political and economic heft in Barmenistan during Jelbic rule, they had no means to resist, so the exodus of Barmenian Felinists began long before the deadline mandated by the Edict. The fleeing Felinists started flowing towards two main destinations, namely Pontesi and Selucia; it is estimated that more than ten million Barmenians left the country within a year. The Caliphate, although it managed to repay its war debt, had its economy crippled by the large loss in workforce, and the Ahmadi government was soon overthrown.
Migration to Selucia
One month after the Edict of Expulsion was signed, the Pontifex Maximus of Selucian Paganism issued a call for Felinists to immigrate to Selucia, owing to close ethnic and religious ties between Felinists and Pagans. Millions of refugees took on the offer, taking the perilous journey to Selucia by boat and establishing refugee camps on the island of Oleria. Selucia's Conservative government reacted violently; the Senate approved a Special Situation, granting the Head of Government unlimited emergency powers, and Selucian Security began a large-scale assault on refugee camps, leading to the forceful deportation and killing of hundreds of thousands of refugees. In the meantime the Selucian government also opened negotiations with Pontesi and Vanuku, aiming to have the Felinists forcefully repatriated to those nations. The negotiations proved fruitless, however, and refugees continued to pour into Selucia, assisted by pagan groups and the newly formed liberal Action Party.
Selucian constitutional crisis
The Selucian government's heavy-handed approach to the refugee crisis and the seemingly unnecessary declaration of emergency laws led to loss of popular faith in the government and the rise in popularity of Action Party leader Octavia Flavia Hadriana. The elections of February 3821 ended in a deadlock and the creation of a constitutional crisis; Octavia Flavia Hadriana was elected head of state, while parliamentary elections resulted in a hung Senate, leading to the continuation of forceful deportation of the refugees, in spite of opposition from the head of state. In the midst of the constitutional crisis, Hadriana converted to Paganism by being initiated in the Terekian mysteries, in solidarity with the Felinist refugees. As Hadriana's popularity within the population and the armed forces was on the rise, she ordered the military to stop carrying out anti-refugee orders from the government, leading to the government adopting a new approach. As Pontesi had come under the rule of a minority Selucian government following the collapse of the Khaganate, Selucia formed a deal with Pontesi allowing for the repatriation of Felinists to Pontesian territory.
Migration to Pontesi
Pontesi had been left without a stable government after the collapse of the Khaganate, and the power vacuum was soon filled by various ethnic and religious militias. The lack of a central government also allowed millions of Felninist refugees to flock to Pontesi, where, following clashes with the locals, they established the Claws and Paws militia. The Selucian-dominated International Crimson Crusade, having seized power on Pontesi's Eastern coast, established a deal with the Felinist exiles to restore Selucian minority rule in Pontesi. The Felinist-Crusader alliance managed to gain control over most of Pontesi by 3824, establishing Free Pontesi as a Selucian minority government. Free Pontesi attempted to solve the crisis by forcing Ahmadis to flee Pontesi and settling Felinists in their stead. Additionally, an agreement with the Selucian government led to most Felinists that had fled to Selucia to be forcefully deported to Pontesi. Free Pontesi also introduced a number of discriminatory measures against the majority Pntek population, leading to the rise of Pntek militancy and the formation of the Sun's Suns militia. Led by self-proclaimed Prince Lazr Juhnsrmko Jezk'ar, the Son's Suns captured capital Dawnstar in 3829, leading to the collapse of Free Pontesi and the disintegration of the nation into chaos. Prince Lazr's armies began massacring Selucians and Felinists, partly in reaction to the discriminatory policies imposed by Free Pontesi, determining many of them to flee Pontesi.
Return to Selucia
The Conservative government of Selucia was overthrown in 3827, putting an end to the constitutional crisis. Hadriana had found an ally in controversial businessman Caius Cassius Sophus, and together they managed to form a new government that immediately stopped the deportation of refugees in Selucia. The Selucian policy towards the refugees gradually became more permissive, and by 3829 all victims of the Edict of Expulsion, whether residing in Selucia or not, were granted Selucian citizenship and the Felinist militias were integrated into the armed forces. These policies, coupled with the ongoing massacre of Selucians and Felinists in Pontesi, determined most refugees to leave Pontesi and move to Selucia, in addition to the flood of Pontesian refugees fleeing Prince Lazr's armies. Although the pro-refugee legislation, including citizenship, was later reversed, millions of Selucian and Felinist refugees had moved to the Selucian islands for good. After a brief but very tense period of rule by the Conservatives, the crisis was brought to an end in 3838.
End and aftermath
The Barmenian Refugee Crisis was ultimately ended when Selucia passed the Immigration Rights Act of February 3838 that abolished Selucia's very strict anti-immigration policy. Months later, the Imperium was overthrown and replaced with the Selucian Republic, which began systematically dismantling the political and military structure that allowed Selucia to engage in a large-scale genocide against the refugees. At the same time the Senate passed a bill granting automatic Selucian citizenship to all polytheists fluent in the Selucian language. As most Felinists had been living in Selucia for nearly two decades, this in effect made them all Selucian citizens.
The Crisis led to the death of approximately two million Barmenian refugees and the enslavement of more than one million; most victims were the result of the actions of the Selucian Security, which was disbanded immediately after the fall of the Imperium, while most refugees that were enslaved ended in the hands of Eilomax. The Barmenian Refugee Crisis resulted in the near total elimination of Felinism in Barmenistan; out of approximately 13 million crypto-Felinists, it is estimated that less than 3 million escaped the Edict of Expulsion, and of the 10 million that were exiled, around half ended up in Selucia, with the rest killed, enslaved, missing, or settling in other nations. The expulsion of Felinists also resulted in the collapse of three regimes. The Genzid Caliphate was the worst hit, as the large loss in workforce ruined its economy, leading to the Caliphate being overthrown by a Kathuran minority government. In Pontesi the Selucian minority regime had rested on the support of Felinist militias, however Free Pontesi's discriminatory actions towards the majority population led to the regime's collapse and the exodus of Felinists and Seluco-Pontesians from Pontesi. In Selucia the Imperium's heavy-handed approach to the refugee crisis and the dictatorial nature of the regime eventually led to its collapse at the hands of a heterogeneous coalition of parties covering the entire political spectrum and the creation of the Selucian Republic in its stead.
The Crisis did prove beneficial for the long-persecuted Religio Seluciana. In 3832 its governing College of Pontiffs officially accepted Felinism as a legitimate expression of Selucian Paganism, and Felinist leadership and practices were fully integrated into the Religio. The settlement of Felinist refugees ultimately resulted in the revitalization of Selucian Paganism and its return to prominence as one of Selucia's two national faiths.