Masai Lands Advocacy
In 2014 and 2015, House Dragu-Mihai and its individual members (HSH Prince Shadow Dragu-Mihai, HSH Prince Paul Dragu-Mihai and HSH Prince Patrick Dragu-Mihai) were among the very many voices advocating for the Masai, who were being evicted from their ancestral lands by the Tanzanian government. For some 20 years, the Arab royal family of Dubai had sought to create a large private trophy-hunting corridor alongside the Serengeti. The government of Tanzania had agreed to sell the land to them and to do it they had to evict some 40,000 Masai.
World outcry was huge and in 2013 embarrassed the Tanzanian government into announcing it had backed out of the plan. A year later, however, in November 2014 the government told the Masai they had to evacuate the area by the end of the year and that the deal with Dubai had been concluded. In recompense, the government offered the Masai the equivalent of ~$350,000 - but not to them... The money would be put into several cultural programs which would not directly benefit the Masai. In other words, the government offered to pay itself for the trouble of dislocating the Masai.
Romania and Romanians have long had commercial and cultural relationships with Africa, so aside from the serious human rights issue, the situation called out for House Dragu-Mihai to get involved. The Masai peoples are a cultural symbol within Africa, and of course have the inalienable human right to inhabit their own lands; beyond that, they embody a spirit of human nobility and courage which all the world sees and cherishes. Their existence is important to the world, and their plight could not be ignored.
Ignorance, however, is exactly what the mainstream political community exhibited. It will come as a surprise to many that the Masai - in fact no people anywhere in the world - have absolutely no standing to seek protection or justice from the United Nations in this situation. The intended structure of the UN normally permits only member states - not real people - to seek justice. The Masai were being evicted by their own legal government, which is a member of the UN and therefore the Masai's legal representative before that body. There was no possibility of UN involvement, and therefore no international avenue for formal support for the Masai.
We were frankly alarmed that the royal families in the UAE (Dubai actually being independent) are apparently so out-of-step with popular morality and sentiment that they did not think it controversial to (a) displace 40,000 indigenous peoples for their own luxury hobby, which itself is (b) trophy hunting of endangered animals, (c) both of which are poor ways to maintain any sort of positive reputation.
House Dragu-Mihai in its capacity as the Romanian Royal and Princiary House made formal protests to the Tanzanian government, through its official offices and to various Tanzanian consulates around the world. In addition, we protested directly to the royal house of Dubai, attempting to appeal to their sense of justice. It is the position of House Dragu-Mihai that princes and kings are to be leaders in justice, and advocates for the rights of people who cannot protect themselves. In the new millennium, royalty still has relevance - in fact an ever-growing relevance - to the social evolution of the world. As living emblems of culture and values, princes, princesses, kings and queens have a unique ability to be heard. The responsibility which goes along with the title must be accepted by a prince. A prince must stand for justice in reality, not in propaganda - otherwise the prince is merely another politician who does not live up to his promises, and deserves no more respect or attention than that. Politely, we attempted to point this out to the royal family of Dubai.
In the end, the Dubai royal family pointedly ignored our polite but direct appeal, as did the Tanzanian government. However, the ground swell of support for the Masai again forced the government of Tanzania to back down. Whether the situation remains that way only time will tell. However, this is an example of the power of real people to resist those who would abuse them and those whom they value; without any meaningful help from government (though surely there had to be discussion about public relations between various states and Tanzania - though we are not aware of any) the voices of real people were raised to positive effect.
This is what we, as a House are working for.