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Guy Creates 'Sovereign Nation' of Zaqistan—in Utah

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By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2015 12:17 PM CDT
Guy Creates 'Sovereign Nation' of Zaqistan—in Utah
Zaqistan's robot sentry.   (Mike DeBernardo/KSL-TV via Deseret News via AP)

A New York man is building his own sovereign nation called Zaqistan on a remote piece of land in Utah. Zaq Landsberg has a yellow-and-red flag, official-looking passports, and a border patrol gate guarded by a giant robot sentry for the realm, KSL-TV reports. "The conceptual goal is I want it to become a real country," said Landsberg, its president. "I mean, that goal is not going to happen. It's impossible, but going through the motions, (I'm) trying to make that happen." He's even created a motto for Zaqistan: "Something from nothing." When he bought the sage-brush covered stretch of Utah backcountry a decade ago, the city-dwelling Landsberg was amazed at how removed it was. It's about 60 miles from the nearest town and 15 miles away from a paved road.

"Out here, it's not that crazy of an idea to have your own little spot, and to do your own thing," said Landsberg, who's hesitant to reveal the exact location of Zaqistan for fear of people getting lost trying to find it. While he knows the 4-acre piece of land with a supply bunker won't actually become its own recognized country, Landsberg said building it is an artistic exploration in the concepts of land ownership and sovereignty. "My goal is to, like, probe those little areas," Landsberg said. "To try and find what that does mean." He pays property taxes to Box Elder County, though he refers to the payments as tributes. The passports look and feel real, and visitors like his friend Mike Abu can get them stamped. "Legitimacy is one of those things that's fairly subjective to begin with," Abu said. "But when we're talking about it, does it exist? There's no question about it." (More Utah stories.)

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