A white person claiming royal control over a piece of Africa: how could that ever look bad or weird or uncomfortable?
Jeremiah Heaton didn't give much thought to the larger visuals of his attempt to establish his own kingdom in Africa, just as he didn't give much thought as to whether it's a good idea to give your 7 year old daughter her own kingdom in which to be a princess. Heaton's daughter, like many girls her age, is obsessed with princesses, so Heaton did the most irrational thing possible and promised her that for her next birthday he would make her a real princess. And no, his plan wasn't to just have a cute coronation-themed birthday party. He decided to get her a country.
Heaton found a place called Bir Tarwil, a desert in between Egypt and Sudan that isn't exactly claimed by either. It's about 800 square miles of sand, and Heaton first tried to claim it over the internet; when that didn't work he followed in the footsteps of Cortez and Columbus and traveled there to plant a flag. So was born the Kingdom of North Sudan.
If the daughter was terminal this would be the most heartwarming story ever. But this is a healthy 7 year old who has just been spoiled beyond all reasonable belief - if dad was willing to travel to Africa to claim her a country for her 7th birthday, what will she expect for the 8th?
More than bad parenting, it's bad international law. Heaton would have to occupy the space for years, and he couldn't do it alone. He'd have to have a nation of people with him. And then he'd have to negotiate with Egypt and Sudan, who have no interest in even dealing with this claim. On top of that another guy claimed it in 2010. It's so telling that Heaton thinks that as a white man he can just show up and claim some land as his own whenever he wants.
This sounds like the backstory for Veruca Salt - there's no way anyone can look at this with admiration. Well, enter Morgan Spurlock, who is going to produce a movie based on Heaton's story for Disney. Finally there will be a Disney princess who is a spoiled pain in the ass!
I honestly don't know what this movie will be about, especially since Heaton's claim isn't going to stick. Will they make the daughter ill in the movie? That seems to be the only way to transform this tale of unfettered white privilege into something sweet.
The latest news stories I have read about the Heatons indicate the daughter wears a tiara all day every day.