“Here,” I had been telling my children, “where you see the red flag with the eagle, is Albania. And over there,” I added, pointing at the other flag, blue with white stripes, a few hundred metres in the distance, “is Greece.”
“But where are we now?”, the six-year-old asked. The tortoise was slowly trailing behind us, through what is sometimes referred to as terra nullius, a portion of territory that does not belong to any state and that usually demarcates two bordering jurisdictions.
No, that zone between two border posts is not terra nullius. Actually, it’s entirely and wholly the opposite. Terra nullius is land belonging to no one. With the attached insistence that therefore anyone can go occupy it. Try occupying the area between two border posts – see?
Lea Ypi is a professor in political theory at the London School of Economics,