If you have any doubts of where the public-school system has led us, this is the story for you.
Newark, New Jersey, is the largest city in New Jersey, and its "sister-city" was a nation called the United States of Kailasa, at least it was until city officials found out the nation was just a fabrication.
Would these folks make it one round on "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"
Not a single city official had any basic knowledge of world geography or the wherewithal to do an Internet search when signing an agreement to become sister-cities with a nation that does not exist.
In fact Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said that they hoped the cultural bond that Kailasa and Newark were making would be mutually beneficial:
"I pray that our relationship helps us to understand cultural, social, and political development and improves the lives of everybody in both places," Baraka said. "We have sister cities with many cities all over the world."
Benefiting the people of Kailasa would prove an impossible task because there are zero citizens.
The United States of Kailasa was fabricated by Indian Swami Nithyananda, a man wanted in India for child abduction, torture, and rape.
The self-proclaimed godman fled the country in 2019 when warrants for his arrest were issued, and he has apparently been hiding in the United States of Kailasa ever since — which is probably just an apartment somewhere.
While the Kailasa website still lists Newark as a sister-city, Newark spokeswoman Susan Garofalo said Newark does not return the sentiment any longer:
"Based on fraud, the ceremony was baseless and void," Garofalo said. "Although this was an unfortunate incident, the City of Newark remains committed to partnering with people from different cultures to enrich each other with connection, support and mutual respect."
As far as Nithyananda goes, he's actively recruiting citizens for his make-believe nation.
Interested parties can join the nation via QR code.
Warning: It's a very sketchy site, I wouldn't recommend visiting.
Also he's sending out belly-dancer emissaries to members of the United Nations to try to obtain membership for his imaginary state.
(Note the belly dancer in the photo with the Newark officials too.
Newark may not be the last city, state, nation, or conglomerate of nations taken in by the wily guru.
Hopefully, India will catch this guy before he gains any sort of legitimacy.