Extracts from the travel diaries of Sally I.; scholar and philosopher. This documentary series, Galactic Misunderstandings, is brought to you by Starwire Discovery Programmes
Galactic Misunderstandings: Mandalorians
With a handful of exceptions, one galactic constant is family. Nobody knows this better than Mandalorians who have it inscribed in their code to live by. Aliit, or clan, is a strong unifying concept that transcends the biological notion of family. The face of the Mando’ade that the galaxy sees is one of eternal belligerence and crude honour, but to see this as all they are is a disservice.
The Resol’nare, the Six Actions as you may recall, pursue only one principle goal: survival. Central to the culture is the notion of perseverance, resilience. The aliit action acknowledges that no one Mando’ad, no matter the talent or mastery, is an island. They are stronger together as a family and as a culture; while many are competitive, self-centred or arrogant, such traits are better explained under different actions. Not to worry; we’ll get to those, but first, the essence of community spirit. Of course, with aliit comes platonic love. The warrior culture of Manda’yaim generally means that such love is explored in very odd, violent or dysfunctional ways; not universally, but regardless of the format, never underestimate the power of Mandalorian fellowship.
Part 2: Aliit
Brothers guard a field hospital on Sleheyron.
A significant portion soldiers only ever started fighting to defend their own family, rather than to shoot someone else’s
In this face of the Mando’ade is the clearest parallel that the galaxy can associate with. Ask many people whether they would fight for the future of their families and one could be forgiven for understanding when they say yes. There is little more sapient than a wish to see one’s own prosper. Why then does this not seem to translate to a culture that is relatable to the wider galaxy? I think the answer, at least in the context of the aliit action, is the pressure of legacy. Particularly among larger, successful clans, adhering to clan traditions represents doing your part to keep the clan great. And can anyone tell me what most Mandalorian clans are best known for?
Because it isn’t roasting nerf on an open barbeque.
In truth this is as normal as anything else; feeling that we have a responsibility or an obligation to uphold a legacy is not uncommon and the action of aliit theoretically inscribes it in writing. Of course, this is but one interpretation; what of a Mando’ad with a rebellious and independent spirit? Can you still honour ner aliit if you say, "No, I’m tired of a legacy of war, I will find my glory in the wilds?" How do prosperous warrior-clans produce anything but warriors?
Aliit represents something quite constant that will probably never change. But, while other actions may have more opportunity change and evolution, there is still room for it here. Take the Arpat’ika, from a clan of admittedly small size and no immediate predilection to full-scale war. One of these partisans was a Twi’lek; fair to say that armoured lekku are not a common sight, no? But this is the essence of the evolutionary aspect; anyone can find an aliit if they are prepared to pursue it – pursue the Resol’nare – with the tenacity expected of a Mandalorian. If you are willing, and ready, to evolve as a brother or sister of the Mando’ade then they will accept you. In this, fresh perspectives can be incorporated; Koyi, the mild-mannered battle-maiden to whom I allude, was raised a slave. You’d never believe it now, but if you pay attention, such milder and non-belligerent upbringings shine through.
Hired Mandalorians await orders in an Imperial refugee facility.
Warriors have a fair amount of variance between them too... Size, in this case
She does not care, for example, to respond to insults. Words have not hurt or perturbed this Mandalorian for many years. She prefers the hunting and the chasing to the killing; the challenge and the thrill, rather than control of another’s life. Nothing that prevents her from fighting in her clan’s name, but should she live long enough, new generations may yet learn from her uncanny temperance. A rebellious child can have much the same effect if they are clever, as long as they do not desert their clan or the Resol’nare, anyone can fight their corner for a change in focus. Those who do desert the Resol’nare have their own name.
The term ‘Dar’manda’, that is dishonoured, exiled, denounced; literally means ‘not Mandalorian’, that they are without a clan. Without an aliit. It is a particularly vicious condemnation when issued to someone who might still consider themselves a Mandalorian, but an often overused condemnation, particularly by those obsessed with one perspective, their own interpretation, and their one warrior legacy, rather than having the philosophical flexibility to think outside their box. I have learned to treat this term with a pinch of salt unless used gravely, and with an unequivocally correct reason.
The Seedlings amuse themselves.
Contrary to what some bar-room brawl-do’ade might tell you, these people are actually still Mandalorian. If you don’t understand, tune in next time for my exposé on armour, and you will
As another facet of the eternal pursuit of survival, and the one most shared – in principle – with the galaxy at large, aliit is where I find the most common ground with the Mando’ade. I have no memory of my own family, but this makes me appreciate the inclusive Mandalorian perspective all the more. Home is where my heart is, and family is who is there with me.
On at least two occasions I’ve gained a temporary aliit from Mandalorians. I doubt I was thought of so fondly by them, but shoot me; I’m an affectionate sort. On one occasion I was blessed to join a Mandalorian farmstead. I would be remiss to name them without permission, but I shared their home, their work, and their hunt; in honesty I did feel like it was my idea of a Mandalorian for a time; what I’d be if I chose to follow the Resol’nare. Defending a home. Contributing to the greater effort through an abstract but no less important occupation. No need to focus on war; just the field, raising children, making ends meet, and defending oneself where necessary.
If those folks are watching and remember me, I was one happy Sally to be of assistance. Isolated though the case may be, it was a time that served to validate many of my thoughts about both ara’nov and aliit alike; and I know it was not a completely unique case. At the end of the day, all Mandalorians are trying to do is do right by their children, and survive.
For that, can you blame them?
Next in the series: the Mandalorian principle of beskar’gam; to wear armour
Post your questions and thoughts in the comments section below. Where possible, we will contact Sally or the relevant persons to provide responses
All views and opinions expressed in this programme are those of presenters and contributors only and do not necessarily reflect those of Starwire Entertainment Limited, its sponsors, associates, or subsidiaries. The footage for this program was recorded three years ago. Any statistics, time-sensitive information, or mentions of ongoing events may not be up to date.