Today, December 10, is Human Rights Day, declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1950. The U.N.’s H.R.D. webpage says the day’s purpose is “to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (created in 1948) “as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.” Further, it is the twentieth anniversary of the U.N.’s instituting the position of High Commissioner for Human Rights. The current High Commissioner is Navanethem “Navi” Pillay.
Pillay is a South African national, which I find meaningful with this Human Rights Day following on the heels of Nelson Mandela’s passing.
In honor of Human Rights Day, I thought I’d share postcards of people from around the world. Unfortunately, my collection is not at all geographically representative so I just chose postcards that stuck me visually. I’d particularly love to round out my collection with some postcards from Africa. If you’d like to send me one, my human assistant’s address is:
3370 Glendale Blvd. Box 613
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(The post office refused to let me have a box in my name. I think we need a Snail Rights Day.)
Comment here if you send me a postcard, so I know to check my mailbox. Also, if you include your return address on the postcard, I’ll send you a postcard back. Don’t worry–as always, if I feature your postcard on Snail’s Postcard Post, I’ll leave out your address.
Korphe Village, Karakoram mountains, northern Pakistan
This gorgeous photograph was taken by Greg Mortenson, mountaineer-turned-humanitarian author of Three Cups of Tea.The postcard is for Mortenson’s non-profit Central Asia Institute, inspired by the need for a school in the village of Korphe, before broadening its sights to villages throughout the region’s remote mountains. I mention this in light of the scandal surrounding The Central Asia Institute’s spending record and inside politics, and accusations of false and/or exaggerated content in Three Cups of Tea.I have no idea of CAI’s credibility, but whatever the case, this is one of my favorite people-postcards.From Margaret Hyde’s “Mindful Journeys” travel photography exhibition benefitting the non-profit high school girls writing program, WriteGirl. “From Memphis to the Maldives, Bhutan to Bombay…a visual journey of photographs from around the globe.” My guess is this vibrant photograph is from Bombay (Mumbai), or somewhere else in India.
The Akha people, with their own language and religion, are relatively new to Thailand. They originated in China, where some still live in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Scientists tend to believe the Akha are in fact from Yunnan, but the people themselves generally hold that they hail from the Chinese-Tibetan borderlands. In any case, many Akha migrated to the high mountains of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand in the early 1900′s. Thailand received further influx of Akha people as they fled civil war in Laos and former-Burma (now Myanmar). Today, 80,000 Akha live in Northern Thailand, and are known for their dazzling clothing. I for one wondered how bland they might find common dress here in the U.S. compared to the vibrant colors in this postcard.
This postcard is from one of the blog’s loyal followers, the Snail family’s friend Toni. When Toni, an American, was living in Beijing, she thoughtfully let me in on her travels around East Asia through postcards like this one.“Thailand has so far been my favorite. The country is almost entirely Buddhist, + people are very kind. I saw a young woman on the back of a motor scooter bow her head & put her hands together in namaste (they call it wai) as she zoomed past a temple.”Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, Danny Lyon (b. 1942) is a photographer and filmmaker who got his start photographing the American Civil Rights Movement as part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Also in the 1960′s, Lyon captured his most famous images of Midwest biker culture from his days with the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle club. He would continue to take on the tough, seedy and socially ignored, from prisoners’ portraits to scenes of the inner-city.
“A group of hard-working, colourful Lisu tribal girls in Thailand take a rare moment free from household chores.”
The Lisu people live in the mountains of Myanmar, China, Thailand, and on the Northeast fringe of India. The Lisu speak a Tibetan-Burman derived language and migrated to Northern Thailand in the mid-19th century, where they now number around 55,000.
“Prayers performed as part of tooth-filing ceremony in Peliatan.”
It seems this gate (“bab”) into the city of Fez/Fes, Morocco was originally commissioned by an 11th century prince, who named it after his eldest son, Foutouh. Apparently destroyed over time, Bab Fetouh seems to have been rebuilt and expanded during the reign of Sultan Moulay Slimane (1792-1822). The plaza is fairly empty as dusk begins to settle. But I get the sense that as soon as the air cools with the night, Piazzetta San Marco is going to be packed. The early birds are already trickling out into the square. The waiters anticipate a busy evening. The one at the center anchors the scene, the only person in focus. He’s seen this many a time before, and leans familiarly on a chair in which a customer will soon sit. He notes that the chairs and tables are all lined up nicely. Now he has some time to breathe before the rush. If you look closely, you can see the boy is smiling at another child under the table.Family in Pohnpei “upon (pohn) a stone altar (pei)” (formerly Ponape) Micronesia
Guess what? This is the blog’s 200th post!