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Freedom and Philately in Egypt

By February 18, 2011

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But the situation in Egypt shows how fast things move. It almost seemed that all they needed for the democracy cake to rise was to add Twitter and Facebook to the recipe. Communication through tech and social networking has extended its reach so far that even  the world of stamp collecting is affected. In political situations like Egypt's, where stamps are changed overnight when a new leader takes over, once again we can be reminded of the overused phrase to describe stamps: "little windows on the world." But when they relate to wars and strife perhaps they are better described as mirrors, reflecting their issuer's doings.

In the midst of the Egyptian protests philatelic blogger Don Shilling even asked if the increased postal rates added to the peoples' need to revolt against the powers-that-be and the government. The post office infringing on a peoples' human rights? The mind boggles.

Years ago New Jersey doctor-poet William Carlos Williams wrote "It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there." Perhaps, without overstating it, something similar might be said of stamps, as in their own small way they help us understand people, places and things that would otherwise remain a mystery.

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