Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day, Somalia and Somaliland

Happy Valentine's Day
According to the St.Valentine's Day website, "A young Frenchman, Charles, Duke of Orleans is said to have written the first Valentine's Day card. The Duke who was captured at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 is said to have written a poem or ‘Valentine' to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London."
I have 3 old Valentine's Day postcards to show you. They don't date from 1415 , but they are old so let's have a look at them. I picked them up in a large bunch of old postcards I found at an antique store last fall.

Happy Valentine's Day to all who celebrate it, especially My Valentine, My Lovely Teena.

Now back to the regular blog issues- postcards and stamps and new countries.
I have just two cards for today and they come from Somalia and Somaliland. First a little background information. I know and most postcard collectors know that it is very difficult and next to impossible to receive a postcard from Somalia. Actually with me in Canada it it now impossible to receive mail from Somalia. This of course is due to the latest air security rules due to the printer ink cartridge incident of last fall. No mail or packages from Somalia and Yemen are allowed in Canada. So what chance did I have of getting a postcard from Somalia?
Well up steps David, who has contributed lots of postcards to this blog. David planned a trip for this January to Somalia and Somaliland and intended to post cards if possible. He even purchased the postcards and the stamps online as he thought they might be difficult to find.
Before I go on let's look at Somalia.
Somalia is a country located on the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of civil war in 1991, there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory. The internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government controls only a small part of the country. Somalia has been classed as a failed state and is one of the poorest and most violent states in the world. It's capital is Mogadishu and is in the southern part of the country. As a result of the war and unrest it seems that Somalia does not have an operating postal system. Hence the difficulty of receiving a postcard from there.
So David decided to take matters into his own hands. In Mogadishu Airport he found the office of The Somali Civil Aviation Authority. This would have to take the place of the Post Office. He had his cards hand cancelled with the stamp of The Civil Aviation Authority to prove that they were indeed in Somalia. Still nowhere to post them, so he brought them back home and mailed them out from Ireland in another cover. The stamps are from 1998 and are two of a set of four featuring corals.

Now on to Somaliland. This is the north western part of the country of Somalia and has been relatively stable under the self declared , but unrecognized, sovereign state of Somaliland. Hargeisa is the capital. Again no post office , so what did David do ? He thought about courier service , but again no luck due to the security rules. In Hargesia he went to DHL Worldwide Express , but had to settle for their hand stamp on the stamp, again to verify it was indeed in Somaliland. The stamp on this card is in fact a Cinderella as no Somaliland stamps have been issued since the early 60s. Again he took the card back and mailed it out from home.

David also sent along 3 extra Somaliland Cinderellas, they make a nice train set , actually.

Now , as David said, these cards are the closest thing to getting mail from Somalia and Somaliland , anytime in the foreseeable future . So I am going to add these 2 cards to my collection as countries # 243 and 244 . I know what the purest out there will say, but sometimes you got to take what you get. Therefore I am quite happy to have these and to increase by country count by two.

That about does it for today. Thanks to David for his hard work and for thinking of me and my collection. Cheers. I'll be looking for your comments on this update , let me know what you think.

3 comments:

Ana said...

those are such lovely train stamps!! even though they are Cinderellas, but for some reason they are better looking than a number of regular issued stamps. Recently I received a number of train Cinderellas from Djibouti, Malawi, Eritrea and Guinea Bissau and they are all....WOW!!

And Happy Valentine's Day to you and Teena Glenn! Wishing you a very nice evening! :)

Trevor said...

Congratulations on receiving the Somali and Somaliland cards!

Nice cards and a great story, too.

Ralph_collection said...

GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!