Global Education

Post-stamps from around the world

By Alex Ketabi, Alice Lee, Joseph Busaba and Ashan Singh
Published: June 2010

As indicated, this stamp celebrates the birth century of Mohammad Mossadegh, one of the most prolific, yet relatively unknown figures of 20th century. He was democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran in 1951, on the platform that he would nationalize the Iranian oil industry. Since oil was discovered in Iran in 1908, the British government chartered the Anglo Iranian Oil Company (currently BP) to monopolize the entire industry, giving only a minuscule percentage of the profits back to the Iranian people. Mossadegh declared that the British have no place seizing Iran’s natural resources while neglecting its people, and thus ousted the Anglo Iranian Oil Company. This prompted the British to get the Americans, predominantly the CIA, involved. In 1953, the CIA led a coup d’état against Mossadegh, inserting the young Shah (king) of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as the absolute leader of Iran, in turn for his allowing Iran and Britain access to Iran’s oil. Over the next quarter century, the Shah led a despotic regime and was viewed by the Iranian people as a puppet of the West, leading to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that established the tyrannical theocracy in place today. Many view the American-led overthrow of Mossadegh as a catalyst to the rise of Anti Western sentiment and Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East.
-Alex Ketabi

This South Korean postage stamp was one of a series released in 2003, “Traditional Korean Culture, which demonstrated and recognized Korean cultural and aesthetic heritage. Each stamp depicted an item of everyday life in ancestral Korea. This stamp, worth 190 won (the South Korean currency) is an example of the footwear sub-series; other sub-series included traditional headwear, furniture, and tools. Illustrated here is a pair of unhye shoes, which were traditional slippers for Korean women of royalty, the court, and the upper class, until the end of the Joseon Period. The outside of the shoe was typically silken or covered in cotton flannel, while the soles were cobbled from leather and the toes and heels embroidered. In terms of philatelic history, these stamps are remarkable as well as beautifully designed; for the first half of the 20th century, Japan controlled the Korean administration, including its postage, and after 1946, the American military administration took over the issue of Korean stamps for several years. The 2003 series embodies not only the rich history of the Republic of Korea, but national pride and a celebration of independence.
-Alice Lee

Lebanon has always been a touristic country. Some refer to it as the Paris of the Middle East. Post stamps from Lebanon illustrate many of Lebanon’s most beautiful and fascinating places. The images range in depicting different locations throughout Lebanon. One of the most popular images is the roman ruin of the Beqaa valley, Baalbek, dating back to the first century AD. The temples were excavated by a German archaeologist and have since become a major tourist attraction. Other images include a Crusader sea base built on water in the port city of Sidon, the fishing town of Byblos north of Beirut, the natural rock formation off the shores of Beirut, and an old Ottoman Palace that belonged to one of the Ottoman warlords before World War One. Before the civil war, Lebanon survived on a touristic-banking economy. These images were used to attract tourists from neighboring Arab countries and distant European countries . Lebanon has now been rebuilt to its glory of the 60′s and 70′s. Its downtown streets bustle with tourists from around the world. Lebanon showed its finest touristic locations as a means of alluring the recipient of a stamp to visit Lebanon.
-Joseph Busaba

It’s no surprise to find the face of the Father of India cover the stamps of the country. Gandhi’s involvement in India’s quest for independence not only gives him the legacy as one of the most influential people to ever live, but also set a precedent of civil disobedience and nonviolent action that set a standard for some of the world’s most revered leaders. That being said, it is to nobody’s surprise that the face of Gandhi paints not just the stamps of the nation, but the currency as well. Following India’s independence from the British in 1947, the nation has worn her independence on her sleeve. Gandhi, the leader of India’s search for freedom, essentially became the face of the nation, giving way to his presence on national products.
-Ashan Singh

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