Cross and the fight against alcohol on stamps:
Since I have
been working in Blue Cross for some years, it was natural to
collect stamps that somehow reflected this kind of work.
But I have not been collecting systematically, and I don't
have too many of these stamps and labels. Here is what I
have so far, organised alphabetically according to country:
In the 1920s
and 1930s, abstinence was not such a bad idea for quite
many people in Scandinavia and some other European
countries. This sticker from Denmark - probably
from the 1920s - wants "Denmark free from alcohol".
That would have been good...
This Danish label, saying
"Help for alcohol patients", would be difficult to issue
today. It portrays alcoholics as shipwrecked
people (which they of course often are) and down-trodden
in poverty (which they of course also often are...).
The right label also
portrays alcohol patients before and after
rehabilitation. And even though we might not think
exactly the same way today, the message is still very
clear: Alcohol is a slave master that keeps you down in
poverty and misery. (click on the picture to see a
larger version of it)
from the same block)
Abstinence movements issued
stickers or labels to spread their message. The
one below is from "Afholdsselskabet Det blaa Baand"
(Abstinence society The blue Ribbon) with the slogan "No
anger towards anybody, but love for everybody".
The right label above is
from the abstinence society "The White Cross", printed
at Odense Litografiske Anstalt.
This label is from The Blue Cross Children's Society
"Hope" with the message "Better prevent than cure".
This has been a driving force in Blue Cross: By
preventing people to even starting to drink, the society
saves huge amounts of money in addition to avoiding a
lot of damage to health, family and the wider society.
To cure is a costly affair...
The anchor symbolises Hope.
label from France cancelled 1912 would not be accepted
today! But in the first part of the 1900's the war
against alcohol was much more accepted than today.
The label consist of an ordinary stamp fixed on a frame,
Alcohol stupefies you!
Absinth makes you a fool!
we might choose different words today, the message is
still valid: Alcohol does kill, alcohol does
stupefy and makes fools out of people....
Drunk-driving campaign. The message is
clear: Don't drink and then drive!
French Polynesia 1972
"Lutte" means fight in French. This stamp bears
the message "Against Alcoholism" and depict one of the
consequences; if you fight while drunk you might end up
in jail... Often the physical consequences of a
fight while intoxicated leads to more serious injuries.
The symbolism is strong: The bottle controls the man,
Germany, West 1982
"No Alcohol in Traffic" says this 1982 stamp. Fact
is, that without alcohol, the traffic accident statistic
would look very different. Quite a large number of
accidents are due to the intake of alcohol. Many
countries have a policy of no or nearly no alcohol
allowed in the blood while driving. This is a good
example of an alcohol free zone that is obvious!
Greenland is a society that has
enormously from the effects of
labels from Greenland are inscribed both in the local
language and Danish. They are meant to send a
message that drinking is definitely not something to be
right for example, we find the message "Drunk and
labels, but same series. Upper right label has a
strong question: "What about the children?" We
know that even small amounts of alcohol makes people
change. Children are the first to notice...
And many of them get scared! The down right has
the message "Today I want to be sober". Not a bad
countries have honoured Blue Cross on stamps, but
Greenland has! In 1991 they commemorated 75 years
of Blue Cross work at the island.
miniature sheet from Tanzania 1986 (SG MS488) has not
directly to do with Blue Cross, but presents a text
which has: "Child Survival and Development".
We know that even a small amount of alcohol during
pregnancy can cause irreversible damage to the child.
Therefore, all pregnant women are strongly advised not
to drink during this period.
who work in Africa, we see examples of just too many
cases of the opposite. Very many women DO drink
during pregnancy, thus having children with various
birth defects. This is tragic as it so easily
could be avoided.
Which brings us to my dream
situation that will never come through due to the
utterly egoistic nature of human beings: A society
totally rid of alcohol and drugs. In fact, nobody
can argue with this fact: If there were no alcohol and
drugs, no alcohol or drug related diseases, broken
homes, traffic accidents, rapes, incest, death and so on
would exist due to alcohol and drugs. Some of
these things would still exist, yes, but drastically
So why are human beings not willing to
ban the most damaging poison there is? Well, I
said it above: Due to the utterly egoistic nature of
human beings. Problem is, most people will not
admit that this is the cause, but excuse themselves that
they are not the ones bringing the problems...
Seems like we have to live the poison, but at least let
us do our best so that the children will not be harmed
in any way!
United States of America 1981
is Mi 1499 from 1981. The message is quite simple,
although the actual execution of it is something of the
most difficult you can ever do for many. But the
fact still remains; you can beat alcoholism with
determination and good help. In US alcoholism is
defined as a decease.
because insurance companies otherwise would not cover
damages done while drunk or cover the medical bill for
either damages or deceases caused by alcoholism...
Whatever view on alcoholism
being a decease or not, I guess most people would agree
that it leads to many unwanted conditions, as breaking
up of families, violence towards spouse and children,
traffic accidents, murders etc. While Blue Cross
recommends full abstinence from alcohol (at least then
you will NOT have any problems caused by alcohol...),
others recommend responsible drinking. Problem is;
who defines what is responsible? If you ask
children, very many of them will say the only
responsible thing to do is not to drink!
That is why we also talk
about 'alcohol free zones'. The nightmare for many
children is Christmas, because the parents then
'celebrate' full force. Christmas should therefore
be one of the most important alcohol free zones!
Wallis et Futuna 1996
against Alcoholism. While the
man drinks himself silly, the family suffers.
Where we are working in the Soweto slums in Nairobi,
Kenya, we see that these men often beat, demand their
"rights" - even in front of the children, and even
molest their own children. Again: With no alcohol,
these things would be radically reduced.