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The Užupis Constitution

A few years ago the district of Užupis, in the city of Vilnius, declared itself to be an independent republic. A President and bishop were appointed, four flags were designed [one for each season], and a suitable constitution was duly drawn up. The 41 rights which form the constitution are engraved on mirrors, attached to a wall on Paupio Street. In addition, it has a palace, an army [of 12] to defend it and a National Day [1st April], which may give some idea of just how important this shabby little area has become. Empty and derelict buildings are hung with banners such as ‘Sheraton’, ‘Chanel’ . . . . More details here, here and here and probably the most thorough in-depth analysis just here.

Here is a translation of the terms of the constitution –

Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnelė, while the River Vilnelė has the right to flow by everyone.
Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.
Everyone has the right to die, but it is not a duty.
Everyone has the right to make mistakes.
Everyone has the right to individuality.
Everyone has the right to love.
Everyone has the right to be not loved, but not necessarily.
Everyone has the right not to be distinguished and famous.
Everyone has the right to be idle.
Everyone has the right to love and take care of a cat.
Everyone has the right to look after a dog till one or the other dies.
A dog has the right to be a dog.
A cat is not obliged to love its master, but it must help him in difficult times.
Everyone has the right to sometimes be unaware of his duties.
Everyone has the right to be in doubt, but this is not a duty.
Everyone has the right to be happy.
Everyone has the right to be unhappy.
Everyone has the right to be silent.
Everyone has the right to have faith.
No one has the right to use violence.
Everyone has the right to realize his negligibility and magnificence.
Everyone has the right to encroach upon eternity.
Everyone has the right to understand.
Everyone has the right to understand nothing.
Everyone has the right to be of various nationalities.
Everyone has the right to celebrate or not to celebrate his birthday.
Everyone shall remember his name.
Everyone may share what he possesses.
No-one can share what he does not possess.
Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters and parents.
Everyone is capable of independence.
Everyone is responsible for his freedom.
Everyone has the right to cry.
Everyone has the right to be misunderstood.
No-one has the right to make another person guilty.
Everyone has the right to be personal.
Everyone has the right to have no rights.
Everyone has the right to not be afraid.
Do not defeat.
Do not fight back.
Do not surrender.
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One Response

  1. […] be a free and sovereign republic, and supposedly has an embassy in Moscow. They even have their own constitution! This is all very reminiscent of when Gertrude Stein and a bunch of revelers broke into the arch at […]

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