Constitution of Uzupis Mounted on Wall in Vilnius, Lithuania

PHOTO: Constitution of Uzupis Mounted on Wall in Vilnius, Lithuania

Woman shoots Constitution of Uzupis in Vilnius, Lithuania, through wall-mounted mirror. The reflected view is shown at lower right.

Click on title to view photo in large format. Uzupis is a bohemian neighborhood located within the historic Old Town area of Vilnius, Lithuania. Prior to World War Two, it was predominantly occupied by Jewish residents, most of whom were killed during the Holocaust. Subsequently, the abandoned, deteriorating buildings were occupied by homeless, prostitutes, and criminal elements. Things began to change when Lithuania gained its independence in 1990. Seeing opportunity in the run-down, albiet well-located district, artists began moving in. Today, more than 1,000 of the 7,000 residents of Uzupis are artists or creative sorts. In 1997, residents of the area declared their own independence, naming their neighborhood the Republic of Užupis, along with its own flag, currency, president, and cabinet of ministers. They also wrote the Constitution of Uzupis, which was translated into 23 languages and prominently mounted on a wall in the neighborhood. The “tongue-in-cheek” Articles of the Constitution of Uzupis are as follows:

1. Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnia, and the River Vilnia has the right to flow by everyone.
2. Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.
3. Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation.
4. Everyone has the right to make mistakes.
5. Everyone has the right to be unique.
6. Everyone has the right to love.
7. Everyone has the right not to be loved, but not necessarily.
8. Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.
9. Everyone has the right to idle.
10. Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.
11. Everyone has the right to look after the dog until one of them dies.
12. A dog has the right to be a dog.
13. A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of need.
14. Sometimes everyone has the right to be unaware of their duties.
15. Everyone has the right to be in doubt, but this is not an obligation.
16. Everyone has the right to be happy.
17. Everyone has the right to be unhappy.
18. Everyone has the right to be silent.
19. Everyone has the right to have faith.
20. No one has the right to violence.
21. Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance.
22. No one has the right to have a design on eternity.
23. Everyone has the right to understand.
24. Everyone has the right to understand nothing.
25. Everyone has the right to be of any nationality.
26. Everyone has the right to celebrate or not celebrate their birthday.
27. Everyone shall remember their name.
28. Everyone may share what they possess.
29. No one can share what they do not possess.
30. Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters and parents.
31. Everyone may be independent.
32. Everyone is responsible for their freedom.
33. Everyone has the right to cry.
34. Everyone has the right to be misunderstood.
35. No one has the right to make another person guilty.
36. Everyone has the right to be individual.
37. Everyone has the right to have no rights.
38. Everyone has the right to not to be afraid.
Do not defeat.
Do not fight back.
Do not surrender.

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