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Valentine Special: Is Love in the Air in the Middle East?

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If a picture says a thousand words, this is the image Cece, who is based between Bahrain and Kuwait, has posted to sum up how she feels about Valentine's Day.

Although she isn't alone in shunning the tradition, which is fairly new to the region, for others it is a time to celebrate.

Amal, also from Bahrain, says whether single or attached, Valentine's Day has a special flare.

“Though us single ones might be too scared of the nauseating red roses and evil heart-shaped chocolates, though the hooked might be too lazy, though the whatever are too whatever, love still conquers all and leaves all our knees wobbling on the ground and our hearts somersaulting in the sweet air..” she writes.

For Kuwaiti blogger Desert Girl, there is nothing which can take away the sentiments and memories Valentine's Day brings with it.

“VALENTINE’S DAY!!! I LOVE Valentine’s Day. Next to my birthday, it is my very favorite holiday. I love all things Valentine. Love it, love it, love it. I used to get nice, sentimental gifts on Valentine’s day. I suppose those days are gone. (Heavy sigh, pain in my heart.) Ree-ru (ancient history fiancé) gave me a very cool bunny holding a heart one year with ears that moved back and forth and a nose that wiggled. I love bunnies. I think that was the most amazing, thoughtful thing; and so cheap and simple. See, that’s just it – big things are nice to receive, but simple thoughtful things stay in your heart/mind. It wasn’t the jewelry, the cars, the trips, the money… it was that damn bunny that I still have in my sister’s basement that I remember the most,” she writes.

Still in Kuwait, Flamingoliya sums up her excitement about Valentine's in one line:

“Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day & I’m in love. Don’t ask me with whom. They are too many,” she writes.

In comparison, nothing managed to lift Bahrain-based Scarlett's spirits this Valentine's Day.

“I was feeling kind of guilty for not getting in the spirit of the day at work today. Everyone it seems has made an effort to do something in their appearance in red, white or pink or a combination of the three, yet here I sat in brown and black.
Glorious arrangements of flowers came traipsing by on their way to ladies with considerate husbands or significant others. One was a red birdcage with two adorable parakeets in it covered in blood-red roses. (the cage, not the birds)
It was actually the cage and the outfit of the girl who received it that was my breaking point. Well, that and the fact that people kept asking what’s wrong with me, saying I look tired/like I’ve been crying- and I haven’t been (although emotionally drained and not enough sleep, but jeez, still!). So I figured “screw it”, and prayed that I hadn’t taken that tube of Chanel’s Premier Rouge RED lipstick out of my makeup case.
Thankfully I hadn’t. Off to the ladies’ I go to meticulously apply my RED war paint……hence here I sit, glaring red pucker in place,” she explains.

Meanwhile, The Black Iris from Jordan, has made up his mind that he will not blog about Valentine on Valentine's Day.

He is adamant that on Valentine's Day, he will not blog about:

…the most common topics:…Love or lack there of.…How it’s just another Hallmark holiday out to break our financial spirits.…How it’s a sign of cultural colonization of the Middle East.…How it’s an emblem of social erosion that will lead to our eventual downfall as a society civilization.
On Valentine’s Day I will not, I will not, I will NOT blog about…The sad scene of people buying 40JD red teddy bears from Safeway.…On Valentine’s Day I will not post…A fatwa…A love poem or an email forward about love…or email forwards with cute puppies and kittens in baskets…Generic love chain letters that flood my inbox.
Wait. Pause. Stop.
On Valentine’s I will not blog about Valentine’s Day.

For An Englishman in Saudi Arabia, Valentine's Day is yet another commercial celebration.

“The transparent commercialism of Valentines Day bothers me a bit. It's nice if you're single and have your eyes on someone special, but if you're a married man why should you buy roses and a card for your wife on just this one day of the year? Wouldn’t it mean more if you bought them spontaneously? The social pressure makes the gesture hollow.
But… we've been married for many years and due to local customs this is the first time that we've failed to buy each other Valentines Day cards. So now that I can't do it, I am wondering why. I am assuming that it is not religious but rather resistance against Western influence?
Anyway, the lack of Valentines Day action in Saudi Arabia does not bother me. Instead I'm going to let it inspire me.
Let's forget “Happy Valentines Day.”
Let's instead say “Be Happy That You're In Love.”
And if you aren't that lucky at the moment?
“Be Happy That You Want To Be In Love.”” he writes.

Still in Saudi Arabia, dykalicious lists the cons and pros for singles and ‘doubles’ on this special day. (Warning: Read only if you are over the age of 18 for women and 25 for men!)

“I don't think love is necessary to be expressed on one day, but Valentine's Day has a few good things about it if you're with someone:

1. a gift from your loved one
2. almost-perfect behaviour of your loved one
3. you're almost always gonna be taken out somewhere nice
4. attentive and hopefully mind-blowing sex

It's like your birthday, you know? Even though it doesn't really matter, you still know you're gonna get gifts and cake! Except for people who don't have any friends to throw a party for them. Or dead people.

HOWEVER, what about single people?

1. Excuse to go on a date with any other single person
2. excuse to have a one-night stand
3. allowed to be miserable and self-pitying without people yelling at you ‘GET OVER IT!’
4. excuse to masturbate! (if you need an excuse that is. ladies and gentlemen, take out your vibrators!),” she writes.

In Lebanon, the mood is more somber. Valentine's Day is no longer a day of celebration. It was on this day two years ago that former Lebanese president Rafiq Al Hariri was assassinated in a massive explosion in downtown Beirut.

But away from darkness, politics and pessimism, Sasmen posts a video of roses, love words and music to mark the occasion here.

Does this mean there is still hope that love might prevail in the Middle East. Love conquers all, or does it not?

9 comments

  • Great post!

  • Thanks Alice. Hope you have a great day!

  • Fozia

    So sweet :) Thanks Amira

  • In deed, in Lebanon, 14 February has turned into a whole different celebration. Despite all this, flower and gadget shops opened in hope people will still remember its valentine and buy their loved ones gifts!

  • You’re welcome!

  • Bea

    Whether love is in the air or not, we cannot escape the fact that a majority of people find the idea of love and someone to share with an inducement to search. So, I too weighed in on such a day with resources for those searching.
    http://www.remarkablesolutionsblog.com/2007/02/recipe_for_vale.html

  • A poem for the other side of Valentine’s Day.

    I can only live with love so long.

    I can only live with love so long
    As to begin to doubt it in others
    And, in myself.

    Love has left me again.
    I see it as a fading false glimmer
    Through the failing eyes of an old man
    No hope for it in the natural
    Nature of Manwo
    And Woman.

    Today, I am angry at everything
    And this means
    I am angry with myself.
    I am desolation.
    I am the human Humpty Dumpty
    Of New Wava Londono.
    Dark is my every thought.
    I see negative in everything.
    If something good appears
    It fits in my sinkhole
    Like a key in a lock.

    And I am the loose cannon
    On the gunnery deck floor.

    George K. Clarke 9-25-2005

  • Marcus

    Nice picture and nice to hear that at least someone out there thinks love is in the air in the Middle East. Go for it.

  • Thank you Marcus! Love is everywhere.. some times!

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