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Arab World: Where Even Valentine's Day is Different

It's Valentine's Day today! The occasion was not forgotten despite a year of protest across a large portion of the Arab world.

From the UAE, Yasser Hareb tweets:

@YasserHareb: I don't believe in valentine's day. True love has no occasion.. True love is the occasion #Valentine

Abdullah Al Rasheed, from Saudi Arabia, which bans all forms of Valentine's celebrations, writes [ar]:

لا أريد أن احتفل بهذا اليوم .. أحرقوا كل أعيادهم وأعطوني مجتمعاً لا يشوه الحب .. لا يحاصر القلب ! ‎#valentine‏
@ALRrsheed: I don't want to celebrate this day. Burn all their festivals and give me a society which does not tarnish love … and does not arrest the heart

And Ramu Salame jokes:

@ramisalame: Hey, Saudi tweeps, I have a question: Tomorrow, for Valentine's Day, are we supposed to avoid red meat?

Eyad Joudeh explains why this question is plausible in Saudi Arabia. He tweets:

@EyadJ: Valentine's day, the only day of the year where people in Saudi Arabia can go to jail for wearing a certain color.

While reminds Sultan Angari reminds us [ar]:

سوف نضحك يوماً ما..بأنه كان بيننا أُناس يمنعون إهداء الوردة الحمراء أو حتى بيعها وشراءها في يوم محدد من ايام الله! ‎#Saudi‏ ‎#Valentine‏
@AngariSultan: We will laugh some day about how we had people living amongst us who banned people from giving, selling or buying red roses on a certain day of the year

Saudi Arabia bans all forms of Valentine's celebrations. It's notorious Commission for the Prevention of Virtue and Prevention of Vice raids shops in the run up to Valentine's Day, forcing owners to remove all symbols of the Valentine's, including roses, hearts, balloons and red wrapping paper.

Egyptian Nermeen Edrees finds a heart drawn on her red car

Egyptian Nermeen Edrees finds a heart drawn on her red car. Photo credit: Nermeen Edrees, shared on Twitter

Moving on, Egyptian Nermeen Edrees was welcomed after work with a lovely surprise. She tweets:

@NermeenEdrees: Nice surprise..someone decided to draw a heart on my car :D

Meanwhile, in Bahrain, today marks the first anniversary of the start of massive protests, styled after the so-called Arab Spring revolutions which have also rocked Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen, to name a few.

There, blogger Mahmood Al Yousif comments on the brief detention this afternoon of human rights activist Nabeel Rajab by saying:

@mahmood: #FreeNabeel another special #Bahrain hash tag on this lively Valentine's day @NABEELRAJAB

Anonymous, the loosely formed international group of hackers, also presented Bahrainis with a Valentine's present. Human rights activist Maryam Al Khawaja tweets about it:


@maryamalkhawaja
: “#Anonymous to People of #Bahrain: Happy #Valentine's Day” Anonymous takes down websites of contractors tht sell to Bahrain regime #feb14

And finally, back in Egypt, Mohammed El Dahshan could be in trouble. He exclaims:

@eldahshan: Ha! I managed to spend the entire day without speaking about Valentine's day and… oh crap.

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