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Archive for February 14, 2011

The History of Saint Valentine’s Day

Today is February 14th, and Valentines and couples all over the world celebrate this day with their loved ones. The shops started one week before to sell valentine cards and accessories and all I could see for one week was the colour red. But this doesn’t mean that only couples can send each other nice messages or flowers. Friends that we hold dear can also be remembered on this day and how important the friendship is to us.

Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

Valentine’s Day started in the Roman Empire in the ancient Rome to honour Juno, the queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also recognized her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate however; one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl’s name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

The history of Valentine is shrouded in mystery, but we have all seen that it’s been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day contains both of Christian and Roman tradition. One legend tells that Saint Valentine was a priest who served during the time of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and hated campaigns that gave him the name “Claudius the Cruel”, and this made it difficult for him to make soldiers join his military force. In his mind, he believed that the roman men did not want to leave their loved one and families and because of this, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Seeing the frustration, he and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married the couples. For this deed, Saint Valentine was dragged before the Prefect of Rome who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered his martyrdom on the 14th day of February around year 270.

Another story tells the tale that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons were they often would be beaten and tortured.

The third story was that Valentine sent the first valentine greeting himself. But it is believed that while in prison, Valentine fell in love with a young girl, who may have been the jailors daughter that visited him. Before his death, Valentine wrote her a letter which he signed “from your Valentine,” an expression that is still used today.

In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. The boys then sliced the goat’s hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goat hide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day around 498 A.D. The Roman “lottery” system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed.

Later, during the middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February, Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated of 1 billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas. 85% of all valentine cards are also purchased by women around the world.

The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
(“For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”)

This poem was written to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381. (When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old).

Valentine’s Day in modern times

Valentine’s Day has almost become a national holiday in the world known by everybody. Paper Valentines became so popular in England in the early 19th century that they were assembled in factories. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid-19th century. In the UK, just under half the population spend money on their Valentines and around 1.3 billion pounds is spent yearly on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts, with an estimated 25 million cards being sent. The reinvention of Saint Valentine’s Day in the 1840s has been traced by Leigh Eric Schmidt.

Shops selling cards and other romantic gifts can be seen several days before the festivity starts. Florists that have their best business of the year, prepare beautiful bouquets of exotic flowers. The most popular way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to go to a romantic dinner and spend time with the loved one. Although many criticize it also and think that it is only a money industry luring people to spend money, there are those who don’t want to celebrate it because it is an ancient Roman tradition. No matter what it is, I think it is sweet that people express their love to one another and take the opportunity to spend time together to nourish the relationship.

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

 

 

February 14th 2005 – Rafic Hariri’s assassination

Rafic Baha El Deen Al-Hariri (November 1, 1944 – February 14, 2005, was a business tycoon and the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation, 20 October 2004. He headed five cabinets during his tenure and dominated the country’s post-war political and business life and is widely credited with reconstructing Beirut after the 15-year civil war.

Hariri was born into a Sunni Muslim family, along with two siblings (brother, Shafic and sister Bahia) in the Lebanese port city of Sidon. Hariri attended elementary and secondary school in his city and pursued his business administration studies at the Beirut Arab University.

Assassination

Hariri was killed on February 14th, 2005 together with 21 others when explosives equivalent to around 1000 kg of TNT were detonated as his car drove past the St. George Hotel in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Among the dead were several of Hariri’s bodyguards and his friend and former Minister of the Economy Bassel Fleihan. The investigation, by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, into his assassination is still ongoing and currently led by the independent investigator Daniel Bellemare. In its first two reports, UNIIIC indicated that the Syrian government may be linked to the assassination. According to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation news investigation, the special UN investigation team had found strong evidence for the responsibility of the Hezbollah in the assassination. Hariri’s murder led to massive political change in Lebanon, including the Cedar Revolution and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Hariri was buried along with his bodyguards who died with him in their final resting place near Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque.

Aftermaths of the murder

The latest reports written by Brammertz has indicated that DNA evidence collected from the crime scene, suggests that the assassination might have been the act of a young male acting as a suicide bomber.

Syria was initially accused of the assassination, which led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon following widespread protests. Following Hariri’s death, there were several other bombings and assassinations against minor anti-Syrian figures. These included Samir Kassir, George Hawi, Gebran Tueni, Pierre Amine Gemayel, and Walid Eido. Assassination attempts were made on Elias Murr, May Chidiac, and Samir Shehade (who was investigating Hariri’s death).

The United Nations special tribunal (see Special Tribunal for Lebanon) investigating the murder of Hariri is expected to issue draft indictments accusing Hezbollah of murdering Hariri.

Hezbollah has accused Israel of the murder of Hariri and according to the Hezbollah officials; the assassination was planned by Mossad with the reason of putting the blame on Syria so that the Syrian army should be expelled from Lebanon soil.

In August 2010, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah presented “evidence”, comprising of intercepted Israeli spy-drone video footage, which he said implicated Israel in the assassination of Hariri. After an altercation between male Tribunal staff and women at a gynaecology clinic in October 2010, Hezbollah demanded that the Lebanese government stop all cooperation with the Special Tribunal, claiming the tribunal to be an infringement on Lebanese sovereignty by western governments. On October 2010, Hezbollah conducted a drill simulating a takeover of Lebanon – an operation which it threatened was to be carried out in the event that the international tribunal for the assassination Hariri indicts Hezbollah.

On the other side, it has been revealed by leaked US embassy cables that Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate director Omar Suleiman reported that Syria “desperately” wanted to stop the investigation of the Tribunal

Double Faced White Countryside – Immigrants Discriminated

Since the Days of Imperialism when The Armies of Napoleon raid the lands of seas, when the shine of Romans brightens the Earth, where the Tulips were not named, when the eastern snow showers the Greatness of St. Peter; those were the days when the dusk had fallen on the uniformed mother Earth where once the children of Adam & Eve roamed freely no matter what the color they belonged to, no matter what language they speak, what customs  they follow, Sky remains the same for them but when the Victorians born; Black looks to the shining sun & obeyed by the rules of falling stars, the earth changed its soil & the sky divides the shines of it blues for Rulers & Natives. The Europeans have followed their protective policy to safeguard their culture & nativity from immigrants & rising powers round the world. Where ever they went & colonized the land they destroyed the ethnicity of the races surviving from ages.  This was not the only way they threatened the survival of the human residences present their, they also followed the policy of Divide and Rule too, to make their strongholds in different nations preventing the locals to unite & form a single force against them. Behind the glorious white face their was & still a dark black face which only comes out when things go out of their hands & control just like the recent speech given by the three European Powers named the UK, France, Germany by their so called young & confused leaders named; David Cameroon, Nicolas Sarkozy & Angela Markel. They said that multiculturalism is a failure but the question arises why the situation arises that they said so & are following a stiff stand against the immigrants which they have attracted from their policies for so called Green / Blue Card Policies.

Problems faced by Immigrants: There are several problems faced by immigrants as soon as they land on their dream destinations of the false promises.

v  Blacks & other immigrants are paid less than the Whites

v  They are not promoted on the scale of Whites or too the similar ranks in most cases.

v  They cannot practice their religion & customs publicly in many neighborhoods of these countries.

v  They are looked down upon by the locals as inferior people due to their color & ethnicity.

v  They are hated & discriminated on the grounds of cheap labor who steals their jobs & lively hood by majority of Whites / locals.

v   Immigrants are the first ones to lose their jobs & facilities / privileges whenever these nations faced harsh circumstances just like in 9/11 more 1000 immigrants especially Muslims & Sikhs were arrested, in 7/7 London Bombing, during 2008 – 2009 Recession most of the people who lost their jobs & were deprived of the basic facilities were immigrants who have settled down in these countries for a better life were attracted by the immigration policies of these countries promoted & echoed by their leaders largely in order to attract more investments & skilled labor.

v  Racial attacks by the whites often takes place or sometimes become regular just like in Australia, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, USA, France, Spain, Denmark.

The environment of Brain Drain created by the so called First World / White Economies is just a false illusions’ which are dreamed by millions in Third World. & when the influx of these innocents arrive their dreams to come true they are forced to accept the harsh reality of this modern world, “the dreams shattered where blood curse the color of its skin for being black”.

Natives / Races affected by the colonization & immigration policies: Maori, Red Indians, Africans, Afghans, Caucasians, Persians, Indians (Aryans & Dravidian s), Uighur, Tibetans, Arabs, Amazonian s, Eskimos

News Headlines of February 14

Colombia’s FARC rebels release fourth hostage: Red Cross

By John Vizcaino IBAGUE, Colombia (Reuters) – Colombia’s FARC rebels released another hostage, bringing the total to four in the past week, but the additional handover of two kidnapped military officers was suspended, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Sunday.

Mexico gripped by violence: Two women and six men killed in drive-by shooting

A gunman opened fire on two women and seven men, killing all but one, in a drive-by shooting on the outskirts of Mexico City early this morning. The deaths are the latest in a terrifying surge of drug-related violence which has claimed the lives of almost 40 people across Mexico this weekend.

Young Protesters Revolt in Yemeni Capital

SANA, Yemen — Young protesters in Yemen squared off against security forces on Sunday, and some marched on the presidential palace in Sana, witnesses said, as a third day of demonstrations sought to emulate the revolution in Egypt.

Italian women rally against PM Silvio Berlusconi

TENS of thousands of women have taken to the streets of Italian cities in protest against scandal-hit Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, as a key rival launched a scathing attack on the embattled leader.

Egypt’s military rulers dissolve parliament

The Egyptian army has tightened its grip over the country by suspending the constitution, dissolving parliament, and calling for elections within six months, key demands of the protest movement that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt uprising could spark people’s movement in Afghanistan

“When once a nation begins to think, it is impossible to stop it,” Voltaire prophetically scribed more than a decade before the 1789 Storming of the Bastille. Not unlike French revolutionaries over 200 years ago, the people of Egypt have awoken after years of demoralization, making one wonder if and when a similar epic rousing shall be seen

Important Events on February 14

February 14: Valentine’s Day

  • 1912 – Arizona became the 48th and last of the contiguous United States to be admitted into the Union.
  • 1919 – The first serious armed conflict of the Polish–Soviet War took place near present-day Biaroza, Belarus.
  • 1949 – The Knesset, the legislature of Israel, convened for the first time, succeeding the Assembly of Representatives that had functioned as the Jewish community’s parliament during the British Mandate Era.
  • 1989 – A fatwa was issued for the execution of Salman Rushdie (pictured) for authoring The Satanic Verses, a novel Islamic fundamentalists considered blasphemous.
  • 2007 – The first of several bombings in Zahedan, Iran, claimed the lives of 18 members of the Revolutionary Guards.
  • 2008 – Steven Kazmierczak opened fire into a crowded lecture hall on the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, US, killing five and injuring 24.

 

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