The Kurdish Globe
By Sazan M. Mandalawi
Valentine's Day was almost over. It was late at night, right before the clock struck 12. Here, in the student accommodation, with knock after knock at my door the girls entered. First came my Kurdish friend. "He sent me a song," she said, still talking about which song when I heard thesecond knock. This friend wasfrom the UAE. "Stupid time difference," she began. The couple did not speak enough on Skype and poor guy had to work the next day. However, they did manage to have a "romantic" dinner together--via Skype, of course. We were still engaged in this discussion when the Greek girl a few rooms down the corridor walked in.
Typically,we ask about her loverbefore she can even find a placeto sit down. "We had a fight," she replied.But let me point out she had received jewelry in the mail three days in advance of the "special" day. As we laughedover how a couplecouldfightduring Valentine's Day, the Indian girl next door entered. She had alarge smile on her face; it was no secret she had received a large box with even larger balloons with cheesy comments written on them like "Love you lots."
That was my room minutes before the end of Valentine's Day.Very international and proof of the extent to which this day has crossed borders and become international. I listened to the talk with a tub of ice cream next to me and offeredFerrero Rochers for the happy and not-so-happy girls.It's allis a joke tome, as I feellike I have grown too old for all this, though I am the youngest of them all.
Looking at statuses and Twitter updaters from back home,it seems like it was no different there either. In Kurdistan, there were actual Valentine's Day parties, and restaurants and hotels had special offers for the day and some malls put together events.
Along with laughter and tears, everybody understands the language of love, even if it remains unspoken. However, it is always interesting to read debates among Kurds of whether or not Valentine's Day should be celebrated. One of the comments made on someone's status who disapproved of the celebration of a lover's day read: "I know one day you will buy your future wife a gift on Valentine's Day," and the response was: "I will buy my wife a gift on ANY DAY of the year!"
On a personal level, I am not against occasions that bring people together and spread feelings of contentment, even if for a day. Buta day for lovers makes me question the extent towhich society--in fact, the world--is importing new ideas and cultures through globalization. By the way, there is no problem with that. It reveals that it is not just terrorism and violence that can cross borders, but so can love. But at the end of the day,Valentine's Day is a commercial scam and "lovers"are falling for it.
Valentine"s Day, unfortunately, is not all love, balloons and candles. Just imagine the number of girls who year after year wish that next year they have a Prince Charming in their lives that will make the effort to send a flower, write a love letter or surprise her with anything special. Year after year those girls sleep on the night of February 14 and mark it in their diaries asthe most depressing day of the year.
In the context of Kurdistan,Valentine's Dayis widely celebrated among the youth, but within a few years time it is going to be a national occasion and may even blend and become part of our culture. ButI still think if we have a day for loversthenit should be celebrated on Wali Diwana's birthday or other famous lovers who have their own Romeo and Juliet stories.