Happy Valentine’s Day
February 14th: a day for sweethearts and remembering Rafik Hariri.
First, the sweethearts.
As of a few days ago, I started noticing shops completely decked out in red for Valentine’s Day. It is unlike anything I have seen in the States. Even the souk in Saida had it’s fair share of Valentine’s trinkets and lingerie. Saturday night I went to grab a bite to eat in Zahleh and the restaurant was filled with red heard balloons and the outside was lit up with red lights for the occasion. The Lebanese sure seem to love Valentine’s Day.
And for Hariri.
For my non-Lebanese readers, today is the 6th anniversary of the assassination Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. As of last week, it was declared a public holiday so we unexpectedly got the day off of school. Yesterday I went to Saida with some teacher friends and we saw these billboards plastered all over the highway and city for the holiday. Apparently this is how we remember assassinated Prime Ministers here in Lebanon. All of us (Canadians and Americans) thought the image of Hariri surrounded by flames (images from the bombing that killed him) with a lei, and the phrase Allahu Akbar (God is Great) was a curious way to honor the dead, but perhaps you have to understand Islamic culture better to get it?
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!