Today is the day of love, or so the countless text messages promoting special dinner offers, teasers of romantic TV shows, and an advert for a very special date worth Tk 9++ lakh offered by a hotel (that soon went viral) tell us.
You may agree or disagree with the concept of a special day to celebrate love. You may even look down upon it, calling it a “Western import”. You cannot, however, completely disregard its presence -- more vendors on the street selling roses, flower crowns everywhere, young couples in their best attire at the cafes and restaurants etc. Culture war aside, everything about love is right. We all need love, we all deserve love, and from the looks of it, there's an overabundance of it today.
But does love only entail romance? What about love for one's parents, siblings, friends, fellow human beings, motherland and mother earth?
According to Rohingya survivors, Myanmar soldiers stabbed babies, gang raped girls, burned entire families to death, and executed unarmed men. Human rights groups have alleged that the Myanmar troops had one goal: to erase entire Rohingya communities. Where is the love?
You probably remember the image of Omran Daqneesh, a five-year-old Syrian boy, sitting alone in an ambulance chair, covered in dust and blood. His stare is blank. He became the face of Syria's children, whom the world can't seem to save. Where is the love?
You may also recall Rajon, a Bangladeshi teenager, tied to a pole and being beaten by a group of men who accused him of stealing a rickshaw van. One of the attackers filmed the whole episode. The video, which not shockingly went viral, showed Rajon pleading for his life. He died of brain haemorrhage and around 64 injury marks were found on his body. Where is the love?
This Valentine's Day -- swimming in an ocean of love and flowers -- perhaps we should ponder: is there a serious dearth of love in this world? Does the world need a hug?
Karim Waheed is the Editor of SHOUT.