Valentine's Day and the Arab Spring: Not the Greatest Love of All

Published February 13th, 2012 - 17:18 GMT

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Mubarak hits rock bottom on trial.
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Image 1 of 12: Mubarak: “Didn't We Almost Have It All" (For 30 years he and his family were doing just fine living off the fat of the land. Now Husni Mubarak, in a state of frail health, faces his ongoing trial with a possible death sentence on the other side if found guilty of ordering the death of protesters.)

Iraqi soldier raises flag.
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Image 1 of 12: People of Iraq: "I Have Nothing". When all's said and done with Iraq, it's been a rough 30 years of on-off wars, and the people who have been left ravaged may be feeling a little hard done by. Some might even be feeling a little abandoned after the US cruel-to-be-kind withdrawal. It's about time they felt some love.

Palestinian children, Syrian children in military flares
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Image 1 of 12: Children of the Conflicts: "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?" Whether Palestinians from Gaza, Syrian children caught in the cross fire of revolution, children may be hurting this Valentine's Day.

Egyptian woman kisses a security police, Jan 25.
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Image 1 of 12: Egyptians, Syrians, Lebanese.. ok, All Arabs: "So Emotional". Let's not forget the Lebanese televised fiasco of emotionally charged rows and scuffles breaking up over politics, from 'Who Killed Hariri', to Whose Side Are 'We' On Anyway, with Syria's revolution.

Muammar Gaddafi's famous Zenga speech spoof.
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Image 1 of 12: Libyans: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”. The late Colonel Gaddafi's notorious "Zenga Zenga" speech-turned song, left Libyans dancing on the streets with euphoria once they'd said good bye to their murderous and long-serving dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Russia uses veto to block Syria sanctions.
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Image 1 of 12: Russia to Syria: "The Greatest Love of All" Enough said. This historical love has been tried and tested by time and changing strategic interests. Russia's not about to give up on its Syrian loving just yet.

China uses veto to block Syria sanctions.
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Image 1 of 12: China: "Saving All My Love for You". China can serenade Syria who it's 'saving' from certain ruin by maintaining its strategic veto on Syria sanctions that might weaken Assad's ability to keep his people dying in their thousands (to date.).

Bashar Al Assad is crushing his people.
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Image 1 of 12: Syria: "It’s Not Right But it’s Okay." (Bashar al Assad may be telling himself and his people that, as he continues to rain down terror on Homs).

Yemeni Saleh flies to US for medical care.
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Image 1 of 12: Yemen: Y for Yo-Yo, the leader who comes & goes. "Count on Me" (returning); "Until You Come Back". Ali Abdullah Saleh, the leader who pulled a sickie, assured his people that they could trust him, as he tenaciously clung to power, making 'leaving' noises here & there. He's on a medical time-out, but have his people seen the back of him for good?

Ali Abdullah Saleh suffered serious burns.
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Image 1 of 12: "I didn’t know my own strength" (or that I could last this long!) "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)." Once burnt, twice survived! A couple of false departures came before this latest medical leave of absence that took Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh across the Atlantic to the US for medical care.

Tawakkul Karman, Manal Al Shareef, Samira Ibrahim.
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Image 1 of 12: “Im Every Woman” (Left to right): Yemen's proud Nobel Peace Prize winner, Tawakkul Karman, Manal Al Shareef, who championed the Saudi women's driving cause in opposition to the long-time driving ban; and another heroine, Samira Ibrahim - the woman behind Egypt's ban of virginity tests.

Tunisia's ex-leader Ben Ali fled to Saudi
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Image 1 of 12: Tunisia's runaway leader: "Run to You" ('You' for this purpose being Jeddah, KSA). Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia's ex-ruler, stole off to Saudi Arabia one night, early in 2011, when the he couldn't take the heat of the revolution.

Where is the love in the Middle East this Valentine's Day?

In light of Valentine's Day and Whitney Houston's untimely death, so close to the calendar day on which we traditionally enjoy her love ballads, we decided to pair some of her greatest hit titles with some loveless Arab leaders, and some defining moments from the Arab Spring plus general war-torn region. While not without its moments of love and unity, this Arab season, more recentlly steeped in ongoing conflict, has been quite devoid of love. With no Whitney, and even less love, (though some Arab leaders, mid-conflict, might tell their people otherwise, that '"My love is your love"), we try to inject some much-needed love back to the region, courtesy of the greatest of all, Whitney Houston.

Where is the love in the Middle East this Valentine's Day? With leaders still at militant logger-heads with their own people, and broken hearts left over from war torn regions, Valentine's Day for Arabs at home might be as conflicted an occasion as love affairs universally can be.

 

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