Iraq and Afghanistan taught me that I could weep at the suffering of people I'd had never met but until the Egyptian Revolution I did not know that I could dance in the street to celebrate something happening on the other side of the world.
The fight to make the world an acceptable place is far from over but today there is a lot to be happy about. This Valentine's Day, anyone who has smiled or wooped with joy at the happenings in Egypt has felt love.
Because what is solidarity if not love on a mass scale? Solidarity is love which jumps across borders and boundaries. Solidarity is love - fighting and being willing to die for the freedom of a stranger.
So as waves of protest rock the world, let us not mire ourselves in gloom and predictable introspection on Valentine's Day, let us instead raise the flag of international solidarity even higher and know that we are all united by our fight for a better world.
Five reasons to be happy on Valentine's Day.
- Mubarak has gone. The love shown between the Egyptian demonstrators has been an example to us all. It is something that Hallmark could never fit on a card. Christians stood guard as their Muslim brothers and sisters prayed and then Muslims stood watch over the Christian mass held to mark the sacrifice paid by the fallen demonstrators. Yesterday as police tried to clear the remaining protesters from the square, thousands flooded back to defend them.
- The Revolution that has now claimed Tunisia and Egypt has taken seed in Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Palestine... no dictator or unjust leadership will be sleeping soundly in their beds. Their discomfort is our joy.
- A million Italian women marched yesterday to tell Berlusconi to get lost. In a show of angry solidarity, Italy's women make it clear to Berlusconi that his regime of corruption, disrespect and abuse of women is at an end.
- Gay men and women will have the right to be married. In Church. What better celebration of Valentines Day than to know that the half way house era of civil-partnerships seems to be coming to an end.
- Here in the UK, anti-cuts opposition to the Condem cuts is growing at an unprecedented speed. People are choosing unity over division and working together on a myriad of campaigns to save our public services, NHS, homes libraries and forests. Whilst Cameron is increasingly criticised and isolated the rest of us are uniting.
Thanks to Alistair Cartwright for additional input
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