Valentine's Day! A day of heart shaped chocolate boxes and public displays of affection. On Monday, Maastricht’s store fronts were covered in pink frilly decorations and the flower shops were teeming with customers. However, as sweet and unassuming as Valentine's day might look, the holiday provoked mixed emotions for many.
Some relish in the traditions of the holiday, opting to spend with their significant others. Some choose to celebrate “Galentines” with their friends, complete with a cheese board, card making, and head to toe pink outfits. Others express their love to many people in their lives including family and friends.
Then there are the Valentines cynics. Maybe they think the whole holiday is capitalist bullshit or maybe they are just downright lonely. Some even celebrate Singles Awareness Day instead. If you fall into this category I hope you stayed away from Instagram, it wasn’t your friend this Monday. Millions of people took to social media to express their love, primarily to their partners, or maybe their fancy dinner or the roses they received.
Personally, I think my one grievance with Valentine's day is that it feels forced. We go through the motions of what we are supposed to do on the day and then post all about it on our social media. Flowers, chocolates, dinner, etc. It's interesting to note that Valentine’s was once the pagan holiday Lupercalia, where the men would hit women in order to boost their fertility. Oh, how far we have progressed for the sake of revenue.
But in the end, the central message at Valentine’s day’s core is love. And what’s not great about love, whether it be familial, romantic or otherwise? I think it’s a great time to appreciate the people in our lives and the great thing that is love, in all shapes and sizes. Besides, it's nice to get flowers once in a while :).
Now, onto much more grim things, world news! What happened this week… Let's see. The superbowl was Sunday, if you Europeans (mostly) care about that. You might even care about it more than I do because I don’t even know which teams were playing. In other sports news, the Beijing Winter Olympics is coming to a close today.
Many people are voicing their frustration on social media after a popular UK game “Wordle” was bought by the New York Times. Many people believe that the words are becoming increasingly difficult. Maybe the Diplomat should come up with its own wordle, we would choose better words.
This week a lot of the headlines in newspapers have been about the possible invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The Russian- Ukraine situation has escalated with each passing day. Because of the shelling by Russian separatists, thousands have fled their homes. President Biden has said that he expects an invasion of Kyiv and Boris Johnson has said that he expects a large-scale war from Putin. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urges the West to put more sanctions and pressure on Russia before the situation turns violent.
The Canadian government decided to arrest more than one hundred of the protestors rallying against Covid-19 vaccinations and restrictions in Ottawa. The arrests were after the protestors allegedly turned violent and aussaltive towards police officers. Prime Minister Trudeu invoked rare emergencies to stop the protests. The US is concerned that a similar protest might happen in DC. Let’s hope the capital isn’t stormed.
Speaking of storms, storm Eunice passed over us Friday. Many of us went about our days regularly albeit the strong winds or occasional pour. All trains were canceled and some classes were as well. However, while the damage in Maasi was minimal, in the UK there were nine deaths and a multitude of destruction. Some rural areas in Scotland and England suffered from winds of 122 mph or 196 kmh.
New York City is to remove homeless people from subways following harrowing deaths and an upsurgence in crime in the city. Many people have been stabbed or pushed into the train tracks in the last few weeks, causing many horrifying deaths of commuters. Some people are happy that Eric Adams, the mayor, has started to take action against the dangerous conditions of the subways. However, others worry about the displaced homeless even though Adams has promised to relocate and offer support to the people affected. Just last week in NYC, Christina Yuna Lee was stabbed to death after a homeless man followed her into her apartment building and up to her floor. This is not only connected to the rise in crime but also a series of anti asian hate crimes.
In more local news, many of the coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands are being lifted, and just in time for Carnival. Whether you will be partying in Maastricht, traveling to remote corners of the globe, or going home to family, the MD wishes you a safe and nice break from your studies.