Valentine's Day: 'Crush this Love Capitalism'

Valentine's Day: 'Crush this Love Capitalism'
Photo Credit: Nadia Morgan@Flickr CC BY SA 2.0

What you need to know

'Religious overtones have been twisted and turned into a vehicle to make money.'

While couples are celebrating Valentine's Day around the world today, in some countries there is concern over people celebrating love and affection.

In Pakistan, where Valentine’s Day is increasingly popular among young people, a court on Monday banned public celebration of Valentine's Day in the capital Islamabad, and also called for the media to stop promoting Valentine's Day, Channel News Asia reports. The court issued the order after a petitioner declared love was being used as a "cover" to spread "immorality, nudity and indecency."

The decision by the Islamabad high court was the latest attempt by authorities in conservative Muslim countries to outlaw Valentine’s Day, which was seen by many as a “vulgar and indecent Western import,” Channel News Asia reports.

In West Java, Indonesia, the Education Agency issued a circular on Monday banning students in the conservative province from celebrating Valentine’s Day, saying the Western tradition was against prevailing “religious, social and cultural norms,” The Jakarta Post reports. Several cities across the country likewise banned people from celebrating Valentine’s Day.

The West Java officials were reportedly worried that Valentine’s Day would encourage sexual activity and drug use among students. The circular was sent to 27 education agencies in the province, aiming to “build good moral character in students and prevent them from engaging in activities that contravened religious, social and cultural norms,” The Jakarta Post reports.

Also in Indonesia, in the city of Surabaya where celebrating Valentine’s Day has not been banned, a group of students denounced Valentine’s Day as a “Western celebration that encourages casual sex” and staged a protest, The Straits Times reports. The students who were aged between 13 and 15 said that they have seen on television that Valentine's Day tends to be associated with free sex and “that makes us afraid."

A group in Japan is also calling for the public to stop celebrating Valentine’s Day. The group of Marxist protesters known as "Kakuhido," or the Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women find Unattractive, set out to the streets in Tokyo on Feb. 12 to protest against celebrating Valentine’s Day, claiming that the display of love hurts their feelings.

The protesters held signs such as “Smash Valentine’s Day” and “Public smooching is terrorism!” The Japan Times reports. The group's public relations chief Takayuki Akimoto said the their goal is to “crush this love capitalism."

"People like us who don't seek value in love are being oppressed by society," Akimoto said. "It's a conspiracy by people who think unattractive guys are inferior, or losers - like cuddling in public, it makes us feel bad. It's unforgivable."

The group is also concerned by Japanese businesses that are over-commercializing the festival.

“You’re judged by how many sweets you get. It’s a business strategy by the chocolate capitalists, it’s ridiculous,” Akimoto said. “Religious overtones have been twisted and turned into a vehicle to make money.”

In Columbia, drug dealing is a major concern associated with Valentine’s Day. Each year Colombian police and flower growers must check thoroughly for any cocaine hidden in their flower exports ahead of February 14. Last year, police said they found almost 200 pounds (90 kilograms) of cocaine hidden in flower boxes, the Associated Press reports.

Editor: Edward White