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Valentine and Barak Obama

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By: Wassef Moukalled  



Page 22 Profile News USA Edition March-09 بروفايل نيوز
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Valentine and Barak Obama
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I don’t intend in this article to discuss politics; I’m not a politician, nor am I familiar with its back roads. I’m a great believer in the Lebanese saying: “Politics has neither a mother nor a father.”
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I find myself without an invitation, standing on the stage of current affairs, under a white silky poster, secured by the ropes of love and hope that reads:”Valentine-Barak Obama.”
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So, what is the similarity between these two men?
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Let me first talk about February 14. In this day of every year, lovers sharpen their efforts and squeeze their hearts, to write their ” valentinian” emotions on more than a billion cards, and spend more than two billion dollars on chocolate and roses.
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One legend contends that in 270 AD Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young soldiers. He decided that married soldiers were weak and emotionally attached to their families; therefore, they cannot perform their duties zealously and accurately.
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Valentine, the young Bishop of the Catholic Church in Rome, realizing the injustice of the decree to moral, love and humanity, decided to defy this unfair ruling and perform marriages for young lovers in secret, even if it meant he would be jailed, which was exactly what happened.
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When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. During his stay in jail, his jailor, Estrous, asked him to heal his blind daughter. He is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind girl.
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Claudius was impressed by Valentine’s morals and courage, and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead.  Here, the Emperor reminded Valentine of his fate should he refuse his proposal.
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Valentine stood like a very courageous man, and told Claudius “I choose love over fear,” and that is when Claudius ordered the execution of Valentine which was on 2-14-270, and that is how that day became a symbol for all lovers.
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Barak Obama is like Valentine, and just like Valentine, rebelled in the name of love against the Emperor even if that meant saving his own life, Obama rebelled against a society, which not too long ago, insisted that his ancestors set on the back seats of a bus.
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He also turned down great offers and incentives and preferred to work in the streets of Chicago as a Community Coordinator with a humble salary, only to improve their well-being and see a smile on their faces, exactly like Valentine enjoyed a smile on the faces of his soldiers.  In 270 Valentine Stood to tell the Emperor “I choose love over fear,” and on January 20-2009 Obama stood to tell the world “I choose hope over fear.”
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Is it coincidental or there is only one heart that beats in the chest of all the greats?  It has been almost 1800 years since we welcomed Valentine to our hearts and only days since Obama was welcomed to the hearts of most Americans and the world.
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Just like Valentine was committed to love and humanity, Barak Obama is also committed to hope and to a better life for all the poor. Both of them gave from within despite all the choices which they were given.
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History has been fair to Valentine, and a democratic America has also been fair to this Afro-American, whose ancestors were prohibited from entering a restroom specifically for the whites.
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Valentine healed that young blind girl, and here Obama is trying to rescue a wounded world from the claws of a vicious global economy. 
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Who knows, the historians of the first century may write about Obama’s revolution exactly like the historians of the twenty-first century wrote about Valentine.
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I’m anticipating a day when Hallmark replaces its “love card” with a “hope card”, or when we replace the February 14th holiday with January 20th, the day when Obama became the forty-fourth president of the greatest country on earth.

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