Valentine’s Day teddy bears against dictatorship in Bahrain

Teddy bears starting to appear at barricades before #Bahrain Feb 14 anniversary

From GlobalVoices:

Teddy Bears Face Off with Police as Bahrain Marks its Fourth Anniversary of Anti-Regime Protests

Posted 14 February 2015 17:05 GMT

Written by Amira Al Hussaini

For the past four years, Bahrainis have been marking Valentine’s Day with massive protests, which are faced with a brutal clampdown by the regime. This year is no different, except that protesters, in keeping with the spirit of Valentine’s, took with them stuffed teddy bears to face off with the riot police.

On February 14, 2011, Bahrainis joined the bandwagon of protesters across the Arab world and staged anti-regime protests, which ushered a new era of widespread human rights abuses, arbitrary arrests of thousands of Bahrainis and the killing of protesters and bystanders, including women and children.

This year protesters marked the anniversary with a three-day strike, in which businesses in villages and protest areas shut down.

According to Bahrain Mirror, an opposition online publication in Arabic, the teddy bear has become a “political icon” used by the protesters for “political satire.”


The village of Diraz, west of Manama, was the first village to see the appearance of the teddy bear with the start of the strike, announced by the revolutionary forces.

Copycat teddy bears soon popped up across villages in Bahrain, and were placed at barricades put up by the protesters to protect themselves from police attacks.

Teddy bear

Bahraini human rights activist detained, family claim risk of torture. Hussain Jawad is being held by Bahraini police officers for reasons unknown according to family members: here.

Smith’s longspurs, Valentine’s Day birds

This video says about itself:

The Smith’s Longspur Project: 2013 Field Season

5 September 2013

© 2013 Jared Hughey
All Rights Reserved

The Smith’s Longspur (Calcarius pictus), one of the least studied songbirds in North America, breeds on the arctic tundra and has become a species of conservation concern. I spent the summer working as a field technician for Heather Craig, a Master’s student at University of Alaska Fairbanks who is studying the breeding ecology of this polygynandrous species in the foothills of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska.

From eNature Blog in the USA:

Record Setting Lovebird! The Smith’s Longspur May Be Nature’s Champion Lover

Posted on Monday, February 09, 2015 by eNature

Are you the type that has an insatiable appetite for lusty affairs?

Do you seek the same qualities in a partner?

Then you’ll probably enjoy the story of the Smith’s Longspur. This bird’s 70’s swinging style is enough to make even Hugh Hefner blush.

Arctic Summers, Midwest Winters

Small like a sparrow, the Smith’s Longspur spends its summers in Alaska and Canada and its winters in the Midwest and the South, often congregating in open fields.

In terms of range, then, it’s a lot like some other species. What sets the Smith’s Longspur apart is its astonishing libido.

An Insatiable Appetite For Love

At the peak of the spring mating season, the typical Smith’s Longspur copulates more than 350 times a week. The females solicit these encounters, and the males cooperate roughly half the time.

Otherwise the creatures are resting and refueling—for their fall migration or just to maintain their busy love lives!

You can always plan eNature’s Mating Game to find what creature you most resemble in love.

As hard as it may be to believe given the cold affecting much of the country, but spring is only a month or so away!

Have you seen any signs of the plants and animals in your neighborhood preparing for warmer times and the new life the spring season brings?

We always enjoy your stories.

John James Audubon named the Smith’s Longspur after his friend Gideon B. Smith.

More about the Smith’s Longspur is here.

Valentine’s Day for animals

This video is called Valentine’s Day Animals: Compilation.

From eNature blog in the USA:

Valentine’s Day In The Wild— There’s A Lot Going On Out There!

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 by eNature

Some folks love it, others dread it. But no matter what your feelings about Valentine’s Day, there’s no avoiding it.

And it’s not just humans— animals in the wild are succumbing to Cupid’s arrows as well.

Take a a walk through your backyard or a backcountry hike and you’ll likely be confronted by a courtship ritual of some sort. For the animals engaged in such displays, though, the whole month of February, not just Valentine’s Day, is meant for romance.

Despite the chill that remains in much of North America, Raccoons, Minks, river otters, Gray and Red Foxes, Coyotes, and skunks all take time off from their mid-winter hunting to prowl for partners. Groundhogs start to look around longingly soon after they emerge from their long winter’s sleep, and many of their rodent kin, from California Kangaroo Rats to Black-tailed Prairie Dogs, also consider February just the right time for rubbing noses.

Birds, too, at least a few of them, hit their romantic stride during the second month of the year. Great Horned Owls start hooting it up in December but mostly wait till now to take care of their romantic business. Male Red-winged Blackbirds return to much of the continent in February and start right in displaying and singing for prospective females, while American Woodcocks stage their delightfully bizarre courtship performances in the February twilight. And in the swamps of southern Florida, ungainly looking Wood Storks make hay in the February sunshine.

Also out under bright sunny southern skies are myriad butterflies looking for love. There are large Pipevine Swallowtails and diminutive Western Pygmy-Blues in Texas, gorgeous Zebra Heliconians and Gulf Fritillaries in Florida, Spring Azures and Long-tailed Skippers in the other Gulf States, and dainty Desert Marbles and Desert Orangetips in the Southwest. Wherever and whenever you see butterflies flying, even in February, you can rest assured that half of them are males on the lookout for lepidopteran love.

As for amphibians, their amorous inspiration comes in the form of a nice February rain. And when the rain falls, the amphibians emerge from their hibernation and march straight to breeding pools. Pond frogs, treefrogs, toads, and salamanders of all kinds take to the mating trail in February in the southern parts of the United States. The male frogs are at their vociferous best in their choruses to attract mates, while male salamanders vie for partners, too, though without the audible fanfare.

Even fish feel frisky these days, especially the Rainbow Trout in the Smokies and the Largemouth Bass in Texas. The same is true for animals in saltier waters: Humpback Whales, Northern Right Whales, Gray Seals, and Northern Elephant Seals have love on their marine-mammal minds, while far to the north in the pitch-black darkness of the Arctic winter Walruses have a gleam in their eyes.

Environmentalists’ Valentines Day Wish: Stop Selling Bee-Harming Plants: here.

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Polar bears’ Valentine’s Day

This video is called Mother Polar Bear and Cubs Emerging from Den – BBC Planet Earth.

From eNature blog:

Three Guys For Every Girl— Why Male Polar Bears Have A Tough Time Getting A Date

Posted on Wednesday, February 05, 2014 by eNature

Valentine’s Day is coming up and love is in the Arctic air.

So what’s the best place for a male Polar Bear to meet a potential mate?

The experts recommend going to a prime seal-hunting spot. But finding such a spot is only the beginning of the challenge.

Nature Doesn’t Make It Easy

One reason a male Polar Bear must work overtime for a date is that females of the species don’t breed every year or even every other year. A female Polar Bear usually breeds only once every three years, which means that males outnumber eligible females three-to-one at the start of breeding season in the spring.

So competition for female attention is fierce, and males must fight one another, sometimes viciously, for the privilege of mating.

The Girls Can Play Hard To Get

Further complicating matters is the fact that female Polar Bears enjoy a good chase and will lead pursuing males across the ice for miles and miles.

In some cases, a chase can cover more than sixty miles—not for the timid or the weak of heart.

And we all thought it was tough to get a date to the Prom!

Without the vibrant color of a cardinal or the sweet song of a sparrow, how does a seabird go about attracting its mate? Here.

St Valentine’s Day is traditionally the time when birds start to choose their mates, with egg-laying for most resident species commencing in March or April. For a handful of birds, including Tawny Owl, Mistle Thrush and Dipper, nesting may already be under way in February, but numbers of these three early breeders are falling rapidly, according to the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) BirdTrends report, published on-line today: here.

The secret of how the polar bear copes with a high-fat diet without getting a heart attack can be found in the creature’s genetic makeup according to scientists who have analysed the genome of the world’s greatest living land predator: here.

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Love poetry on the Internet

This video is about Dutch poetess Anne Vegter.

From Poetry International in the Netherlands:

It’s been a busy month so far here at Poetry International. We kicked off February with the first annual Dutch-language Poetry Week. During this week all kinds of poetry activities took place in the Netherlands and Flanders, including the VSB Poetry Prize awards, which saw Ester Naomi Perquin take home the prize for her collection Celinspecties (Cell Inspections). This year we also saw former Dutch Poet Laureate Ramsey Nasr replaced by Anne Vegter, and attended the very first national Poetry Ball in Amsterdam.


Now, to help you celebrate (or ignore) Valentine’s Day in style, we’ve collected a number of articles, poems, audio recordings, and videos for the occasion.In several articles from our substantial archives, poets from India, Israel, and Japan talk about having to fight those we love, the torments of love, and poetry as love.

You can also take our love poem tour. Below are a number of poems from around the world, selected by our staff and covering love from all different angles:

“I LOVE SLEEP” by Ouyang Yu (Australia)
LOVE’S BANKS by Leonard Nolens (Belgium)
THE 50 LOVERS THAT LIVE IN MY BODY by Chen Kehua (China)
5. THE SKY LOVES YOU SILENTLY by Milko Valent (Croatia)
AGAINST LOVE by Charl-Pierre Naudé (South Africa)
TO A LOVE POET by Dennis O’Driscoll (Ireland)
MY FIRST PROPER GIRLFRIEND by Robert Adamson (Australia)
PORTRAIT OF THE HUSBAND AS FARMERS’ MARKET by Tiffany Atkinson (United Kingdom)
THE POET’S FRIEND by Jotamario Arbeláez (Colombia)
LINOLEUM AND LOVE by Noel Rowe (Australia)
LOVE IS A HABIT by Megan Hall (South Africa)
NEW LOVER by Shuijing Zhulian (China)
LOVE by Cecilie Løveid (Norway)
LOGIC IN LOVE by Esther Jansma (Netherlands)

Our video pick of the week is Thomas McCarthy’s ‘How to Recognise Your Lover’. Be sure to check our homepage (or our Facebook page) every day for the next week for a new love-related audio Poem of the Day.

Anna Enquist

The release of Anne Enquist’s new poetry collection Een kook van klank (A Cage of Sound) marked the start of the 2013 Dutch-language Poetry Week. Readers who bought poetry in the Netherlands during the Week of Poetry also received Anna Enquist’s collection as a gift.

All of the poems in Een kooi van klank also appeared on the Poetry International website, accompanied by English translations and readings by Enquist herself.


Afghan women march against violence

This video says about itself:

Afghan Member of Parliament Malalai Joya speaks about the troubling and declining status of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Interview recorded September 2006.

Malalai Joya was illegally expelled from the Afghan parliament by the pro-warlord pro-NATO Kabul government.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Afghan women join global demand to end violence

Thursday 14 February 2013

by Our Foreign Desk

Hundreds of Afghans marked Valentine’s Day today by marching in Kabul to denounce violence against women.

Rights groups found last year that more and more Afghan women are being attacked, despite harsher laws and officials’ pledges to prosecute the perpetrators.

Activist Humaira Rasouli said the marchers wanted violence against women “to be eliminated or at least reduced in Afghanistan,” but unfortunately it “is increasing day to day.”

Riot police stood guard as women and men walked from the Darul Aman Palace outside Kabul to an area near parliament.

Today’s march was peaceful, unlikely previous protests that had been marred by stone-throwing and insults.

It was part of the global One Billion Rising campaign that demands an end to violence against women and uses Valentine’s Day to highlight abuse.

Similar demonstrations were held around the world.

Flashmobs, marches, singing and dances were planned in about 200 countries and, significantly, many occurred in countries where women’s rights are severely held back by religious or social manacles.

In Bangladesh, acid attack survivors rallied across the country.

Monira Rahman of the Acid Survivors’ Foundation said: “It is important to mobilise society in this way to break the silence surrounding violence against women and show that people from all backgrounds have zero tolerance for it.

“In Bangladesh there is currently a big movement against war criminals and we are linking these huge demonstrations to One Billion Rising, because these men severely violated women and encouraged others to rape during the war.”

Indians also protested in New Delhi, Mumbai and other cities, galvanised by the recent fatal gang-rape that shocked the country.

In Indonesia, hundreds of students in Sumatra and Central Java held Valentine’s Day protests on Wednesday.

In Peru the mayor of Lima, Susana Villaran, officially declared today One Billion Rising Day.

From European capitals to Asian villages women and their supporters made the message clear: violence against women must stop.

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