14th February - a day to celebrate!

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14 February: a day to celebrate!

by Mari Marcel Thekaekara


One Billion Rising - dancing on the streets of West Hollywood. (Rebecca Dru under a Creative Commons Licence)

It’s Valentine’s Day. Not a traditional Indian holiday. For the last few years, some parts of the population, led by angry politicians, have attacked young couples – they say they are becoming Western. They have smashed the windows of shops that sell Valentine’s Day cards and gifts. But commercialization of young love continues.

And now, women’s groups have made this day an international celebration of women from all over the world. Last year, I wrote on 14 February about the One Billion Rising campaign. I was in Gujarat, celebrating the day, dancing and singing with a few thousand women and the men who supported them. There was music, dancing, everyone was happy and full of energy. We forgot, for a short while, the problems and domestic violence that our women – and women everywhere – suffer.

This year, the global movement led by Eve Ensler has grown. The women are so happy. They have made this day their own day. It includes women and people from every religion, colour and class. It brings hope and joy, maybe only for a few minutes, to everyone there. It gives women a small bit of sunshine to take back with them – even if their lives have very little hope. They remember something bigger, better and happier. They hope that perhaps life will be a little different for their daughters.

We can feel the excitement. It’s happening all over Africa, the US, Britain, every part of India, Pakistan, Asia, and even Afghanistan.

You can be part of it this weekend, wherever you are! If you can’t, watch the videos and be a part of this historic women’s movement.

The World is RISING - Follow the Action LIVE!

Around the world, women, men and children in their communities demanding justice.

There are thousands of events planned worldwide: dancing in universities; at the High Court in Bangladesh; in Trafalgar Square in London; at game parks in Swaziland; against the militarization of mines in the Philippines; in Ministries of Women; in areas of war; in Siloe, Haiti; at the Palace of Justice in Rome; in New York City; at City Hall in San Francisco; at the International Criminal Court; in prisons, and more!

You can follow and support the campaign: Watch the risings track the sun from east to west via Livestream to get a sense of the global impact. ONEBILLIONRISING.ORG (http://www.onebillionrising.org/)

Twitter users: Please post all your updates using the #1BillionRising and #rise4justice hashtags.

Facebook users: Post your photos for your friends on our wall so we can share them.

Google+ users: Join our One Billion Rising Event and upload your photos directly from your mobile device!

Instagram-ers: Be sure to tag your shots #1BillionRising #rise4justice YouTube stars: #1BillionRising #rise4justice

Get on the World Map: Upload and geotag your photos and video here: http://www.onebillionrising.org/upload-media/

We want to see you all RISE on 14 February!