Love comes in different forms. Sometimes it comes as a nice gesture, a spoken word, a flower given, a poem written, a chocolate gifted, or even a teddy bear crafted in brown and red. But do people still believe in love? Does the concept still make sense with all the hustle and bustle of our busy lives?
A few days ago, Egyptian actor Tamer Hosni posted comments that went viral about his upcoming film that revolves around a romantic relationship. The film speaks volumes about the concept of love and how women express their love and how men express theirs.
It delves deep into love as a concept and how it can be expressed. Though it is not the first time that this renowned singer and actor has played a romantic role, it is the first time a film with him has tackled the concept of love and how partners should always build their relationship.
Writer and poet Maysara Salaheddin agrees that love needs to be nourished and grown. “It is a mutual relationship, not a one-sided relationship. Partners should work together to grow and harvest the seeds of their love at every moment of their lives,” he said.
His poem Al-Assad Al-Helw (Beautiful Lion) expresses the idea that women should be courageous and self-determining like a lion in order to survive the challenges they face.
He thinks love can be two-fold. “Places and humans are always in a love relationship. One is always connected to places and to locations, certain streets, certain buildings, certain areas that exist in our memories. This is one kind of love I believe in,” he said. “We have a constant romance relationship with places,” he added, expressed in plays like Tram Al-Raml (Raml Station) and Dar Al-Sheikh Ali (Sheikh Ali’s House).
He also believes that the unconditional bond that exists between children and parents is another kind of love that cannot be dispensed with. “It is a sacred kind of love which changes its forms according to our children’s growing process,” he added.
On 14 February, the world witnessed the celebration of love on Valentine’s Day when lovers express their affection with special gifts and cards. The day originated in the third century CE with St Valentine in Rome. The Roman emperor Claudius wanted to ban marriage in the military because he thought married men made bad soldiers. Valentine fought this decree and arranged marriages in secret, causing him to be sentenced to death.
“I believe that any person who lives with love and who is raised in an environment full of love will be a happy and loving person. This will appear psychologically, emotionally, mentally and in all walks of life. A person who is not raised to be loved and to love usually turns out to be a selfish and negative person who is not able to give any of his feelings because he has not experienced them himself,” said Hossam Abdel-Kader, deputy editor of October magazine.
For Abdel-Kader, when it comes to a romantic relationship, love is simply life. In other words, love is not only confined to feelings exchanged between two partners, but rather is bigger than just feelings.
“If we understand that love is a complete life strategy in which we will meet obstacles, we will comprehend the concept of love as it should be. We will realise that life comes with all the love it gets,” Abdel-Kader said.
Valentine’s Day is not only celebrated by couples, and singles celebrate Valentine’s Day as never before today. As love has never been restricted to a romantic relationship with a partner, people are keener now to share their love with the other people they love.
“Love for me is quality family time, loving my friends, and loving my job,” said Heidi Eissa, a teacher in the Language Department of the College of Language and Communication in Alexandria.
“The love of my family is a huge support. Loving my friends boosts me emotionally and socially. That’s why I feel that love is always in the air in the environment I am living in,” Eissa said. “I showed love today by giving a gift to my head of department. I also gave my mother and my aunt special gifts, and they did the same to me.”
Eissa believes that these gestures really matter and show that we are all human at the end of the day. “Yes, little gestures really matter,” said Maher Mounir on a Facebook group a week ago as he travelled on an international airline.
Mounir, an information technology specialist at a British school in Egypt, experienced a beautiful gesture from the airline he was travelling with that made him really feel appreciated. “When I was on my way back to Egypt, I found the pilots and crew were all wearing flowers and doing their best to show appreciation to the passengers,” Mounir said.
“They made the passengers happy by giving each one a chocolate dessert and by their precious smiles,” he added. “Such small gestures made all the passengers feel loved, appreciated, and cherished. It takes very little to make people happy.”
*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 March, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.