St Valentine's Day, the day of love, celebrated every 14th February in almost all of the developed (and most of the developing) world, is, ironically, destined to be met with hatred by many in Pakistan,  especially by the powers-that-be.

Apparently Valentine's Day does more damage to the country by corrupting the youth than terrorism does by putting them in danger of getting blown apart.

The pet argument from the ‘Ban Valentine’ lobby is that since Valentine's Day comes from western culture, it is a morally corrupting poison for the 'pious' native culture.

Liberal people usually encounter this argument from the anti-Valentine-sort with arguments like "If you reject Valentine’s Day because it is a Western thing, then also reject phones, TVs, cars, planes, ACs etc because these are Western things too". The argument isn't self-evidently true. When presented with this argument, a Pakistani friend (impressively) replied, "Our Ulema have said that adopting a thing (product) from another culture is permissible. Adopting a way of life or thinking (culture) is not permissible."

But maybe, liberals, the ones making the initial argument are right.

The good Pakistani friend seems to not know that many products (technological or otherwise) are inevitably linked with units of culture, which Dawkins named memes. A meme is "an element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means". Western culture is collection of memes (a collective memeplex) which affects and is affected by the technological advances they are making. There are many memes associated with and enabled by food items, music, clothing and ways to connect and travel to name a few. If you eat McDonald's and wear jeans and sip a chilled Coke while posting iPhone/Android phone captured pictures on Facebook (products), you have adopted a few of Western memes. The way of life and invented technology of a culture are usually mutually enforcing and intertwined.  It is impossible to acquire technology while totally avoiding getting "polluted" with related memes from the donor culture.

So maybe if you are not ready for the meme parts of the donor culture, you should resist the technological parts too. Probably the early Mullahs who shouted "haram" at the sight of a radio, or television, or mobile phone were actually doing their backward way of life a favour. Because within their way of life, the sort of technology they would invent, if at all, would be the technology to keep sexes apart, not something like phones to bring people closer.

To take a few examples, the Internet will expose its users to different ideas around the world, through proxies if not directly. People will come to know about Valentine's Day, some will like it and celebrate it. Occasionally, phones will facilitate meetings of lovers, and occasionally backseats of cars will prove a welcome rendezvous. Technology is bound to bring with it options enabling the individuals of the recipient culture to think and behave differently and to have more autonomy over their actions. So, if you reject Friendship Day, Women's Day or Valentine's Day, and want to rid your pious culture of such abominations, by keeping people within a limit of thought and actions acceptable to you, maybe try using pigeons for your next campaign against such events.