In February 2013 I started Sweden and the Middle East Views site. Happy birthday to my site! I decided to celebrate it on Valentine’s Day for the message to come through.
What has happened with the site since? A lot. It has reached much more readers the last year and it’s been great to see some posts being so widely shared on social media.
And what has happened with the writer? A lot. Connecting with other people and the topics I write on through my site has been amazing, especially the ones on tolerance and intolerance. Connecting with so many inspiring people in this field, people who work to promote coexistence and reconciliation, has made me start to believe in the world again, that we have capacity to let go of fear and hatred, that we have the capacity to build trust and connect.
To celebrate the site’s second birthday, here’s a presentation to you of the five most popular posts during the last year:
1. My Failed Application to the Nazi Party Svenskarnas Parti
Nope, neither this time a racist party wanted to have me as a member. What better is, the small and scary Nazi party believed all my persistent, silly questions on a potential membership despite them being posted in their public Facebook groups. Maybe it scared off some potential voters. I changed the title of the post so it would be easier to find, so the numbers on shared times went down, but the post has been shared many times and broke my previous statistics record on the blog. After this blog post being widely shared I started to receive late night anonymous phone calls (that since stopped). Was it related? I have no idea. But it’s one of the blog posts I’m most satisfied with, because it pulled the pants down on this dangerous group few dared to approach.
2. Kurdish Mobilization for the Murdered Girl
The young Syrian-Kurdish refugee girl Dunya in Iraqi Kurdistan, who was murdered by her much older husband, whom she was in an arranged marriage with, took an unusual twist when the Kurdish society mobilized in protests against violence against women.
3. Hawzhin The Middle Eastern Feminist
It’s hard not to fall for the charismatic young woman Hawzhin Azeez, the manager of successful Facebook page The Middle Eastern Feminist and whose interview was very successful. Her reconciling approach obviously is appreciated – and needed – by many.
4. Tourism in Iraq – Another Country is Possible
The ambitious young Nawar Al Saadi, who was a PhD student in Tourism in Romania, started the Tourism in Iraq Facebook page, in order for people to see another side of Iraq. And people did, indeed.
5. How Do You Become an ISIS Terrorist?
I was on such an angry rant the night I wrote the post on how the US invasion of Iraq created the collapse of the once well functioning and developed Middle Eastern state, as I have seen it throughout the year in my different humanitarian missions. I had no idea it would be so appreciated, but hopefully some people reading it learned something new.
I love my site and for all of the readers out there, people who appreciate my site, but also the haters: much love to all of you on this Valentine’s Days Eve. Love is the strongest power of all.
Photo credit: craftsy.com. For the posts’ different photos, see original post