I’m sure I’m not the only person following @sweden on Twitter — in fact, I know I’m not, since that account has 67,580 followers at the time of writing. For those who don’t follow, the premise is simple; every Monday, a different Swede is given the chance to broadcast on behalf of their country for a week. I have followed a broad range of interesting people by following @sweden, but this week I have the pleasure of following a Swede who usually tweets as @naseeral. His name is Naseer Alkhouri, a thirty-one-year-old games developer living in Stockholm, and he was born in Iraq before going to Sweden when he was young.
Initially, I was somewhat sceptical about following Naseer, because his Twitter biography mentions that he is a ‘homeopathic Swede’ [sic] which started alarm-bells jangling in my head.1 When someone I don’t want to follow begins to use this type of account, I usually use TweetBot to mute them for a week2. Having said that, I always give a new user the benefit of the doubt and so I hadn’t yet muted @sweden despite those alarm bells.
I’m glad I didn’t, due to the exchange that occurred between me and @sweden earlier today:
This week, @sweden has been operated by a user called @naseeral who describes himself as a ‘homeopathic Iraqi’ and ‘homeopathic Swede’. He uses the word outside its ‘medical’ meaning, to convey a different concept.
Storified by John Coxon · Mon, Aug 20 2012 04:16:21
This is such a beautiful concept that I really wanted to post this on my blog and bring it to the attention of the few readers I have. I’ve always been patriotic; I love the United Kingdom and I love being British. One of the best things about the Olympics which have just rushed past was the huge feeling of national pride across Britain — but it was the way that that national pride was married to a feeling of mutual respect for other countries that really, really made me happy.
I live in Leicester, a city in the Midlands of England that has a population which is around 30% Asian according to Wikipedia. I have always felt uncomfortable with the idea that you can’t be properly British if you’re an immigrant, or from a different culture, or whatever else people will try to use to exclude you. The idea of a homoeopathic national identity — a phenomenon which makes you stronger both at your root and in your new setting — really takes my breath away. I am very glad to @sweden and to @naseeral for introducing me to it.
- I suspect there are a large number of my readers for whom a similar effect occurs whenever they see someone using homoeopathy as anything other than a curse word. ↩
- I have done that, this week, with @PeopleOfUK — the author is using an irritating thought bubble ASCII graphic on every tweet which is doing my head in. ↩