Homoeopathic national identity from @sweden

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.

A photograph of the Swedish flag flying against a blue sky.

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:

Homeopathic Patriotism?

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

Gonna adress that homeopathic swede part now. I was born in Iraq, been a Swede for a majority of my life, but for some that is not enough.@sweden / Naseer
In #myownview there is an extremist wind blowing over Europe, and Sweden is sadly not spared. A minority of people would like to divide us@sweden / Naseer
into ”us” and ”them”. And I am kind of a hippy and feel that we all should get along. So my silent protest is being a homeopathic http://laparkan.com/buy-vardenafil/ Swede.@sweden / Naseer
It does’t matter how much these forces try to alienate me, I’ll always be a Swede, as much as I’ll always be a homeopathic Iraqi.@sweden / Naseer
@sweden So do you use ‘homeopathic’ to say that although being Iraqi & Swedish seems to dilute your national ID, it actually strengthens it?John Coxon
@johncoxon better phrased than I could’ve put it. Yes, as an ”outsider” I appreciate Sweden on a little different level.@sweden / Naseer
@sweden That’s a really great sentiment, I like that a lot.John Coxon

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.

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 

1 Comment

  • James Shields

    20th August 2012 at 14:14

    Nicely put!

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