WordPress says it’s been year since I created Middle East Revised, so today is MER’s first birthday! I am not big on my own birthday celebrations, but this birthday I really wanted to celebrate. I even baked a cake. I am serious. Here is a photo.
It’s been a long year. I actually can’t believe only a year passed since I started writing this blog, because it became such an important part of my everyday life. It wasn’t easy to post regularly and to keep a decent level of quality of the content, since most of my time is spent working to earn a living, and my time for writing is usually late in the evening or early in the morning. But I managed to do it. Because I want to do it. I hope one day I will have more time and money to be able to fully dedicate myself to writing and journalism. This whole year, with most of my free time dedicated to reading, writing and posting here, as exhausting as it was at certain times, made it absolutely clear that writing (about Middle East) is what I want to do. So I’ll just continue doing that.
Here are some of my ♡ favourite posts, a ☼ thank you note and a little bit of ✍ statistics (for those who believe in numbers).
♡ Favourite posts
Favourite Remembering… Sessions: There were a lot of people I wanted to remember this year, so Remembering… sessions ended up as a long list. I particularly enjoyed remembering Edward Said, Pablo Neruda, Nadia Anjuman, Howard Zinn, Rachel Corrie and Camille Lepage.
Favourite The Book To Read: My Happiness Bears no Relation to Happiness by Adina Hoffman. I read a lot of great books throughout the year and wrote about them in The Book To Read section, but Hoffman’s biography of the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali was just so mesmerizing and grand – I couldn’t stop think about if for months. So – I really enjoyed writing that review.
Favourite Interview: Each interview I did was special and favourite in some aspects of it, but – if I would have to choose one, I would choose the interview I did with Matthew Hoh. We discussed some really heavy topics – from the issues veterans face in the USA to ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Favourite Film Review: I enjoyed writing about the films of Ramin Bahrani. I think his work is pure magic. Also, when talking about films – I would have to add two interviews I did – the first is the one I did with Tamara Erde, French-Israeli filmmaker. Her films are truly eye-opening and I highly recommend following her work. The second is Ian Ebright, with whom I did an interview about his film From The Sky (a short film about a humble father and his son who live in a region frequently targeted by drone strikes).
Favourite Art of Resistance: There’s so much in this category, it makes it really hard to choose. I will try to name only few of the articles that first come to my mind: Manuscripts don’t burn: Al-Mutanabbi Street, Bahgdad and Al-Mutanabbi Street and the Healing Power of Poetry, Rashid Hussein: The Tortured Soul & a Poet Star of Palestine, Dear Gaza, I’m Sorry, Syria – What Remains, Ara Güler’s Magnificent Black & White Istanbul, and Portraits de Femmes, Algeria.
Favourite Travel story: Wow, a lot of them! From Croatia To Syria (on a bicycle), Capturing Change: From Mistress of Cairo to Martyrs of the Revolution, Egypt: A Love Story, The Chiefs of The Gambia and The Darfur Sartorialist: Grace & Colors of Darfur, Sudan.
Favourite Commentary: I wrote a lot of commentaries this year, and they were among the top reads, which encourages me to write more and find more ways to express myself. From all the articles I wrote in this section, I would list a few that made me think an rethink things: Why Are We Still Stuck on Humanizing?, On Charlie Hebdo: No Man Is an Island, Things We Must Know & Remember About the Israeli – Palestinian Conflict. Also, the most read article (by far) on Middle East Revised – Why I Can’t Celebrate Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize, in which I tried to explain how I can (and will) celebrate Malala’s admirable work, but not her (or any other) Nobel Peace Prize.
During this year, Middle East Revised got around 340,000 unique visitors, which would almost make an average of 1,000 per day. The visitors came from 225 different countries, the biggest number of them from United States, UK, Pakistan, India, Canada, UAE, Germany and Australia. The number of Middle East Revised followers and subscribers reached 1,000. Top 3 posts were: Why I Can’t Celebrate Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize, Nizar Qabbani, Syrian Poet of Love, and Things We Must Know and Remember about Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.
☼ A Thank You Note
The most important thing of all – big thank you to all of you who read this blog and who have supported my work throughout this year. Your comments and kind words (but also some well-argued criticism) have kept me going, kept me (re)thinking, kept me writing. Most of you I don’t know personally, but I feel we share the same sense of mission, the same craving for justice. Big thank you to Writer from The East (The Human Lens), Writer’s Dream, JC (swedenmiddleeastviews), Beau Beausoleil, Fahrenheit 451 bookstore, Jeff Nguyen and Michael (just to name a few).
Stay well, stay inspired & creative!
/And listen to Seu Jorge./