I am a Sweden-born writer/journalist, editor and political scientist living in Beirut since 2009. I work across the Middle East, as well as South Asia and other parts of the world.
I write mainly on politics, society and development, on issues ranging from refugees and migration to urban heritage and cultural expressions: stories of exiled Syrian football players, restaurant-owners in Delhi serving food to people in the streets, Filipino expat teachers volunteering in war-time Libya, boat-hospital doctors traveling up and down the rivers of Bangladesh, teenagers fighting Gaddafi in Benghazi and Tripoli, artisans embroidering memories of conflict and resistance in Guatemala, running communities in Beirut and Jeddah, inspirational queer and cross-gender individuals from the U.S., Iraq and Sri Lanka, people determined to fight climate change in Bangladesh, people on migrant routes through Libya and Algeria, the first female pastor in the Middle East, Palestinian cross-stitchers, wood carvers in Tajikistan and many, many more.
In 2010, I was part of co-founding Mashallah News, a collaborative online publication on society, culture and urban life in the Middle East. Since before the onset of the Arab Spring revolutions, we have published from Casablanca in the west to Tehran and Baghdad in the east, on topics ranging from the personal to the political. We have written about the first Saudi Arabian standup comedienne, about Georgia’s wooden mosques, about an imagined metro connecting Damascus to Jaffa and Beirut – we have covered political and non-political movements, inspiring artists and individuals imagining a different tomorrow. Mashallh has also been part of several cross-regional collaborations and projects. In March 2014, we published Beirut Re-Collected, an anthology gathering stories from the Lebanese capital, along with our friends and colleagues from the graphic design studio AMI. We have published several themed series, organised conferences and storytelling events, and collaborated with other publications in the region, including Mada Masr, Inkyfada and AJAM.
Since 2016, I have been part of organising trainings and workshops for journalists and people in civil society on how to report better on the topic of migration. The trainings take different forms, from three-week exchange projects with journalists and civil society activists from several countries to shorter trainings over the weekend. Through self-reflective exercises, participatory methods and mentorship sessions, we give journalists a chance to get to know their own perspectives and biases, thereby locating ways of reporting that avoid resorting to stereotypes and oversimplifications.
In 2017 and 2018, I worked on a project for Saudi Arabian Atharna, to document and create an online archive over Middle Eastern craft and artisan traditions. We met with over fifty craftspeople from Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, the UAE and Saudi Arabia: young designers and artisan collectives, craftsmen and -women following in the traditions of their families, and individuals who are the last to maintain an age-old craft. The stories, of everything from Lebanese oud makers and Palestinian earth-and-mud architects to Egyptian tentmakers and flower-wearing men from southern Saudi Arabia, can be found here.
The Guardian – Foreign Policy – Al Jazeera – IRIN News – VICE – The National – The Caravan – Aftenposten Innsikt – Politiken – Sydsvenskan – SvD – Fokus – Omvärlden – ETC – Hufvudstadsbladet – Hemslöjd – KIT – Runner’s World – Vi läser – Amnesty Press