#ThisHappened in 2017: Twitter shares the top moments of the past year

Twitter is looking back at the main events of 2017 according to what people tweeted, retweeted and shared (Shutterstock)
Updated 05 December 2017

#ThisHappened in 2017: Twitter shares the top moments of the past year

As we reach the end of 2017 Twitter has been reflecting on the year that was: from breaking news, entertainment, sports, and local conversations, if it happened anywhere, it happened on Twitter.

Early this year, Twitter launched its Moments guide in Arabic that enables people to discover new content by displaying curated “Moments,” a feature that creates a moment based on a collection of tweets. Located in Twitter’s “Explore” tab, this tool features moments from around the world and regionally on topics that include news, sports and entertainment, that are also tweeted from @MomentsMENA.

One of the key highlights that made 2017 unique was when Twitter’s Co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey (@jack) Tweeted Arabic Eid wishes for the first time to celebrate Eid Al Adha:
Take a look at how 2017 unfolded on Twitter, and share your biggest moments and memories of 2017 with #ThisHappened:

Saudi Arabia’s most tweeted moments

In 2017, the most retweeted tweets in Saudi Arabia were from King Salman @KingSalman; the top tweet being when he tweeted the celebration of Saudi Arabia’s national day. This message also falls under the top 100 global retweets. The second was when the king tweeted his wishes for the Saudi people on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr:
Another top tweet in Saudi Arabia in 2017 was by football player @fahad_almowalad who posted his congratulations when the Kingdom’s national team qualified for the 2018 World Cup:
Saudi Arabia’s top trends

Following Saudi Arabia’s announcement that women were to be allowed to drive in the country, people both locally and globally took to Twitter to air their views on the topic, generating over 2 million tweets within the week:

The region also witnessed the launch of the “Retweets Challenge.”

Carter Wilkerson’s (@carterjwm) call for a year’s supply of free nuggets from @Wendys was heard around the globe, and became the most retweeted tweet with 3.6 million Retweets, surpassing Ellen’s infamous selfie that she took at the Oscars in 2014, as the most retweeted tweet of all time.

The trend continued and spread across the MENA region, where Saudi National, AbdulAziz (@Mr_Abdul3ziz) tweeted to a well-known fast food chain (@ShawarmerSA) asking how many retweets it would take for the chain to donate 100 Shawarma sandwiches to underprivileged workers – that post request eventually spread to other brands:
Below are some of the top trending topics that generated popular hashtags in the Kingdom:

Top Hajj tweets:

Top sports hashtags:
1. الهلال# (Al Hilal football club)
2. النصر# (Al Nassr football club)
3. الاهلي# (Al Ahli football club)
4. الاتحاد# (Al Ittihad football club)
5. الشباب# (Al Shabab football club)

Top athletes accounts:
1. @Faisalbinturki1 (Faisal Bin Turki, Chairman of Al Nassr football club)
2. @omaralsomah (Omar Al Somah, Al Ahli football player)
3. @YASSER_Q_Y20 (Yasser AL Qahtani, Al Hilal football player)
4. @AliAlhabsi (Ali Al Habsi, Al Hilal Goalkeeper)
5. @mohadalowais (Mohammad Al Owais, Al Ahli goalkeeper)

Prominent new joiners:
The following list also falls under the top 200 global accounts that were created on Twitter in 2017:
1. @khrbinomar77 (Omar Khribin, Al Hilal football player)
2. @S_AlNeayma (Saleh AlNeayma, Former captain of the Saudi national football team)
3. @nasser_shamrni (Nasser Al Shamrani, Al Shabab Club football player)
4. @AwwadSAlawwad (H.E. Awwad Bin Saleh Al Awwad, Minister of Culture and Information)
5. @HolyKaaba (Official Al-ka`bah Al-musharrafah account)

Top entertainment accounts:
1. @Fayez_malki (Fayez Malki, Saudi actor)
2. @Mjeedalfawzan (Abdul Mjeed Al Fawzan, Saudi musician)
3. @algassabinasser (Nasser Al Ghassabi, Saudi actor)
4. @fawaz_dr (Fawaz Al Laboon, Saudi poet)
5. @AhlamAlShamsi (Ahlam Al Shamsi, Emirati musician)

Biopic tribute to slain war reporter Marie Colvin as journalism comes ‘under attack’

Updated 22 October 2018

Biopic tribute to slain war reporter Marie Colvin as journalism comes ‘under attack’

  • The movie, which got its world premiere in Toronto last month, hits screens as reporters face ever more threats
  • American war correspondent Marie Colvin died in an alleged government bombardment of a media center in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs

LONDON: A biopic of war correspondent Marie Colvin, who died in Syria in 2012, is a celebration of journalism as it increasingly comes “under attack,” according to the film-makers.
“A Private War,” released in US cinemas next month, chronicles the harrowing career of Colvin — played by “Gone Girl” star Rosamund Pike — who was an award-winning journalist for Britain’s The Sunday Times.
The feature film debut of director Matthew Heineman — an Oscar nominee in 2016 for his documentary “Cartel Land” — shows the reporter’s struggles to cope with the impact of reporting from the world’s conflict zones.
For Heineman, whose mother was a journalist, it is a “homage” to both Colvin and an increasingly besieged profession.
“It’s so important right now in this world of fake news and soundbites, where journalists are under attack, to celebrate journalism and to celebrate people like Marie,” he said at a London Film Festival screening Saturday.
The movie, which got its world premiere in Toronto last month, hits screens as reporters face ever more threats.
Actor Jamie Dornan — of the “Fifty Shades” franchise — who plays freelance photographer and longtime Colvin colleague Paul Conroy, said the work felt “timely.”
“This is a film about telling the truth,” he said on the red carpet. “Anything that can try to show true journalism in its finest light — the people who will go to these places to risk everything to tell us the truth — that’s a good thing.”
American Colvin died aged 56, alongside French photographer Remi Ochlik, in an alleged government bombardment of a media center in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs.
“A Private War,” adapted from a Vanity Fair article following her death, depicts her decades-spanning career and the psychological and physical toll it took on her.
It captures Colvin losing the sight of one eye — leading to her wearing a signature eyepatch — while covering Sri Lanka’s civil war, and interviewing former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi shortly before his death in 2011.
The film also shows her retreating into heavy drinking and battling likely post-traumatic stress disorder in between assignments.
Oscar-nominated Pike said she was attracted to the part by Colvin’s complexity.
“I wanted to put a woman out there on the screen who is admirable but not every quality she has is admirable,” she said.
“There was something about... the fierceness of passion in what she did that I related to.”
Photographer Conroy, who was injured by the bombing that killed Colvin but made a full recovery, said he was eager to advise on the film in part because of Heineman’s background in documentaries.
“His idea of the truth carried through from that — it wasn’t just ‘let’s make this frothy Hollywood film’,” he said at the screening. “The attention to detail is extraordinary.”
Heineman said he spent months researching the story, including watching practically every war film ever made.
He also enlisted locals rather than actors to play the parts of extras in the war zones portrayed.
“Those are real Syrian women shedding real tears and telling real stories,” he explained of scenes showing Colvin interviewing civilians in Syria.
“That was really important to me to try to bring an authenticity to this experience.”
The director said making “City of Ghosts,” a 2017 non-fiction film about a Syrian media activist group in Raqqa, and other conflict-driven documentaries helped him empathize with Colvin.
“I just felt enormous kinship with her, and also her desire to put a human face to poor innocent civilians who are caught in the crossfire of these geo-political conflicts,” he added.