Wednesday, August 08, 2007

100.000 hits and counting…

This little blog received today its 100.000th unique hit! Not bad for three months of blogging about a subject hardly anybody really cares about and many find predictable: The Middle East.

The 100.000th hit came from a person in the US. So at least today: God Bless America!

Most visitors to Harryzzz though came from Turkey, the Netherlands and Lebanon. So a big thank you, teşekkür ederim, bedankt and shukran to everybody.

Harryzzz will only keep on going stronger. With analyses from the spot, silly stuff from the spot and news from the spot. Because that’s what Harryzzz is about – writing about topics FROM THE SPOT.

It is very easy to write stuff on the Middle East from your living room in, let’s say, San Francisco, Birmingham or Rome. Bush is an idiot, Muslims are stupid, the Iraq invasion a mistake, Musharraf an American puppet, Hezbollah a bunch of terrorists, Al-Qaeda some kind of imaginary organization set up by Western imperialism.

My problem with this kind of blogging is that questions of wars, conflicts, culture and traditions stay very abstract.

That is why I will only touch subjects that are very concrete to me. Basically: I want to see things first hand before I will tell you about it.

Just an example: According to hundreds of blogs the Al Qaeda inspired terrorist group Fatah al Islam in Northern Lebanon was created by the Lebanese government. But how the hell can you be sure of this if you live in London or New York? Did you ever investigate this very important topic? Or did you just surf the web and quote some kind of conspiracy piece? It turns out that most left wing bloggers claim that the Lebanese government did it themselve, while right wing bloggers say Fatah al Islam was set up by neighbouring Syria. No side though has ever investigated it. The thing most bloggers do is - selectively - copy and paste the World Wide Web according to their own political preferences.

I honestly admit that I do not know who is behind Fatah al Islam. Reality is mostly pretty complex. But I visit the Northern Lebanon very frequently to check out all possibilities, speak to people who might know, meet witnesses etc. Eventually I will publish through Harryzzz the results of all these efforts.

I, for instance, will not write a lot on this blog about Iran. This because I’ve only been there thrice and only for about a week each time. Of course I have my personal opinion on the regime in Iran, but I try to keep this to myself. Because it really doesn’t matter what I think about Iran. My opinion on Iran is extremely irrelevant. I can tell you that Tehran has a very modern tube system (really, much nicer than the London underground, In Tehran they have flat screen TV’s in the tube). I can tell you about the Arab-Persian tension in South-Western Iran because I’ve visited that area and spoke to many people there. But I will never bore you with my personal ideas on things I haven’t seen or experienced first hand.

So keep on checking Harryzzz! I’ll keep on doing my best making this a (rather) interesting blog!


Frans said...

@ Harry, keep doing your stuff! It is refreshing to say the least, seeing somebody doing his best to get an inside view of a conflict that is all to complicated. Most Western media have a strong bias towards certain developments in the Middle East. As a result we get one-sided opinions and views during most of the time. It takes time, effort and courage to dig behind the scenes and that's why I keep coming back to 'this little blog' Your doing a great job Harry.
BTW could you shed some light on the recently deceased Abu Hureira, Fatah al-Islam's deputy commander.

Menno said...

Carry on Harald, and maybe one day you'll be the Dutch Robert Fisk!

jordi said...


Robert Fisk? Isn't that the journalist who was begging around during last year's war to get (safe) transportation to the war zone? Isn't that the journalist who is a little bit too late at the spot? Isn't that the journalist who is writing his stories from his appartment in Beirut?

Harald doesn't deserve this insult. Don't you agree that he is doing a great job? At least he is at the spot.

Ingmar said...

Keep up the good work,

you give the story behind the scene another meaning. At least, if you would compare it with tv or newspaper story's.

pb said...


Congratulations and go on with "the good work"
May be you can inform us sometme about how the political parties In lebanon think to cope with the demographic changes of the last 20 years in relation to their political system based upon sectarian representation. I know it's all about power butyou can't ignore the growing number of Shi''ites and Palestinians forever. I also don't expect "the powers that be" are seriously dealing with this issue but may be there are people or groups that take this issue serious.

Harald Doornbos said...

Thanks for comments!

@ pb - am preparing a story on demographic developments in Lebanon, especially because ths country is such a good example of how demographics can really change countries and the direction a society goes.

But want to make clear that demographics is kind of a taboo subject since it has been used in the past by far right wingers to create fear for other societies, cultures or religions. These people give it a semi racist undertone. "They fuck like rabbits", racists many times claim. (And with 'they', racists sometimes mean jews, sometimes muslims, sometimes serbs, sometimes albanians - depends of coruse on the ethnicity of the racist.

This is - and I would like to make this VERY clear - absolutely NOT my idea behind writing on demographic topics. It is just a very interesting subject with far reaching consequences. I mean, demographic changes are a reality, especially in the age of globalisation.

NOT to talk about it or discuss it would be very strange. Everybody freely admits that the growing percentage of eldery people in Western societies will have serious impacts on those countries. Discussing this subject though doesn't mean that you hate eldery people. The same with demographics - its not anti anybody. Its just making calculations based on the current information we have about how a society will change (or not change)in the next couple of decades.

Well, thats all for now.

pb said...


Of course I don't expect you to have a racist approach towards the demographic changes in the middle east.
My question only has to do with the effects it will, or must have , on the political system in Lebanon.
Common sense says that the more deprivated people are the more they have to rely upon children who take care for their old age. So it also tells something about the status of minority groups in society.
(I would be glad to invite you for dinner when we are in Lebanon the last two weeks of november)

pim van den berg said...

sorry, we will stay in lebanon in the last two weeks of september.

Harald Doornbos said...

@ PB

dinner is deal!

Sorry for being a little sensitive on this mix of demographics and racism - But its important that readers know about my honest intentions while writing about this rather complex and sensative subject.

cheers and thanks for comments.

Erik Schmidt said...

Congratulations and keep on the good work! :-)

Menno said...

@Jordi: No, he is the journalist who is partially deaf from being to close to the artillery in the first Gulf war and who was beaten up in Afghanistan because some yahoos thought he was Dubya. Who interviewed OBL and met Saddam Hussein. Who was one of the last journalists to live in Baghdad.

Anonymous said...


Being partially deaf, being beaten up in Afghanistan and living in Bagdad doesn't make him a good journalist. It doesn't even prove that he had been at the right place.

Menno said...

@anonymus: but that were not the points I was trying to make. I was just proving Jordi wrong by saying Fisk wrote (and writes) from the spot, just like our Hero Harry does.

pim van den berg said...

Hi Harald,

Dinner is a deal !. You can find out my email at blogger.