Sunday, December 23, 2007


I've been away for a short while and when I came back to Beirut, my Internet connection had stopped working. Thus: Ten days without any new postings on Harryzzz.

But OK, I'm back, the Internet is working again and even the electricity situation here has improved (At least, in my area of Beirut).

Very recently I started the series: The Bullshit they tell you. The first culprit was the BBC, now it is the main Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.

As I live in the Middle East, I did not manage to read a Volkskrant for about a year. So I was truly exited when I recently got my hands on a copy. Even better; in it was a story on Lebanon. The article was on some Lebanese people using humor to deal with the current political crisis. Written by Beirut based Volkskrant correspondent Ferry Biederman, it was an OK story. So far so good.

But here comes the bullshit. The article was printed with a huge picture of a Beirut bar, called 1975 (see pictures above). The caption in De Volkskrant goes as follows: CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWLY OPENED BAR '1975' IN BEIRUT CAN FULLY RELIVE THE BLOODY LEBANESE CIVIL WAR, WHICH STARTED IN 1975.

Uuuuups. Volkskrant, we have a problem! Newly opened bar? Huh??? I've been to bar 1975 around 2.5 years ago. Would not call that newly opened. And the hilarious thing is that bar 1975 did so badly that it went BANKRUPT and CLOSED a year ago. So it wasn't even closed recently.

This wanky mistake, to be clear, wasn't made by the correspondent. He did not even mention bar 1975 in his text. Here clearly a photo editor of De Volkskrant is to blame.

I know how these things work. Picture this: Office in Amsterdam. Outside it's shitty weather, inside its boringly warm. Some kind of Volkskrant photo editor needs a picture for Biederman's story. So he searches his/her database and types in the key words Lebanon/humor/civil war. Ah, got it! AFP has a picture of some weird looking bar in Beirut where Lebanese have a drink in a war-like environment. Goes well with the story. And let's just write in the caption the bar was recently opened. Now it immediately proves Biederman's story that Lebanese are using humor to deal with the current crisis.

Why do I make such a big deal about this? Well, because it just shows a total lack of interest/knowledge/passion for the facts. Because who cares if its true or not. You know, it is only Lebanon, a place we really dont give a fuck about. And who will ever find out about some kind of bar in Beirut?

Sorry mate, but here are two pictures I made a couple of days ago of the current bar 1975. Looks pretty closed to me. And not a lot of humor around.

So this photo editor is trying to sell the readers bullshit. By the way, if you do a search on the Internet, you will find that AFP (the same agency which made the photo) did a story about bar 1975 back in early November 2004.

Either photo editor had a very bad day or he/she tried to lie to the public. Verdict: Guilty!

Harald Doornbos

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