by Rhodri C. Williams
Well, its official dear readers. After three years of dramatic growth, TerraNullius has officially arrived at a plateau this year. To be precise, where the site got 20,000 hits last year, putting it just shy of 50,000 overall, this years total represents a 25% drop to about 15,000 (with a current total of 65,000, give or take).
TN was born as a by-product of my consultancy career, which is now largely a thing of the past. In fact, last year was the first full-year in which I was taken on full-time by a single employer – ILAC in Stockholm – since I upped stakes and left the OSCE in Bosnia in 2004 (ten years ago in June). Inevitably, it has been more of a struggle to find the time to put together posts and my overall total dropped from 80 last year (total 290) to 64 this year (new total 354). Of these, 11 are guest-postings, down from a high of 25 the previous year.
So, the calculation seems to be pretty simple: post more; get more hits. But whatever the score, I am truly grateful for every one of you that dropped in. I honestly never imagined that I would be able to bandy these kind of numbers around when I started the blog, and still enjoy being in a somewhat one-sided conversation with 15,000 of you far more than I would enjoy the kind of splendid isolation I shared with my ideas before. And as always, I am particularly grateful to TN’s guest authors, old and new, for taking the blog to places I never could on my own.
Some highlights this year – First, a lot on the Balkans. I wrapped up a series of forays into the ICTY’s erratic jurisprudence with a piece on the Perisic decision that provoked a virtually identical narrative of innocent grievance (by ‘observer’) to that I had earlier heard from ‘deep water of truth’ to support his irreconcilably contradictory views of the Gotovina decision (from 2012). Despite some misgivings about the level of reconciliation in the region, I was nevertheless as happy as the next guy to wave Croatia into the EU.
Beyond the Balkans, there were not so many bright spots, or maybe the dark spots just weighed heavier. Generally speaking, the humanitarian effects of new waves of conflict seemed to turn the clock back to a pattern of highly effective atrocities and bumbling international responses that seemed all too familiar. The unfolding calamity in Syria, in particular, has often been painful to watch. There is just a bit too much cognitive dissonance in understanding precisely why everything is falling apart (from having seen it before) and wondering why we haven’t actually internalized any lessons (from having seen it before).
A bit of self-promotion is always lighter, and it really was fun to get a raft of publications out this year. Maybe most notably, a huge volume on post-conflict land management Jon Unruh and I have labored on as co-editors lo these many years, with the chapters now available for free download. TN also became the sole outlet for a big report on land, property and displacement issues in Libya I wrote for UNHCR. And I released an analysis of the international constitutional assistance field for the Folke Bernadotte Academy, along with my first major ILAC job, an assessment report on rule of law in Libya.
So, thanks again for joining me and feel free to call in with a comment or a guest post idea anytime. TN may have peaked, but then again, it may just be getting warmed up.