Subject: Robert Fisk – The Great War For Civilisation
The Conquest Of The Middle East
Robert Fisk – Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia. Your continued donations keep Wikipedia running!
Robert Fisk during a lecture at Carleton University, Canada, 2004 Robert Fisk (born 1946, Maidstone, Kent) is a British journalist, currently Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent.
Described by the New York Times as probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain, he has over thirty years of experience in international reporting, dating from 1970s Belfast and Portugal 1974 Carnation Revolution, the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War, and encompassing the 1979 Iranian revolution, the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, 1991 Persian Gulf War, and 2003 Invasion of Iraq. He is the world’s most-decorated foreign correspondent, having received numerous awards including the British Press Awards International Journalist of the Year award seven times. Fisk speaks good vernacular Arabic, and is one of the few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden (three times between 1994 and 1997).
Fisk’s reporting – and his bestselling books, based on his field notes and recordings – combine straight factual reporting with analysis and often strong criticism of Middle Eastern governments as well as what he perceives as hypocrisy in British and United States government foreign policy. His view of journalism is that it must challenge authority – all authority – especially so when governments and politicians take us to war, and he quotes with approval the Israeli journalist Amira Hass: There is a misconception that journalists can be objective … What journalism is really about is to monitor power and the centres of power. Fisk has received widespread praise on the political left and criticism from the right, the latter in particular for an alleged anti-American and anti-Israeli bias in his emphasis on reporting the alleged ills done to the Middle East by the West from the Great War onwards.
Fisk gained a BA in English and Classics at Lancaster University and a PhD in Political Science, awarded by Trinity College, Dublin in 1985. From 1972-1975 Fisk served as Belfast correspondent for The Times, before becoming its correspondent in Portugal covering the aftermath of the 1974 revolution. He then was appointed Middle East correspondent (1976-1988). He later moved to The Independent, with his first report published there on 28 April 1989. As Middle East correspondent Fisk covered the 1979 Iranian revolution, the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, and the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He was one of two Western journalists to stay in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. His book on the conflict, Pity The Nation, was first published in 1990. Fisk has also reported on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the conflicts in Kosovo and Algeria. He is one of the few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden – three times (all published by The Independent: 6 December 1993; 10 July 1996; 22 March 1997). Fisk is also one of the few western journalists covering the Middle East who speaks fluent Arabic.
After the U.S. launched its attack on Afghanistan shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Fisk was for a time transferred to Pakistan to provide coverage of that conflict. While reporting from there, he was attacked and bloodied by a group of Afghan refugees, and for a moment became part of the news he was reporting.
In his graphic account of his own beating, published in The Independent of 10 December 2001, Fisk considered his attackers blameless, couldn’t blame them for what they were doing, and excused the attackers of responsibility, as in his view their brutality was entirely the product of others, of the US who had armed their struggle against the Russians and ignored their pain and laughed at their civil war and then armed and paid them again for the War for Civilisation just a few miles away and then bombed their homes and ripped up their families and called them collateral damage. Pundit Andrew Sullivan, while denouncing the attack on Fisk, called Fisk’s apology a classic piece of leftist pathology, for refusing to hold the refugees morally culpable for their attack, and led to the coining of an internet neologism, Fisking, to describe Sullivan method. A Wall Street Journal editorial by Mark Steyn regarding the incident was subtitled A Self-Loathing Multiculturalist Gets His Due.
2003 Iraq War
During the 2003 Iraq War, Fisk was stationed in Baghdad and filed many eyewitness reports. He has criticized other journalists based in Iraq for their hotel journalism, arguing that they were out of touch with the events and atmosphere of the Baghdad streets.
Praise and awards
Fisk received Amnesty International UK Press Awards in 1998 for his reports from Algeria and again in 2000 for his articles on NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999. He received the British Press Awards International Journalist of the Year seven times, and twice won its Reporter of the Year award (The Times, December 15 1987, Times reporter wins award. In his video message prior to the 2004 Presidential Election in the US, Osama Bin Laden praised Fisk’s reporting, adding that he considered Fisk to be objective. The Political and Social Sciences department of Ghent University (Belgium) awarded Fisk an honorary doctorate on March 24 2006.
Foreign affairs analysis
In the British journalistic tradition of the foreign correspondent, Fisk has developed a historical analysis of the foreign affairs that he covers and presents them in that light, often with trenchant criticism of the British government and its allies.
In April 2003, during the invasion of Iraq, Fisk recalled the words of the British Lt. Gen. Sir Stanley Maude, made during the 1917 invasion of Mesopotamia as part of World War I: we have come here not as conquerors but as liberators to free you from generations of tyranny. Comparing the two invasions, Fisk says: History has a way of repeating itself… And within three years we were losing hundreds of men every year in the guerrilla war against the Iraqis who wanted real liberation not by us from the Ottomans, but by them from US and I think that’s what’s going to happen with the Americans in Iraq. I think a war of liberation will begin quite soon, which of course will be first referred to as a war by terrorists, by al-Qa’ida, by remnants of Saddam’s regime. Remnants: remember that word. But it will be waged particularly by Shiite Muslims against the Americans and the British to get us out of Iraq and that will happen. And our dreams that we can liberate these people will not be fulfilled in this scenario.
Fisk is a critic of what he perceives as hypocrisy in British government foreign policy: Again, one needs to also say that Saddam Hussein was…is I’m sure he’s still alive… a most revolting man. He did use gas against the Iranians and against the Kurds. And I also have to say that when he used it against the Iranians and I wrote about it in my own newspaper at the time, The Times the British Foreign Office told my editor the story was not helpful because, at that stage of course, Saddam Hussein was our friend we were supporting him.
The hypocrisy of war stinks almost as much as the civilian casualties.
Criticism and opposition
Fisk’s reporting and commentary style has made him the subject of much criticism, to the extent that certain bloggers coined the blogosphere term fisking point-by-point refutation of a blog entry or a news story. Fisk, who says he does not use the internet, has remarked that the Internet has become a hate machine for a lot of people. Fisk has written about being the target of hate mail and death threats from Americans as a result of his critical reporting of US and Israeli policy in the Middle-East. Actor John Malkovich stated in May 2002 at the Cambridge Union Society that he would like to shoot Fisk along with the British MP George Galloway. In particular Fisk’s reporting of his 2001 encounter with Afghan refugees has encouraged commentators lump Fisk with Chomsky, Pilger, Naomi Klein in the category of anti-American loonies.
Guardian columnist Simon Hoggart (also a former Northern Ireland reporter), has criticised Fisk’s pessimistic predictions, while acknowledging brilliant and vivid reporting. According to Hoggart, Fisk is that most valuable resource, a journalist whose judgments are not just mistaken, but reliably mistaken. If ever Fisk predicts that the Americans will walk it, that will be the time to put on the tin hat.
A New York Times review of Fisk’s book, The Great War for Civilisation stated that Fisk is least informed about Israel, pursues his agenda nearly to the exclusion of the pursuit of straight journalism and allows his points to be warped by his perspective. It is no wonder, the reviewer added, that Osama bin Laden recommended Fisk’s reporting as neutral.
Fisk has also been criticized for asserting that journalistic neutrality is no longer relevant to the Middle East and that instead journalists are morally bound … to show eloquent compassion to the victims.
Robert Fisk’s non-use of the Internet.
In a talk he gave in Manchester on 2006-01-23, Robert Fisk explained why he does not use the Internet for any of his journalistic research. He considers that the reliability and accuracy of much of the information posted on the World Wide Web is highly questionable. This also explains why there is no official Robert Fisk web-site.
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Fisk
Note. Other ways than war must be found to resolve our disputes and other humanitarian imperatives. I would tend to base my opinions on Robert Fisk’s book than any politician’s propaganda. The most shocking and most important book I have ever read of current history. Real history for a young adult upwards and should be made known to everyone possible in education.
MSN quote of the day, "It is infinitely easier to suffer in obedience to a human command than to accept suffering as free, responsible men." Dietrich Bonhoeffer.