Sunday, May 3, 2009

robert fisk

There is no better journalist reporting on the Middle East than Robert Fisk. Anyone wanting to understand the real situation in the Middle East, in Iraq and in Afghanistan should read his articles. Fisk who is the Middle East Correspondent for the UK Independent can rightfully claim to be one of the most experienced western journalists in the Middle East. In over three decades of reporting from the Middle East Fisk has covered 11 major wars, countless insurgencies and massacres and won two Amnesty International UK Press World Awards and seven British International Journalist of the Year Awards. Fisk can also be heard from time to time On Late Night Live with Phillip Adams.
One of the things I like about Robert Fisk is that he uncovers and exposes the hypocrisy and brutality of the West and of Israel but he does not spare the leaders, political elite and leadership of countries in the Middle East and of the Muslim World. And Fisk knows history so well.

Here's an extract from a recent Fisk piece on the British withdrawal from Iraq after six years, one month and 11 days.

One hundred and seventy-nine dead soldiers. For what? 179,000 dead Iraqis? Or is the real figure closer to a million? We don't know. And we don't care. We never cared about the Iraqis. That's why we don't know the figure. That's why we left Basra yesterday.

.... So let us turn at last to T E Lawrence. Yes, Lawrence of Arabia. In The Sunday Times on 22 August 1920, he wrote of Iraq that the people of England "had been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information... Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows." Even more presciently, Lawrence had written that the Iraqis had not risked their lives in battle to become British subjects. "Whether they are fit for independence or not remains to be tried. Merit is no justification for freedom."

Alas not. Iraq, begging around Europe now that its oil wealth has run out, is a pitiful figure. But it is a little bit freer than it was. We have destroyed its master and our friend (a certain Saddam) and now, with our own dead clanking around our heels, we are getting out yet again. Till next time..."

As well as his pieces in the Independent a good place to start is his recent book Robert Fisk (2008) The Age of the Warrior: Selected Writings, published by Fourth Estate. This is a truly great but depressing read. Highly recommended. Still you get some fantastic film reviews as well and a piece about the Titanic.

No comments: