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Old 02.11.2020, 10:36
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Robert Fisk, RIP

Probably the first journalist that drew me in with his passion on issues that were rarely given an unadulterated perspective. I always sought out his articles and he set a bar for journalism that remains a barometer for what I read today

There was a memorable line in one of his articles talking about Lebanon when he was in Switzerland that always sticks in mind on the perspective of how one part of the world & its people could be so difficult while others lived in pristine peace/beauty

I was a real admirer. A great voice for Palestinians & virtually the only reporter who refuted the US/UK propaganda coming out of Gulf Wars, RIP


I will remember him for several reasons:

1. His opposition to the Iraq war in 2003. As an on-the-ground foreign correspondent, it was very clear from his reportage that this was going to turn out to be a monumental disaster and that we were being lied to. He also predicted the carnage in Syria after the Arab Spring, as he was aware that Assad was not going to be easily got rid of.

2. His recommendation to read Sir Alistair Horne's A Savage War of Peace on the Algerian civil war. It's a quite remarkable work, one of the best of its kind given the extraordinarily emotive nature of the subject, as is the movie Battle for Algiers.

3. The fact that he showed up all the main protagonists back then (Bush, Blair, Sharon, Arafat, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Shin Bet, Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, Khomeini, the Saudis, Hafez al-Assad, Bashir Assad, Netanyahu, and so on) for what they are or were. And that's what tends to infuriate the different supporters of that motley bunch. Nobody gets to claim the moral high ground from Fisk's perspective.

Fisk's writing also prompted me to read about Islam more extensively. Previously, my impressions of that faith been entirely negative. So if it wasn't for him, I might never have found my way to the extraordinary mystical writings of Rab'ia al-'Adawiyya, the sublime philosophies of Ibn Sina and al-Arabi, the wine poetry of Abu Nuwas, taqwacore music, Sufism, the teaching of Zakat, and some of the best and most inspiring academic writing that I have come across
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Old 02.11.2020, 13:25
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Re: Robert Fisk, RIP

I remember reading an article in the Independent written by him just a few days after the attack on the world trade centre in September 2001. I'd never paid much attention to him before, but his forthrightness, in saying the Americans more or less had it coming to them, ensured I did in the future.

He was also one of the old school war correspondents who actually visited war scenes as opposed to those who simply comb through social media or are mollycoddled by being embedded with troops of one of the fighting factions.
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Old 02.11.2020, 13:54
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Re: Robert Fisk, RIP

Without wanting to be disrespectful, I'm afraid I never enjoyed Fisk's journalism, partly for this sort of reason:

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.....just a few days after the attack on the world trade centre in September 2001....saying the Americans more or less had it coming to them....
We can rightly blame some politicians and political / religious extremists for many of our ills but it's never them who suffer is it? It's ordinary people -- in this case "the Americans,"* more than 3,000 of whom did nothing worse on Sept 11 than go off to work in the office like any other day.

*And of course, plenty of other nationalities too who died in the World Trade Center that day.
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Old 02.11.2020, 17:40
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Re: Robert Fisk, RIP

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Old 02.11.2020, 18:29
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Re: Robert Fisk, RIP

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Without wanting to be disrespectful, I'm afraid I never enjoyed Fisk's journalism, partly for this sort of reason:



We can rightly blame some politicians and political / religious extremists for many of our ills but it's never them who suffer is it? It's ordinary people -- in this case "the Americans,"* more than 3,000 of whom did nothing worse on Sept 11 than go off to work in the office like any other day.

*And of course, plenty of other nationalities too who died in the World Trade Center that day.



But that's the nature of the beast (war).


At some point, it's going to come back to you.
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Old 02.11.2020, 22:31
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Re: Robert Fisk, RIP

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Probably the first journalist that drew me in with his passion on issues that were rarely given an unadulterated perspective. I always sought out his articles and he set a bar for journalism that remains a barometer for what I read today
A low bar. But for a corbynista an academic inspiration.

Fisk was well acquainted with Bars, where some of his stories were "embellished"

It was quite an achievement, to be a middle east reporter all these years without bothering to learn native languages, like Arabic.
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Old 03.11.2020, 11:28
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Re: Robert Fisk, RIP

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A low bar. But for a corbynista an academic inspiration.

Fisk was well acquainted with Bars, where some of his stories were "embellished"

It was quite an achievement, to be a middle east reporter all these years without bothering to learn native languages, like Arabic.
He was fluent in Arabic. It would be good to ground your opinions on some facts.
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Old 03.11.2020, 15:08
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Re: Robert Fisk, RIP

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He was fluent in Arabic. It would be good to ground your opinions on some facts.
If you don't take the word of an Arab for it, perhaps you will take the word of a British journalist.
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Old 03.11.2020, 15:58
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Re: Robert Fisk, RIP

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If you don't take the word of an Arab for it, perhaps you will take the word of a British journalist.
He was fluent in vernacular Arabic, his interviews with Bin Laden, who speaks little English were conducted in Arabic without a translator present. I also have a lot of respect for Brian Whitaker who you linked to, and yes he may have a point that Fisk made elementary mistakes but then he's not an Arabic language scholar.

Even by EF expat standards, to live in the Middle East for 44 years and not speak the lingo would be some feat.
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Old 03.11.2020, 16:17
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Re: Robert Fisk, RIP

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He was fluent in vernacular Arabic, his interviews with Bin Laden, who speaks little English were conducted in Arabic without a translator present. I also have a lot of respect for Brian Whitaker who you linked to, and yes he may have a point that Fisk made elementary mistakes but then he's not an Arabic language scholar.

Even by EF expat standards, to live in the Middle East for 44 years and not speak the lingo would be some feat.
Are there any videos of Fisk speaking Arabic ?
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