Robert Fisk
Overview
 
Robert Fisk is an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 writer and journalist
Journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 from Maidstone
Maidstone
Maidstone is the county town of Kent, England, south-east of London. The River Medway runs through the centre of the town linking Maidstone to Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Historically, the river was a source and route for much of the town's trade. Maidstone was the centre of the agricultural...

, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

. As Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 correspondent of The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

, he has primarily been based in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 for more than 30 years. He has published a number of books and has reported on the United States's war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 and the same country's 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. Fisk holds more British and International Journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent.
The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

once described Robert Fisk as "probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain." He reported the Northern Ireland troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

 in the 1970s, the Portuguese Revolution
Carnation Revolution
The Carnation Revolution , also referred to as the 25 de Abril , was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance...

 in 1974, the Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

, the Iranian revolution
History of Iran
The history of Iran has been intertwined with the history of a larger historical region, comprising the area from the Danube River in the west to the Indus River and Jaxartes in the east and from the Caucasus, Caspian Sea, and Aral Sea in the north to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and Egypt...

 in 1979, the Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

, the Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 and the invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 in 2003.
Quotations

I don't like the definition 'war correspondent'. It is history, not journalism, that has condemned the Middle East to war. I think 'war correspondent' smells a bit, reeks of false romanticism: it has too much of the whiff of Victorian reporters who would view battles from hilltops in the company of ladies, immune to suffering, only occasionally glancing towards the distant pop-pop of cannon fire.

Preface (page XXI)

In just one year in Bosnia, thirty of my colleagues died. There is a little Somme waiting for all innocent journalists.

Preface (page XXI)

I suppose, in the end, we journalists try - or should try - to be the first impartial witnesses of history. If we have any reason for our existence, the least must be our ability to report history as it happens so that no one can say: 'we didn't know - no one told us.'

Preface (page XXIII)

And I think, in the end, that is the best definition of journalism I have heard; to challenge authority - all authority - especially so when governments and politicians take us to war, when they have decided that they will kill and others will die.

Preface (page XXIII)

And history

s fingers never relax their grip, never leave us unmolested, can touch us even when we would never imagine their presence.

Encyclopedia
Robert Fisk is an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 writer and journalist
Journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 from Maidstone
Maidstone
Maidstone is the county town of Kent, England, south-east of London. The River Medway runs through the centre of the town linking Maidstone to Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Historically, the river was a source and route for much of the town's trade. Maidstone was the centre of the agricultural...

, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

. As Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 correspondent of The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

, he has primarily been based in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 for more than 30 years. He has published a number of books and has reported on the United States's war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 and the same country's 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. Fisk holds more British and International Journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent.

Career

The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

once described Robert Fisk as "probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain." He reported the Northern Ireland troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

 in the 1970s, the Portuguese Revolution
Carnation Revolution
The Carnation Revolution , also referred to as the 25 de Abril , was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance...

 in 1974, the Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

, the Iranian revolution
History of Iran
The history of Iran has been intertwined with the history of a larger historical region, comprising the area from the Danube River in the west to the Indus River and Jaxartes in the east and from the Caucasus, Caspian Sea, and Aral Sea in the north to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and Egypt...

 in 1979, the Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

, the Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 and the invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 in 2003. A vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 speaker, he is one of few Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

, and did so three times between 1994 and 1997. His awards include being voted International Journalist of the Year
British International Journalist of the Year award
The International Journalist of the Year award is one of the honours given annually by the British Press Awards. The journalist to have won the award most often is Robert Fisk....

 seven times.

Fisk has said that journalism must "challenge authority, all authority, especially so when governments and politicians take us to war." He has quoted with approval the Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i journalist Amira Hass
Amira Hass
Amira Hass is a prominent left-wing Israeli journalist and author, mostly known for her columns in the daily newspaper Ha'aretz. She is particularly recognized for her reporting on Palestinian affairs in the West Bank and Gaza, where she has also lived for a number of years.-Life:The daughter of...

: "There is a misconception that journalists can be objective ... What journalism is really about is to monitor power and the centres of power." Speaking on “Lies, Misreporting, and Catastrophe in the Middle East,” at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 22 September 2010, Fisk stated, "I think it is the duty of a foreign correspondent to be neutral and unbiased on the side of those who suffer, whoever they may be."

He has written at length on how much of contemporary conflict has its origin, in his view, in lines drawn on maps: "After the allied victory of 1918
Aftermath of World War I
The fighting in World War I ended in western Europe when the Armistice took effect at 11:00 am GMT on November 11, 1918, and in eastern Europe by the early 1920s. During and in the aftermath of the war the political, cultural, and social order was drastically changed in Europe, Asia and Africa,...

, at the end of my father's war
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the victors divided up the lands of their former enemies. In the space of just seventeen months, they created the borders of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 and most of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. And I have spent my entire career—in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 and Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

, in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 and Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

—watching the people within those borders burn."

Fisk is a pacifist
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

 and has never voted
Non-voting
Non-voting is a strategy employed by various radical libertarians and anarchists who wish to promote a free society yet who view voting to be either unethical or impractical...

.

The blogosphere
Blogosphere
The blogosphere is made up of all blogs and their interconnections. The term implies that blogs exist together as a connected community or as a social network in which everyday authors can publish their opinions...

 term fisking
Fisking
The term fisking is blogosphere slang describing a point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors, or disputes the analysis in a statement, article, or essay.Eric S. Raymond, in the Jargon File, defined the term as:...

 originates from various American conservative blogs, which have taken particular issue with Mr. Fisk, who holds a "very skeptical view of U.S. foreign policy", and his articles and reports. Many of these bloggers have responded by reprinting his dispatches on their blogs, adding their own paragraph-by-paragraph commentary, purportedly dissecting and debunking Fisk's facts and opinions. Irrespective of the success of their endeavour, the term "fisking" has come to denote the practice of "savaging an argument and scattering the tattered remnants to the four corners of the internet".

Early career

Fisk was educated at Yardley Court
Yardley Court
Yardley Court is a preparatory school in Tonbridge, Kent, England, for boys aged seven to thirteen. The school motto is Comites in comitate, "Courtiers in courtesy"....

 preparatory school, Sutton Valence School
Sutton Valence School
Sutton Valence School is an English independent school near Maidstone in southeast England. It has about 520 pupils. It is a co-educational school with a boarding option . The three boarding houses are Westminster, St Margaret's and Sutton and, for those in the first and second form, Beresford...

 and at Lancaster University
Lancaster University
Lancaster University, officially The University of Lancaster, is a leading research-intensive British university in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. The university was established by Royal Charter in 1964 and initially based in St Leonard's Gate until moving to a purpose-built 300 acre campus at...

  and has a PhD
PHD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 in Political Science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, from Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

 in 1983. The title of his doctoral thesis was "A condition of limited warfare: Éire
Éire
is the Irish name for the island of Ireland and the sovereign state of the same name.- Etymology :The modern Irish Éire evolved from the Old Irish word Ériu, which was the name of a Gaelic goddess. Ériu is generally believed to have been the matron goddess of Ireland, a goddess of sovereignty, or...

’s neutrality and the relationship between Dublin
Irish Government
The Government of Ireland is the cabinet that exercises executive authority in Ireland.-Members of the Government:Membership of the Government is regulated fundamentally by the Constitution of Ireland. The Government is headed by a prime minister called the Taoiseach...

, Belfast
Executive Committee of the Privy Council of Northern Ireland
The Executive Committee or the Executive Committee of the Privy Council of Northern Ireland was the government of Northern Ireland created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Generally known as either the Cabinet or the Government, the Executive Committee existed from 1922 to 1972...

 and London, 1939–1945". He worked on the Sunday Express diary column before a disagreement with the editor, John Junor
John Junor
Sir John Donald Brown Junor was a Scottish journalist and editor-in-chief of the Sunday Express, having previously worked as a columnist there. He then moved to the Mail on Sunday....

, prompted a move to The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

. From 1972–75, the height of The Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

, Fisk served as Belfast correspondent for The Times, before becoming its correspondent in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 covering the aftermath of the Carnation Revolution
Carnation Revolution
The Carnation Revolution , also referred to as the 25 de Abril , was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance...

. He then was appointed Middle East correspondent (1976–1988). When a story of his was spiked
Spike (journalism)
In journalistic parlance, spiking refers to withholding a story from publication for reasons pertaining to its veracity . Spiking is relatively rare and usually happens late in the editing process...

 (Iran Air Flight 655
Iran Air Flight 655
Iran Air Flight 655 was a civilian jet airliner shot down by U.S. missiles on 3 July 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz, toward the end of the Iran–Iraq War...

) after Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch
Keith Rupert Murdoch, AC, KSG is an Australian-American business magnate. He is the founder and Chairman and CEO of , the world's second-largest media conglomerate....

's takeover, he moved to The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

, with his first report published there on 28 April 1989.

Lebanon, and other conflicts

Fisk has been living in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 since 1976,
and was present in Beirut throughout the Lebanese civil war
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

. He was one of the first journalists to visit the scene of the Sabra and Shatila massacre
Sabra and Shatila massacre
The Sabra and Shatila massacre took place in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon between September 16 and September 18, 1982, during the Lebanese civil war. Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were massacred in the camps by Christian Lebanese Phalangists while the camp...

 in Lebanon, as well as the Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

n Hama Massacre
Hama massacre
The Hama massacre occurred in February 1982, when the Syrian army, under the orders of the president of Syria Hafez al-Assad, conducted a scorched earth policy against the town of Hama in order to quell a revolt by the Sunni Muslim community against the regime of al-Assad...

. His book on the Lebanese conflict, Pity the Nation
Pity the Nation
Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War is a book by award winning English journalist Robert Fisk. The book is an account of the Lebanese civil war 1975-1990 which Fisk lived through and reported on. It gives an insight into the machinations of the war and has many eyewitness accounts from the people Fisk...

, was first published in 1990. Fisk also reported on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Kosovo war
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

, the Algerian civil war
Algerian Civil War
The Algerian Civil War was an armed conflict between the Algerian government and various Islamist rebel groups which began in 1991. It is estimated to have cost between 150,000 and 200,000 lives, in a population of about 25,010,000 in 1990 and 31,193,917 in 2000.More than 70 journalists were...

, and the Iran-Iraq War
Iran-Iraq War
The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran, lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the longest conventional war of the twentieth century...

. Fisk suffered partial but permanent hearing loss as a result of his being within close proximity to Iraqi heavy artillery in the Shatt-al-Arab when covering the early stages of the Iran-Iraq conflict.

Osama bin Laden

Fisk is one of the few Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 - three times (all published by The Independent: 6 December 1993, 10 July 1996, and 22 March 1997). During one of Fisk's interviews with Bin Laden, Fisk noted an attempt by Bin Laden to convert him. Bin Laden said; "Mr Robert, one of our brothers had a dream. He dreamed ... that you were a spiritual person ... this means you are a true Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

." Fisk replied; "Sheikh Osama, I am not a Muslim ... I am a journalist ... A journalist's task is to tell the truth." Bin Laden replied: "If you tell the truth, that means you are a good Muslim."

During the 1996 interview, Bin Laden accused the Saudi royal family
House of Saud
The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...

 of corruption. During the 1997 (and final) interview, Bin Laden said he sought God's help "to turn America into a shadow of itself".

11 September attacks

Fisk condemned the 11 September 2001 attacks, describing them as a "hideous crime against humanity
Crime against humanity
Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings...

." He also denounced the Bush administration
George W. Bush administration
The presidency of George W. Bush began on January 20, 2001, when he was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush, George W...

's response to the attacks, arguing that "a score of nations" were being identified and positioned as "haters of democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

" or "kernels of evil," and urged a more honest debate on U.S. policy in the Middle East. He argued that such a debate had hitherto been avoided "because, of course, to look too closely at the Middle East would raise disturbing questions about the region, about our Western policies in those tragic lands, and about America's relationship with Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

."

In August 2007 Fisk expressed personal doubts about the official historical record of the 11 September attacks. In an article for The Independent, he claimed that, while the Bush administration was incapable of successfully carrying out such attacks due to its organisational incompetence: "I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11." He proceeded to raise his concerns about a lack of aircraft debris, the melting point of steel, the collapse of World Trade Center 7, misidentified suicide-hijackers, the authenticity of correspondence attributed by the CIA to Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta was one of the masterminds and the ringleader of the September 11 attacks who served as the hijacker-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, crashing the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the coordinated attacks.Born in 1968...

, and other familiar questions that have circulated within the 9/11 Truth Movement
9/11 Truth Movement
9/11 Truth movement is a collective name for loosely affiliated organizations and individuals who question the accepted account of the September 11, 2001, attacks....

. He added that he does not condone the "crazed 'research' of David Icke
David Icke
David Vaughan Icke is an English writer and public speaker, best known for his views on what he calls "who and what is really controlling the world." Describing himself as the most controversial speaker in the world, he has written 18 books explaining his position, and has attracted a substantial...

 [...] I am talking about scientific issues". Fisk had earlier addressed similar concerns in a speech at Sydney University in 2006. During the speech, Fisk said: "Partly I think because of the culture of secrecy of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

, never have we had a White House so secret as this one. Partly because of this culture, I think suspicions are growing in the United States, not just among Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

 guys with flowers in their hair[...] But there are a lot of things we don’t know, a lot of things we’re not going to be told[...] perhaps the plane was hit by a missile, we still don’t know."

War in Afghanistan

After the United States launched its attack on Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, Fisk was for a time transferred to Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 to provide coverage of that conflict. While reporting from there, he was attacked and beaten by a group of Afghan refugees fleeing heavy bombing by the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. He was saved from this attack by another Afghan refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

. In his graphic account of his own beating, Fisk pardoned the attackers of responsibility and pointed out that their "brutality was entirely the product of others, of us—of we 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.'"

Iraq

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, Fisk was stationed in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 and filed many eyewitness reports. He has criticized other journalists based in Iraq for what he calls their "hotel journalism", literally reporting from one's hotel room without interviews or first hand experience of events.
His opposition to the war brought criticism from both Sunday Independent
Sunday Independent
The Sunday Independent is a broadsheet Sunday newspaper published in Ireland by Independent News and Media plc. The newspaper is edited by Aengus Fanning, and is the biggest selling Irish Sunday newspaper by a large margin ; average circulation of 291,323 between June 2004 and January 2005,...

columnist and senator
Seanad Éireann
Seanad Éireann is the upper house of the Oireachtas , which also comprises the President of Ireland and Dáil Éireann . It is commonly called the Seanad or Senate and its members Senators or Seanadóirí . Unlike Dáil Éireann, it is not directly elected but consists of a mixture of members chosen by...

, Eoghan Harris
Eoghan Harris
Eoghan Harris is an Irish journalist, fiction writer, director, columnist and politician. He currently writes for the Sunday Independent. He was a member of Seanad Éireann from 2007–11, having been nominated by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern....

,
and The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

columnist, Simon Hoggart
Simon Hoggart
Simon David Hoggart is an English journalist and broadcaster. He writes on politics for The Guardian, and on wine for The Spectator. Until 2006 he presented The News Quiz on Radio 4...

.

Fisk has criticised the American handling of the sectarian violence in post-invasion Iraq, and argued that the official narrative of sectarian conflict is not possible: "The real question I ask myself is: who are these people who are trying to provoke the civil war? Now the Americans will say it's Al Qaeda, it's the Sunni insurgents. It is the death squads. Many of the death squads work for the Ministry of Interior. Who runs the Ministry of Interior in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

? Who pays the Ministry of the Interior? Who pays the militia men who make up the death squads? We do, the occupation authorities [...] We need to look at this story in a different light."

Books

Fisk has published a number of books. His 2005 work, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East is a book published in 2005 by the award-winning English journalist Robert Fisk. The book is a compilation of many of the articles Fisk wrote when he was serving as a correspondent in the Middle East for The Times and The Independent...

, with its criticism of Western and Israeli approaches to the Middle East, was well-received by critics and students of international affairs, and is perhaps his best-known work.
  • The Point of No Return: The Strike which Broke the British in Ulster (1975). London: Times Books/Deutsch. ISBN 0-233-96682-X
  • In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality, 1939-1945 (2001). London: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-2411-8 — (1st ed. was 1983).
  • Pity the Nation
    Pity the Nation
    Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War is a book by award winning English journalist Robert Fisk. The book is an account of the Lebanese civil war 1975-1990 which Fisk lived through and reported on. It gives an insight into the machinations of the war and has many eyewitness accounts from the people Fisk...

     : Lebanon at War
    (3rd ed. 2001). London: Oxford University Press; xxi, 727 pages. ISBN 0-19-280130-9 — (1st ed. was 1990).
  • The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
    The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
    The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East is a book published in 2005 by the award-winning English journalist Robert Fisk. The book is a compilation of many of the articles Fisk wrote when he was serving as a correspondent in the Middle East for The Times and The Independent...

    (October 2005) London. Fourth Estate; xxvi, 1366 pages. ISBN 1-84115-007-X
  • The Age of the Warrior: Selected Writings (2008) London, Fourth Estate ISBN 978 0 00 727073 6

Video documentary

Fisk produced a three-part series titled From Beirut To Bosnia in 1993 which Fisk says was an attempt "to find out why an increasing number of Muslims had come to hate the West." Fisk says that the Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 did not show a repeat of the films, after initially showing them in full, due to a letter campaign launched by pro-Israel groups such as CAMERA
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America is an American non-profit pro-Israel media watchdog group. The group says it was founded in 1982 "to respond to the Washington Post's coverage of Israel's Lebanon incursion", and to respond to what it considers the media's "general...

.

Forgery misattributed to Robert Fisk

  • Saddam Hussein - From Birth to Martyrdom (2007). Egypt: Ibda; 272 pages.

Awards

In 1991, Fisk won a Jacob's Award for his RTÉ Radio
RTÉ Radio 1
RTÉ Radio 1 is the principal radio channel of Irish public-service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann and is the direct descendant of Dublin radio station 2RN, which began broadcasting on a regular basis on 1 January 1926...

 coverage of the first Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

. He received Amnesty International UK Press Awards
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 in 1998 for his reports from Algeria and again in 2000 for his articles on the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999
Operation Allied Force
The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was NATO's military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. The strikes lasted from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999...

. In 1999, Fisk won the Orwell Prize
Orwell Prize
The Orwell Prize used to be regarded as the pre-eminent British prize for political writing.Three prizes are awarded each year: one for a book, one for journalism and another for blogging...

 for journalism.

He has received the British Press Awards
British Press Awards
The British Press Awards is an annual ceremony that celebrates the best of British journalism. Established in the 1970s, honours are voted on by a panel of journalists and newspaper executives...

' International Journalist of the Year
British International Journalist of the Year award
The International Journalist of the Year award is one of the honours given annually by the British Press Awards. The journalist to have won the award most often is Robert Fisk....

 seven times, and twice won its "Reporter of the Year" award. In 2001, he was awarded the David Watt Prize for "outstanding contributions towards the clarification of political issues and the promotion of their greater understanding" for his investigation into the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Genocide—also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Crime—refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I...

 by the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1915. In 2002 he was the fourth recipient of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism
Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism
The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, named for the renowned war correspondent, Martha Gellhorn, was established in 1999 by the Martha Gellhorn Trust. It is founded on the following principles:...

. More recently, Fisk was awarded the 2006 Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize
Lannan Literary Awards
The Lannan Literary Awards are a series of awards and literary fellowships given out in various fields by the Lannan Foundation. Established in 1989, the awards are meant "to honor both established and emerging writers whose work is of exceptional quality", according to the foundation...

 along with $350,000.

He was made an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

 on 24 June 2004. The Political and Social Sciences department of Ghent University
Ghent University
Ghent University is a Dutch-speaking public university located in Ghent, Belgium. It is one of the larger Flemish universities, consisting of 32,000 students and 7,100 staff members. The current rector is Paul Van Cauwenberge.It was established in 1817 by King William I of the Netherlands...

 (Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

) awarded Fisk an honorary doctorate
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

 on 24 March 2006. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the American University of Beirut
American University of Beirut
The American University of Beirut is a private, independent university in Beirut, Lebanon. It was founded as the Syrian Protestant College by American missionaries in 1866...

 in June 2006. Trinity College Dublin awarded him a second, honorary, Doctorate in July 2008.

Fisk gave the 2005 Edward Said Memorial lecture at Adelaide University.

In 2011, Fisk was awarded the International Prize at the Amalfi Coast Media Awards in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

.

Fisk is also a recipient of the College Historical Society's "Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse".

Further reading


External links

  • Column archive at The Independent
    The Independent
    The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

  • Article archive at Journalisted
  • Robert Fisk on the Gap Between U.S. Rhetoric and Action in the Egyptian Uprising - video interview by Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

    , 2011
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