Friday, June 10, 2011

Robert Fisk is Robert Fisk

What's the difference between our armchair journalists and Robert Fisk? It's very simple. Our journos are those who don't know what a journalist should be doing. According to Fisk, journalism must "challenge authority, all authority, especially so when governments and politicians take us to war." Another famous remarks of his about journalism is this: "There is a misconception that journalists can be objective ... What journalism is really about is to monitor power and the centers of power." The last one is a view held by Israeli journalist Amira Hass and Fisk too approves of this definition of fair journalism. Now, how many of our journos are really eligible in this regard? We may have a Tharun Tejpal, Sainath or Praful Bidwai. That must be enough in fact. But how much heed our main stream media is paying to these greats? That's where we fail ourselves. It shouldn't be surprising for it's all too natural that we only get what we really deserve. We are a people who are always too ready and happy to be deluded ourselves into manufactured images of self grandioseness by our rulers or anyone else for that matter.

Coming back to our subject Robert Fisk, let's have a few more words. Fisk is currently writing for the prestigious The independent of UK. Whatever he writes is eagerly awaited each day across the continents. Then his words are translated into a large number of international and vernacular languages in the respected dailies and weeklies the world over. What prompts this kind of receptivity among the readers for a journalist who lives so far away from them? It's his objectivity and sincerity while analyzing the events. contrary to our belief it's not because of the impartiality. He is not impartial always. If there is an obvious aggressor and a clear victim, you have to be partial in solidarity with the victim. This rule especially applies to a sincere journalist. Fisk always upholds this basic principle. Fisk's father was a world war(ii) veteran. and he used to talk about the necessity of wars to achieve a peaceful world. The young Fisk may have realized even at this tender age the perennial futility of war and destruction. Perhaps that's what made him dead set against injustice and imposed wars and invasions.

Though his is a British, he has primarily been based in Beirut for more than 30 years. The New York Times once described Robert Fisk as "probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain." He reported the Northern Ireland troubles in the 1970s, the Portuguese Revolution in 1974, the Lebanese Civil War, the Iranian revolution in 1979, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A vernacular Arabic speaker, he is one of few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden, and did so three times between 1994 and 1997.His awards include being voted International Journalist of the Year seven times.

Fisk has published a number of books. His 2005 work, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, 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.