Robert Fisk, veteran UK journalist, dies aged 74

Robert Fisk — May his soul rest in peace; for he tried eminently to create peace and justice in the Middle East

Source: BBC

Veteran foreign correspondent Robert Fisk has died of a suspected stroke at the age of 74.

He had been admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin after falling ill at his home on Friday, and died shortly afterwards, the Irish Times reported.

Fisk won numerous awards for his reporting on the Middle East, starting from the 1970s.

But he also drew controversy for his sharp criticism of the US and Israel, and of Western foreign policy.

Covering wars in the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa for UK newspapers over five decades, the New York Times described him in 2005 as “probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain”.

Born in Maidstone, Kent in 1946, he later took Irish citizenship and had a home in Dalkey outside the capital Dublin.

Irish President Michael D Higgins has expressed his “great sadness” about Fisk’s death on Sunday.

“With his passing the world of journalism and informed commentary on the Middle East has lost one of its finest commentators,” he said in a statement.

In the 1990s he interviewed Osama Bin Laden three times for the paper. He described him as a “shy man” and looking “every inch the mountain warrior of mujahedin legend” in their first interview in 1993.

After the 11 September attacks plotted by Bin Laden, Fisk, an Arabic speaker, spent the next two decades covering conflicts throughout the Middle East, including in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

He was highly regarded for his knowledge of, and deep experience in, the region, and often dismissed journalists who sat behind desks instead of venturing out into the field.

But he also drew criticism for his attacks on Western policy in the Middle East and was accused of being lenient towards the Syrian government in his reporting of the country’s long and brutal civil war.

Articles by Fisk about the US and Israel were often considered highly controversial. He said the Trump administration’s acceptance in 2019 of Israel’s annexation of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights showed Israel had effectively annexed the US, and repeatedly accused Israel of committing war crimes against the Palestinians.

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3 replies

  1. The readers of The Muslim Times must have noticed that I liked and respected Robert Fisk a lot. Every day I would look for his latest articles. A few days ago I even wrote to The Independent that, just because Robert Fisk is my age, he should not slow down writing .

    He was one of the few authors / correspondents who were truly independent. When writing about war crimes he would write about war crimes committed by all sides, whether Assad of Syria or Israel. The ‘usual’ journalist would always write about war crimes committed by the other side but not the side that paid them.

    Rest in Peace …

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