Apr 13 2008

Man of war

 Here’s a great article about Robert Fisk by Rachel Cooke:

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/apr/13/middleeastthemedia.lebanon

 …an interesting paragraph for those of us who lived “over there” and still love Lebanon dearly:

One of the striking things about Fisk is that he has never gone native – or, as he puts it, ‘become one of those mad loonies who go round wearing kafias and empathising’ – a fact he attributes to the fact that the Arab world ‘drives me up the wall’, and to his father, ‘who taught me to be me: he was dismissive of people who tried to copy other people’. But how does he feel about Lebanon? He has a house in Ireland, yet you cannot imagine him ever leaving his flat on the Corniche. ‘I don’t like people who say they love Lebanon,’ he says. ‘They come here, cream off the stories they want, don’t bother to learn the language [he speaks Arabic], then go off and become Moscow correspondent. I love the life I have here, but the Lebanese are dangerous people. They’re hospitable, gracious, cosmopolitan, learned, yet they can rip themselves to pieces in a civil war and kill 150,000 people. Foreigners come here, they smile and Lebanon smiles back, and they don’t spot when she stops smiling. Between “no problem” and haraam [“for shame”], there’s about five seconds. I treat the Lebanese with respect; most people don’t. It’s not my country.’ Does this statement include an element of fear? ‘No. But I think they live a great tragedy. Anyone living in an artificially created country is living a tragedy. They risked their lives for me. [In the hostage crisis] they used to put me in a Druze hat to take me to the airport.’

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2008/04/13/man-of-war/

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