Robert Fisk Has Had Enough

The British reporter, Robert Fisk, was not only a valuable source for me in researching and writing The You of My Song, but a significant moral support, as well, when it came to writing not just with honesty, but with conviction. Now, after spending more than three decades covering the most conflictive areas of Europe and the Middle East, always in the vanguard, Robert Fisk has announced his retirement in an interview on New Zealand Television’s ‘Campbell Live’. In the interview, which you can see here:

Fisk gives the reasons for his decision to leave active duty, and describes his sense of despair at how little positive impact he feels his work has had.What has made Fisk’s journalism unique is his personalized, combative reporting style, along with a notable disregard for personal danger. When he was in Pakistan covering the first days of the American attack on Afghanistan in 2001, he was beaten nearly to death by a crowd of Afghan refugees.The next article he wrote included these lines: “I couldn’t blame them for what they were doing…” and 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.’”

American actor John Malkovich precipitated an international incident when he declared in 2002 at the British Cambridge Union Society, when asked whom he would most like to “fight to the death,” he replied that he would “rather just shoot” journalist Robert Fisk. Fisk’s reply to Malkovich, (published here: http://www.robert-fisk.com/articles77.htm) was eloquent and all inclusive. Continue reading

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You Can’t Say That!

Speak no evilAfter years of simmering indignation with the direction the United States was taking, both at home and abroad, last year I finally started writing The You of My Song: Notes from a Voluntary Exile. Not that I thought I was going to add any new revelations to the story, as the facts are all there for anyone who wants to look them up. I did, however, think I could contribute one new element to the discussion: a fresh point of view, that of a person who rejected the American dream at the end of the sixties, and went looking for something better. I found that alternative in Spain. That’s a long story, which the book deals with in detail. Here, though, I want to remark on an interesting by product which came along with my move across the Atlantic and longtime residence abroad: a clearer view of the country which I left behind. Continue reading

An Amazing Link to the Past… and the Present

In the past few days I’ve added a couple of features to this blog, the beginning of a section of links (“blogroll” in the language of blogging), and a page of quotes from The You of My Song. The links are an important part of the site, as a large part of the book is concerned with communication, and most of these links are to my most trusted and admired sources, people I think everybody should know. These links are just the beginning. I will continue to add more as time goes by.

I want to mention an amazing source which I ran across while doing the research for The You of My Song. I thought that YouTube.com was a site for teenagers to show off their skills in skate boarding and ukelele playing, and for nostalgia buffs to find performances by Leadbelly and Buddy Holly. It is that, but it is much more. I found that it is also a vast audio-visual library of historic and present personages and events. This discovery occurred when I was searching the Web for President Eisenhower’s farewell address, the one where he warns about the potential threat to the American democracy posed by “the military-industrial complex.”

Continue reading