Thursday, February 09, 2006

Taheri Reviews Fisk's "The Great War for Civilisation"

According to Fisk, the “Anglo-Saxons” began their mischief-making by destroying the Ottoman Empire, provoking the Armenian genocide, which he calls “ The Holocaust”, proceeded to dominate the Middle East, created Israel, installed despotic Arab regimes , and, more recently, changed the regimes of Afghanistan and Iraq through military invasion.

The Anglo-Saxons also share the blame for the Jewish Holocaust because they did nothing to stop the Armenian genocide which inspired Hitler, and then, allowed the Nazis time to consolidate their power.

It would take a book as long to challenge Fisk’s numerous sensational charges against the “Anglo-Saxons”. But a look at two such charges would show that Fisk’s seething anger might have affected his objectivity as a reporter and amateur historian. [snip]

Apparently a passionate man, Fisk presents himself as “a seeker of the truth” and not a mere reporter looking for facts. He says he is not really interested in what and how but in why.

Describing himself as a “tough dog” Fisk says that when he gets “ a rope between my teeth I won’t let go until I shake it and tug it something rotten to see what lies at the other end.” (Sic) He adds” That, after all is what journalists are supposed to do.” But are they?

The trouble is that Fisk’s doglike determination seems to be selective. While magnifying every real or imagined crime committed by the “Anglo-Saxons” he never took time to expose the illegal prisons and torture chambers maintained by Syrian intelligence in Lebanon, where he has lived for 30 years, or the sources of arms and funds for the Lebanese Hezballah.

A whole chapter is devoted to the story of how Fisk, taking a piece of shrapnel from a missile fired by the Israelis in southern Lebanon, travels to Europe and America to prove that the weapon had been manufactured in the United States. But he shows absolutely no interest in the provenance of the Katyushas fired by Hezballah. He is a crusader for a cause, not a reporter; having chosen his side his task is to help it win the information war.

Nor did Fisk ever bother to find out about liberal and democratic movements in the Arab world or to interview anyone other than officials or anti-Western figures. His claim that he is fighting for truth and justice makes him sound more like an advocate rather than a journalist.[snip]

Because he sympathises with “Arab grievances”, Fisk adopts virtually all the conspiracy theories concocted in teahouses from Baghdad to Cairo in the hope of blaming others for all that has gone wrong with the Arabs.

What he does not realise is that by portraying the Arabs as witless pawns in a game they do not understand, he is presenting a new version of the “White Man’s Burden” narrative.

In the original version the “natives”, including the Arabs, must be saved from their own ignorance. In Fisk’s ethnocentric version, the Arabs are helpless victims. In both versions the omnipotent “Imperialist West” can do whatever it pleases with peoples who are mere objects in their own history. In both cases an “us and them” dialectics is at work. This is why Fisk always says “this is what we did” as if the Arabs couldn’t even fix their own kuffiahs. One might wonder how the “Anglo-Saxon” powers that cannot fix the New York traffic jam or the London underground railway system have managed to shape the world, virtually alone, for over a century.

That isn't even the tip of the ass whooping he gives Fisk. As they say, "read the rest"...

The Great War for Civilisation(English)

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