SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Robert Fisk, Farewell

Source SKeyes
Monday , 02 November 2020
Robert Fisk was one of the first names that every foreign correspondent in the region cited when asked about their sources of inspiration. He was behind some of the most moving stories about the civil war in Lebanon. While his writings about the conflict in Syria in the last ten years marked a turn that shocked most of his avid readers, the Samir Kassir Foundation would still like to remember the person who chose Beirut as a second home and Samir Kassir as a friend, writing the foreword to Kassir's ultimate history book on the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

About Beirut, Robert Fisk wrote in 2006

"How does this happen to Beirut? For 30 years, I've watched this place die and then rise from the grave and then die again, its apartment blocks pitted with so many bullets they looked like Irish lace, its people massacring each other.

I lived here through 15 years of civil war that took 150,000 lives, and two Israeli invasions and years of Israeli bombardments that cost the lives of a further 20,000 of its people. I have seen them armless, legless, headless, knifed, bombed and splashed across the walls of houses. Yet they are a fine, educated, moral people whose generosity amazes every foreigner, whose gentleness puts any Westerner to shame, and whose suffering we almost always ignore."

He also witnessed the burgeoning of the October 17 uprising while roaming in the city: 

"But there is something far more serious going on here. The physical rage of Lebanese people is not just a militia outburst. It’s not because ordinary people are hungry – and they are – but because an unjust system (ever more taxes, ever higher prices) is making it impossible to work to bring home money and food."

And perhaps he had to be reminded of what he wrote about Samir Kassir, the day after he was killed:

"So who murdered Samir Kassir?

Nassib Lahoud, who was last night attending a meeting of opposition leaders in Beirut - among them was the Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, who was a close friend of Mr Kassir - had no doubts about the reasons for the murder. "Criminal hands did not target Samir because he was a brilliant journalist," he said. "They did not target Samir because he was a brilliant intellectual. They have targeted Samir for being one of the leaders of Lebanon's spring, because he was part and parcel of the opposition. So the battle with the intelligence apparatus is not over. This assassination is meant to tell us that Lebanon's march towards democracy should not be an easy ride."

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