I met Robert Fisk for coffee in the Hamra district of Beirut. I have heard him lecture, have read his books and many of his articles, and had met him briefly once before. I had been calling him periodically to arrange an appointment since October, but he explained he travels to the United States on speaking engagements every three weeks or so. I asked him how he was received in the States given that his views on US foreign policy in the region are generally critical. Surprisingly perhaps, he said he is rarely seriously challenged or heckled but that from time to time protesters show up outside the hall - he said one time he joined them!
His latest book is a tome; "The Great War for Civilization; The Conquest of the Middle East.” I told him after reading it I went out and bought every junk magazine I could find. The inane antics of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were all I could cope with after reading the history of the bloodiest, deadliest century in history; its unending toll of war, violence, sectarian hatreds and destruction. The book is relentless, and at the end I was left wondering how he was able to keep covering ‘wars and rumors of wars’ in this region of the world without going completely mad.