Veteran foreign correspondent and author Robert Fisk has passed away at his home near Dublin of a suspected stroke. According to the Irish Times, the 74-year-old was admitted to St Vincent’s Private Hospital after becoming unwell on Friday and died shortly after.
The award-winning journalist started his career at Britain’s Sunday Express before moving to Belfast in 1972 to cover the Troubles in Northern Ireland for the Times. A fluent Arabic speaker, he later became the paper’s Middle East correspondent where he famously reported on the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) and the Iranian Revolution and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which both happened in 1979, as well as the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988).
In 1989, after falling out with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times, Fisk joined the Independent where he was featured regularly up until his death.
Fisk was one of the first Western journalists to visit the scene of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon and the Hama massacre in neighbouring Syria. He was also notable for having interviewed the late Al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden on three occasions.
Robert Fisk: Western leaders are too cowardly to help save lives
An outspoken critic of US imperialism and foreign policy in the region, as well as Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Fisk was both celebrated and controversial. His later coverage of the Syrian conflict saw him labelled by detractors as an “Assadist” due to his scepticism of the “moderate Syrian opposition”. He said that there were “no good guys” among the opposition groups. Nevertheless, he was described as “fearless and inquisitive” and the “best of the Independent and independent journalism” in his newspaper’s obituary.
Fisk won the Press Awards “Foreign Reporter of the Year” seven times and authored six books, including Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War and his monumental The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East.
According to reports, Robert Fisk was intending to return to the Middle East in recent days.
Navigating War: Has the War in Syria also Destroyed Journalism?