[PDF / Epub] ★ The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East By Robert Fisk – Saudionline.co.uk

The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East summary The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, series The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, book The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, pdf The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East 8cd5079364 A Sweeping And Dramatic History Of The Last Half Century Of Conflict In The Middle East From An Award Winning Journalist Who Has Covered The Region For Over Thirty Years, The Great War For Civilisation Unflinchingly Chronicles The Tragedy Of The Region From The Algerian Civil War To The Iranian Revolution From The American Hostage Crisis In Beirut To The Iran Iraq War From TheGulf War To The American Invasion Of Iraq InA Book Of Searing Drama As Well As Lucid, Incisive Analysis, The Great War For Civilisation Is A Work Of Major Importance For Today S World

10 thoughts on “The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East

  1. says:

    If journalistic chronicle is first draft of history, here s a clarion call of a book that distills than thirty years of reporting into a veritable micro history of the contemporary Middle East which, despite standing at 1300 pages, feels too short for the staggering war saga in a state of flux.This one book taught me about the forces that shaped rather misshaped the Middle East post World War Two than the cacophony of security experts keeping publishing industry in business for their shallow analyses designed to hide than reveal.Robert Fisk warns in this book about the descent into chaos sitting just round the corner as a consequence of illegal Western wars of the previous decade, whether fought directly or by proxy, and West s propping up of the most illiberal forces in the region A decade later everything has come true.

  2. says:

    I was listening to an interview with Fisk, thirty years a reporter in the Middle East, on Democracy Now when Amy Goodman asked him what gave him hope Five, ten, fifteen seconds of silence and then one word nothing The flat tone and finality of it caused me to choke on tears Silence, then Goodman, almost incredulous, asked, Nothing Fisk, responding, No, nothing Then, sensing that this isn t what the audience wanted or perhaps needed he back pedaled and said something about compassionate people, etc It is the nothing that stays in my thoughts And what other word is appropriate No other word comes to mind after having read this massive personal political memoir Life and death and death and lies and suffering and hubris and death History for you, yeah, and there was some joy mixed in From the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the U.S and British invasion of Iraq in 2003, Fisky was there monitoring the centres of power , in the words of the Israeli journalist Amiri Haas This 1000 page book about reporting from some of the most brutal conflicts is shot through with Fisk s memory of his parents and historical notes that provide eerie parallels to modern times such as the British invasion of Iraq in 1916 Fisk does not provide us with a vain reporter s memoir filled with ego and triumph he s as hard on himself as on world leaders sometimes , but with an accounting of atrocities and a call to account to those in power Brilliant, deadly, gruesome, compassionate, outraged, complicated, despondent unflinchingly looks at horror and condemns all those who cause and condone it Difficult to stomach just reading about the carnage and duplicity he has witnessed, but I don t think Fisk believes in looking away, no matter how painful Neither do I Highest recommendations.

  3. says:

    Updated 18 06 09 it s coincidence I finished this book exactly one year ago currently rereading the chapters on Israel Palestine Sorrow Indignation Dismay Abhorrence Horror Disgust Wrath All the things that haunt you through the nights If there s one history book that totally changes the way I see the world, it must be this one It is an extremely hard read, not so much because of its length but the gruesome story told Robert Fisk leads us through a harrowing journey of tremendous human sufferings, repugnant betrayal and indifference of the West, monstrous dictators and deplorable cowardice and hypocrisy of Western media and journalism While reading this book, the horror haunted me and a voice in my mind kept screaming wtf Isn t it enough How can we stop this It was almost impossible not to cringe even when I skimmed through the passages describing the Armenian genocide, Saddam Hussein s gassing his own people, Iraqi children withering away into oblivion in despair without medicine, Algerian babies dying with their throats slit open The Middle East is a hell disaster, as Fisk describes it, and it has a lot to do with colonialism, conquest, war and human folly at an unstoppable scale If you ever wonder why some terrorist , barbarous Palestinians, Iraqis hate America so much, this book offers a perfect explanation It does not take that much, if your enemy is all powerful and can kill your people with impunity or your would be liberators imposed sanctions that silently killed and stunted half a million children and blasted your whole family to liberate you No, it does not take that much at all Just a little bit of indifference, cowardice, prejudice, ignorance and lots of strategic interest The tragedy started soon after the fall of Ottoman empire The Middle East was carved up and given to a bunch of families without any regard for the wish of the people, despite Woodrow Wilson s good intentions The Kurds were betrayed, so too were the Armenians, the Syrians, the Palestinians, the Algerians, and later on the Iranians, the Saudi Arabs, the Iraqi Shiites and Kurds alike One has all the right to doubt the Western slogan of democracy when they support all the most ruthless demons as long as they are on our side and typically conveniently walk away once their enemies are defeated without casting a single thought on those left behind Maybe the chapter that outraged me the most was the one on Iraq, with all heinous hypocrisy of the Americans After liberating Kuwait and dropping bombs on Iraq than on Japan and Germany during WWII, the USA appealed to the Iraqis people to stand up against Saddam Hussein and grotesquely abandoned them to Saddam s callous forces They stood a very good chance of getting rid of Saddam that year, but fearing the instability the Kurds might have caused to our good friend Turkey, the Americans preferred Saddam And during that same decade, covert bombings destroyed the lives of thousands of people, with other millions dying without any medicine or clean water And how ludicrously the Americans expected to be greeted as heroes years afterward Fisk s story is one of human wickedness and viciousness, both from the powerful and the vanquished It s a vicious cycle of greed and brutality, despair and revenge, and punishment, and revenge And I think this is exactly the problem with unquestionable power and the lack of just punishment for all sides, Americans or Israelis or Arabs He also righteously expresses his disgust at the bias of western media in the face of authority and censorship I believe Fisk has a clear bias, a bias toward the victims, the weak, the defenseless to bring their voices to the world, to speak strongly and harshly against power, empire and violence Not only a depressing and brutally honest history work, the book is a passionate and bitter memoir of a man of impeccable courage and integrity.There s something very poignant and profound about this book that deeply affected me It is perhaps our attitude toward history and responsibility in the present I am not an American, not a Western, but let me pretend I am one just for a moment There is something disgraceful and horrifying about the functioning of our democracy When I saw the huge Gaza demonstration in Sydney, something very odd occurred to me Somehow, our governments no longer represent our public opinion, which is against war and for a Palestinian state America went to war in 2003 when the rest of the world was against it Somehow, our voices no longer count, somehow, our government have this tremendous power to ignore us to go their way.Our policy, often made by people who are ignorant of history or culture of the local people, indifferent to their wishes and have no idea what it is like to shiver in fear under the torrents of bombs and missiles, can kill and bring tragedy to so many people living on the other side of the world Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chile The wounds never heal That makes us bear this responsibility of learning about the past, the history, the disasters made by our past leaders, to avoid repeating the same blunders in the present, to ceaselessly remind ourselves that somewhere in the world, people are suffering because of our governments actions As Noam Chomsky says, everyone becomes a nationalist when it comes to criticizing our own country But we must hold our government accountable for all the collateral damage and civilian killings and violation of international law if we ever want to keep our humanity intact It is so easy to sit down, watch tv and believe in the endless soap opera of the war on terror But we must ask ourselves why are they so angry at us I think it is incredibly irresponsible to not know, to be ignorant and to label them all as terrorists , fundamentalists , generically violent Every story of rage is one of despair, despair in the face of unstoppable power and endless humiliation Fisk probably believes in collective guilt, and I must agree with him to a certain extent that each of us living in a democracy is inevitably partially responsible for these atrocities and the silence from our leaders to the injustice visited upon the people in the region Learning history is vital especially in times of war, to understand that our conquest is doomed to fail in the end, that no one wants to be occupied and they will fight until the end of days to get rid of us I wonder if Obama remembers that the Afghans were one of the fiercest armies that fought the Russians and British out of Afghanistan than a century ago, and then the Soviets 30 years ago, why is he still sending troops to this unwinnable war Soldier and civilian, they died in their tens of thousands because death had been concocted for them, morality hitched like a halter round the warhorse so that we talk about target rich environments and collateral damage that most infantile of attempts to shake off the crime of killing and report the victory parades, the tearing down of statues and the important of peace Governments like it that way They want their people to see war as a drama of opposites, good and evil, them and us , victory or defeat But war is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death It represents the total failure of the human spirit.I have witnessed events that over the years can only be defined as an arrogance of power After the Allied victory of 1918, the victors divided up the lands of their former enemies In the space of just seventeen months, they created the borders of Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia and most of the Middle East And I have spent my entire career in Belfast and Sarajevo, in Beirut and Baghdad watching these peoples within those borders burn America invaded Iraq not for Saddam s Hussein s mythical weapons of mass destruction but to change the map of the Middle East, much as my father s generation had done than eighty years earlier We journalists should try to be the first impartial witnesses to history If we have any reason for our existence, the least must be our ability to report history as it happens so no one can say We didn t know no one told us Our job is to monitor the centers of power That is the best definition of journalism I have heard to challenge authority all authority especially so when governments and politicians take us to war, when they have decided that they will kill and others will die I was delighted by Obama s speech in Cairo last week For the first time, a US president acknowledged his country s errors in the past and criticized Israel openly before a Muslim population Finally, there is genuine apology and change of direction Obama probably realizes that war does not work, terror does not work, and the healing must start from honestly facing the past How he is going to translate his rhetoric into action, that is left as an open question that remains to be seen.

  4. says:

    Superbly written No punches pulled and harrowing, but recommended to anyone trying to make sense of the Middle East, and the West s meddling thereI picked this up in an effort to try to make sense of the turmoil in the Middle East Robert Fisk, Journalist Correspondent of the Times and then the Independent shows that it s by no means easy to do that This is always compelling reading whilst experiencing heartbreak and rage.We follow his intrepid journeys into trouble spots , a euphemism as he s frequently under enemy fire Be prepared to read of atrocities which beggar belief and make me feel ashamed at the number of times western eyes are averted, whilst steadily supporting the perpetrators Our so called democracies glistening in sunshine provided by media hacks running at their heels.Robert Fisk gave me here an insight into quality international journalism at the sharp end the ever human cameraderie of his fellow journalists, not all of whom would make it out alive Contrast this with our media manipulations eg terrorist someone s who is anti Israel, committing wicked crimes The most a U.S president will say of an Israeli suicide gunman who happens to be an Israeli army reservist mowing down Arab worshippers in a mosque is a gross act of murder , a terrible tragedy But not a wicked crime Only the other side commits those Weasel words.Israel s hold over the west, whatever the odds, is staggering.There is so much here I don t know where to start Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Israel Gaza, Palestine , Kuwait, Saudi Arabia Again and again, Robert Fisk shows this as a backdrop to his father Bill Fisk s experiences of fighting in WW1 The Great War of Civilisation , the scars that left on him and those around him eg his refusal to execute a fellow comrade for desertion His son s experiences on the journalistic front line bring him closer to his dead, irascible father, helping him to better understand the man and his world in general Many of the chapters are prefaced very effectively with extracts from the war poets I read this on my Kindle not ideal I ve since invested in a hard copy I ll refer to it from time to time Re reading would be a long shot But perhaps I could live to be 200 with marbles intact Unlikely, I fear.Recommended but in sensible doses.

  5. says:

    But war is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death It represents the total failure of the human spirit It would be spurious to suggest that I m not haunted by this book Maybe it is a touch of American isolationism, perhaps a hint of xenophobia, that we meaning I don t peer into these pages Robert Fisk has proven, amongst loftier achievements, to be an audible author Dozens of times over the past three days I sighed and groaned under the spell of his vivid accounts Whereas his devotion to the Iran Iraq War was singular and crushing, his interlude revisiting the Armenian genocide was overly familiar given our reading last summer of Burning Tigris, a text Fisk cites on several turns Yesterday afternoon I arrived at the plight of the Palestinians the expanse and compunction of the myriad Treaties and Accords, the all too familiar events which I recall so directly, the settlements, the Intifadas, the ultimate fall of Sharon and Arafat, who asked Fisk about Michael Collins fate All of these insights imprint themselves on the conscious reader I hesitate to say accusations ring and that culpability adheres like the noisome legacy of an accident I dare anyone to attempt otherwise.

  6. says:

    I don t know why I read books like this Or rather, I do the Middle East is one of the critical flash points of this century and I think it s important to know how we got to this point But dammit, I just get so damn angry and depressed when I read such books that I sometimes think it s not worth it As I write this, the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraqi invasion is proceeding apace in the UK The evidence that has come out so far has been bleak and depressing, and largely corroborates the views expressed by Robert Fisk in this book Even depressing is the thought that American supporters of the war will not view, read, or otherwise engage meaningfully with the evidence coming out of that inquiry As I write this, the Israeli government has declared a temporary stop to the building of settlements on land seized after the 1967 war If history has anything to teach us, it is simply that this will mean nothing If history has anything to teach us, it is that two peoples cannot demand the right to the same land without one being exterminated I can imagine Robert Fisk getting angry at all this From this book, it would seem that he is, indeed, a very angry man But he is pro Arab Pro terrorist Anti American A rabid anti Semite No Fisk is not just angry at the actions of successive Israeli and American administrations He is angry at Saddam, at the Iranian theocracy, at Yassar Arafat and at Hamas, and at all the various repressive and autocratic Middle Eastern regimes He is angry at a history of colonial betrayals by British and French governments He is especially angry at policies on all sides that result in innocent civilians, innocent women, children and babies, dying in pain, anguish and horror It should make us all angry I don t know why I read books like this Or rather, I do And you should read it too.

  7. says:

    I really don t know what to do with this review I ve just read 1,300 pages detailing the worst kind of misery, torture, man s inhumanity to his fellow man, greed, callousness, and naked aggression Reading about the world Robert Fisk has seen during his 30 years covering the Middle East quite simply leaves you with no hope How can you read for example about the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Iran by American and British agents in 1953 and not draw a direct line to 1979 and the horrors the Ayatollah unleashed on the world and his own people How can you not read about the US intervention in Iraq and its subsequent chaos and not draw a line to the British invasion 80 years earlier with similarly disastrous results What of America proclaiming to the world the wonders of democracy and then supporting brutal regimes monetarily and militarily that crush democracy Why must we time after time repeat the most horrific of mistakes and support the most brutal of men Surely there must be some hope that this insanity will end Sadly no, there is very little here that inspires hope Very little that indicates anyone has learned any important lesson that could even temporarily delay the frightening downward trajectory the Middle East has been lurching toward for generations And yet, we must continue, like Fisk, to bring light to these dark corners of the world where evil unfolds If for no other reason than to give names to the thousands who die under brutal regimes or give their lives to win the freedom to rule themselves Through telling the personal stories of those who suffer from the machinations of the great powers, this book does that and becomes an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to begin to understand this troubled patch of earth Apologies for a somewhat incoherent review but this book truly shook me to my core No amount of time or thought would allow me to write anything approaching what this book deserves.

  8. says:

    A Tour de ForceThis book is a literary opus It is extremely well written and I am talking of a book of 1,000 plus pages Surprisingly, it is written in the first person based on interviews and up front experiences The author has lived in the Middle East for over thirty years and the book is journalistic history with the emphasis on journalism This is a book about war this is no dry, academic dissertation it is a personal experience and I suspect somewhat of a catharsis and a labour of love for the author to have written this book I am no expert on the Middle East, but I felt I learnt a lot from this book Also, after reading this book I have no great desire to visit the Middle East I prefer my quiet and peaceful Canadian homeland The book made me re evaluate my views on Israel To borrow a christian expression there are NO saints in the Middle East or to the point no peacemakers Mr Fisk has spent considerable time in Lebanon and Israel plus Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Jordan and Algeria He writes with authority about each of these countries about the turbulent catastrophic events that have occurred there the Iran Iraq wars, the Russian, and then American invasion of Afghanistan, the Gulf War and the current disastrous American invasion occupation of Iraq, the Israeli Palestinian Lebanese war or annexation of Palestinian land it is all in this book Even the Armenian genocide has first hand accounts by Mr Fisk With war, Mr Fisk does not spare us some of the descriptions are horrific and some are beyond the horrific There are mutilations of children by Smart bombs, Israeli helicopters kill children in ambulances, suicide bombers kill children in pizzerias, Iranian armies recruit teenagers who believe they will go to nirvana to walk through minefields Torture is endemic None who have gone to the Middle East have resisted this disease we all saw the pictures of Abu Ghraib Mr Fisk also does a Michael Moore by reclaiming the remnants of a missile that killed children He returns with these fragments to the manufacturers in the United States and presents them with the photographic consequences of their nefarious product No one is spared or excused by Mr Fisk All come under scrutiny in his writings and first hand observations In a sense the book all 1,038 pages can be quite relentless Part of this is because there are no solutions offered How does one plea with a suicide bomber How does one reason with a people who believe it their right to dispossess another group from their homes There are times when Mr Fisk seems to feel he has a monopoly on the truth he is for the most part quite scathing of other newspapers and media except his own I am a frequent reader of The New York Times and cannot remember a favourable article on the Bush administration in that paper for several years From reading Mr Fisk s book, one would think that The New York Times was a virtual mouthpiece of the Bush administration constantly trumpeting the alleged successes of the U.S in all Middle Eastern countries Also in a chapter on Afghanistan, Mr Fisk states that the Taliban were not actively profiting from the exportation of narcotics Mr Fisk cites a reference from Taliban a book by Ahmed Rashid on the treachery of Afghan warlords In the same book by Mr Rashid, there is an entire chapter devoted to describing how the Taliban were profiting enormously from heroin and drug trafficking I also found Mr Fisk on shakier ground when describing the world after effects of 9 11 What does he expect a superpower to do when major cities are senselessly and ruthlessly attacked initiate peace talks with Al Qaeda Though it is deplorable and has cost massive human loss the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are civilized if we compare them to other 20th century invasions like the German invasion of Poland, or for that matter the American invasion of Vietnam In Iraq a vicious dictator was deposed and arrested In both countries, real elections have occurred for the first time in many years Nevertheless this is a very moving and passionate book there is much to be gained from a thorough reading of it I now have a different perspective and will read articles on the Middle East with a discerning eye.

  9. says:

    This is a book that is about Fisk himself as it is about the events that he has witnessed and reported on inside the Greater Middle East It is not a good book, by that I mean it does not leave the reader feeling pleasant or even satisfied That is why it is in many ways a great book.Fisk has lived in Lebanon and reported on the events of the Middle East since the late 1970s, he was on the ground when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, he was there when they left and the nation was wracked with calamity and marred in tribal tragedy He was there to interview Osama Bin Laden, when he was a freedom fighting hero to when he was a relatively unknown dangerous man of some interest Reporting with constant wariness, warning not only from Afghanistan but throughout the Middle East, that something big was coming And suddenly when it occurred in 2001, the Middle East, Islam, Bin Laden all suddenly mattered.Fisk was there when the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan and when Bin Laden s name was suddenly on everyone s lip alongside the words evil or terrorist He reported on the terrible crimes of the Taliban, the Northern Alliance and the murderous operations of the United States as they blew innocent human beings apart in their pursuit of Bin Laden and self righteous justice.This is a book that spans the recent histories of Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, the Gulf States and Lebanon Though it was written in 2006, it is as still relevant It foreshadows what we are now witnessing and what those inside the Middle East are suffering, now is history and the future is unfortunately horribly inevitable Especially so long as we continue to see the same patterns of intervention and despotic leaders both government and tribal use religion, nationalism and ethnicity to sow further seeds of violence.Fisk, though a journalist has the command of an interested and well informed historian He does narrate and impose his opinions as he reveals facts and dates and while some facts have been slightly ajar, he gives extensive sources and notes to make this a comprehensive and important read Because of that it is a dense book.A book filled with names of actual human beings, not merely the great men of history Those significant heroes and villains of the world stage who seem to take up so much attention and focus when depicting events and regions This is a book that painfully tells, however briefly, the stories of the many dead The people who were tortured to death, blown to pieces, beheaded, gunned down or shot out of the sky Soldiers, journalists, women, children and old men Those beings that make the bloody tapestry of history, it is with their sinews and flesh that the fabric of life is bound and yet it is easy to forget this Fisk however does not let the reader forget so easy.Many have condemned this book and Fisk in general of being Anti Israel or Anti West This is not the case He is anti atrocity, anti murder, anti abuse The book has as much criticism for Iraq and Iran under both the Shah and Ayatollah, and when Saddam was an important friend to the West to when he was a pariah ruler It calls to attention the violence of both Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO while also recounting the Israeli violations and the terrible conduct of their South Lebanese militia allies It is anti West in the sense that it depicts the many crimes against individuals from the early days of colonial supremacy, whether this was in gassing tribesmen from aeroplanes, to the many massacres in the streets of Arab towns, deceit of politics as was the case at Versailles to the recent support of tyrants and terror groups up to the invasions of Iraq and bombing of Lebanese towns during its civil war It reports on the events as they horribly are Western narrative be damned.It is an unkind book to the legacies of both George Bush s and Prime Minister Blair, along with their many eager allies It is unflattering to the murderous Assad regimes of Syria, the torturers of Abu Gharib both pre American invasion and post , it criticises Yasser Arafat and his many Israeli counter parts with as much objectivity Is it empathetic to the Muslim world In so much that Fisk lives among Shia, Sunnis, Maronite, Jew alike and sees them as human beings with unique perspectives and understandings of their own cultures and theologies It does not tar Islam as the harbinger of global misery nor does he praise it as being a complete philosophy absent of some condemnations, especially when its holiest living men can so easily brutalise their fellow man This goes for all religions, both theological and worldly The problem lies in Man Not in whatever ideology they claim to murder for Fisk portrays this simply with the events of the real world Robert Fisk perhaps loves the Middle East as much as he despises it He is honest with it Such honesty is painful and important We cannot live without truth and facts, at least not for the long run I highly recommend this book as a historical read for those interested in the region In some ways it is very prophetic, that comes as no surprise as journalists such as Fisk, shop keepers and taxi drivers along with peasants and hair dressers who live in the world that the pages depict all are in some ways all the prophets of now Seeing then, what we now know now They see and feel the World as it thrives into perpetual chaos around them, while experts and elites dribble on and on with self importance the mortals of common pain actually understand Unfortunately, those of us living in the powerful nations surround ourselves in the experts of failure, absorb ourselves in the lies or self empowering narrative and elect rulers that revel in rhetoric and ply the craft of war and occupation Imperialism is not dead, it is rebranded and has adapted Its consequences are now far worse Fisk has in this book and continues to do so from his minor pulpit at the Independent to tell the stories of real people as war and tyranny bludgeons on For those brave enough, those moral enough, those respectful enough give Fisk your eyes and ears, it is the least we can do for our victims.95 %

  10. says:

    We might be able to escape history We can draw lines in our lives The years of 1918 and 1945 created our new lives in the West We could start again We think we can recommend the same to the peoples of the Middle East But we can t History a history of injustice cloaks them too deeply 1285 In the Gestalt s Web in which we live, the actions taken by living, conscious beings obey the universal laws of growth, cause, effect They take on a life of their own, and continue to grow down through history, leaving their effects in ever larger patterns as the years go on Fisk says How to correct history, that s the thing 1286 How do we break cycles and begin new patterns of justice and reparation Fisk speaks as a pacifist and as one who has acquired his pacifism from direct experience of the horrors of war and the excesses of power through dehumanization For 30 years at the time of writing this book, Fisk lived in the Middle East and was witness to some of the most horrific wars of the past 100 years Fisk s perspective is equally critical of all sides in violent actions Be it oppressed or oppressor, no one is safe when it comes to his criticism of injustices committed upon innocent human victims He will call out the Palestinian for acts of violence as quickly as he will the Israeli soldier Violence does beget violence, but Fisk attempts to show us that violence has a life of its own even without immediate reciprocal violence It shapes the formative years of children who hear and see the realities of its after effects, and conditions attitudes, minds, traditions, and narratives of foreign cultures and unfamiliar beliefs This is part of the universal law Given this, Fisk comments at one point about how remarkably restrained the Muslim world has been considering the violence and occupation inflicted on it by colonialists Fisk s love for human life comes through in his passion for telling us of atrocities This passion is not meant simply to shock, it s meant to tell the truth as much as possible in a profession that cannot escape bias Fisk s attempt at objectivity takes the form of valuing human life above all else, and from that equality of the human he will focus on the atrocity itself and speak against the motives of death To Fisk, nothing justifies killing It can be explained, but not justified That is one of the central messages of this work Another is the thread of hope that he sees in the small actions of others beginning with his father s refusal to execute an Australian deserter in WWI, and continuing with the Iraqi Shiite soldier who comments Islam is a very easy religion, but some radicals make it difficult 1270 Religion, like anything else, becomes co opted and distorted for the purposes of power Ten years after this writing we see greater effects of the disregard of the human in favor of the ideological Was religion created by the divine for its own sake, or for the sake of the All Merciful If the All Merciful, how can it be interpreted in such a violent way Ostensibly religious conflicts in places such as Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon are at base about human failure and the growth of unjust historic actions and not about religion Religion is a cultural cover a language in a part of the world where religion permeates every area of discourse The distortion begins where the language becomes mixed up with personal human failures and shortcomings The ideological becomes confused with ultimate truth, with the essence of the divine message Fisk is not a religious man per se, but his passion for justice gets to the core of all legitimate religious truth and purpose This book is the statement of his career.

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