Robert Fisk: Shrewd, passionate and well-loved — Parveen Kaur Harnam Singh

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NOVEMBER 5 — As the US presidential elections are underway, with citizens of the US and the world following the updates closely, I learnt about Robert Fisk’s untimely demise.

He would have had a lot to say about the prospects and the two similar figures (both announcing their “wins” before the elections have even come to a close).

He would have expressed his thoughts in his trademark novelistic, critical and highly readable style — one that will be sorely missed.

Robert Fisk was different in that he wrote for Palestinians instead of Israelis: Unorthodox for a man of dual Irish and English citizenship.

Most people are the product of what they were taught. He, on the other hand, saw the way the divide played out from the perspective of a man who saw the real deal — saw the suffering for what it was.

He was always honest in his writing, with the needed dash of brutality where it was warranted.

Given the seriousness of the topics he covered, one would think his writing would be painful to read — they were on occasion, painful because of his perspective; because of the reality of what he was writing and because he was one of the men on the ground.

But there was also humour in what he wrote and a great deal of wit: with comparisons to plays as well as analogies with classic movies and literature.

It always made for great reading. One of the Malaysian newspaper dailies syndicated his work.

I would wait for that day in the week where Robert Fisk’s article would be published. It was something I waited for and always waited for since I was in school, I grew up while reading Robert Fisk – it moulded my frame of thought, that’s how impactful he was as a writer: He was able to seep into our ideals and biases and make us question those beliefs and ideals (beliefs that have been propagated, beliefs that are to some degree indoctrinated in us and beliefs that may not necessarily be based on facts).

He was known as a controversial writer — an unfair and inaccurate assessment. Controversial is a word that does not do him justice.

He was a talented writer, a journalist to be admired and one who should never be forgotten for his contributions. I’m not sure what I have to look forward to in the papers anymore, without that day in the week where I get to read Robert Fisk, that day in the week where I get to crop out his article and save it: For reading again on the weekends or for putting up on the wall of my home.

With all the events that are plaguing us in the world, to have known that a writer like Robert Fisk once existed in our midst is hope enough that there are luminaries amongst us — luminaries who are able to see through the façade of majority opinion, luminaries who are able to have their own minds and see things for what they are.

I hope other luminaries like Robert Fisk show themselves to us soon, for this is a loss in more ways than one.

Rest in Power, Robert Fisk!

* This is the personal opinion of the writer(s) or organisation(s) and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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