British journalist Robert Fisk, one of the oldest and most reputable correspondents of the Western press in the Middle East, has died in Dublin at the age of 74 after an illness, his newspaper, “The Independent” reported this Sunday.
The author of seminal books on geopolitics in the Arab world as “Pity the Nation”, on Lebanon, or the encyclopedic “The great war for civilisation” he was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin on Friday and died shortly thereafter, according to the “Irish Times.”
Installed in Beirut for decades, Fisk was one of the most sought after firms in the British press for its anti-conformist character, its didactic pen and its iconoclastic vision of the conflicts that run through the region.
Among other journalistic milestones, he managed to interview the leader of Al Qaeda on up to three occasions, Osama bin Laden, between 1993 and 1997 and his articles were equally sought after and admired by readers in the Arab world, where he was professed an admiration almost greater than in the United Kingdom,
The newspaper “The New York Times” came to classify it as “the most famous correspondent in Britain”.
Born in Maidstone (South East England) in 1946, was posted by the “Times” in 1972 to Belfast at the peak of the Northern Irish conflict, after which he covered the Carnation Revolution in Portugal for the same newspaper.
Since 1976 he moved his residence to Lebanon, where he wrote “Pity the nation”, and landed in “The Independent” in 1989, a newspaper for which he continued to write until his death.
His articles on many occasions went against the flow of Western governments: in 2003 he strongly criticized the invasion of Iraq and in recent years he was accused of being complacent with the authoritarian regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Despite being British, Fisk always felt very attached to Ireland, where he had studied at Trinity College.
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin paid tribute to the journalist in a “tweet” in which he stressed that he was “courageous and independent, with a deeply documented understanding of the complexities of Middle East history and politics.”