PITY THE NATION: Lebanon at War by Robert Fisk

PITY THE NATION: Lebanon at War

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An exhaustive study of Lebanese current events from a distinctly pro-Palestinian perspective. British journalist Fisk (Middle East correspondent for London's Times, 1976-1987) records and analyzes events in Lebanon with major attention given to the Israeli-Arab dispute. The book opens, therefore, not with Fisk's subsequent accounts of the Christian Maronites or the colonial French, but with visits to Auschwitz and the Yad Vashem museum in Israel. To Fisk, the Holocaust memorial ""seemed somehow facile, an instrument of propaganda. . . to justify. . .all that Israel has done. . .a place of accusation against the Arabs of Palestine."" Fisk sees a post-Holocaust Israel as the cause of the Arab-Israeli wars, the Palestinian refugee problem, terrorist bases in Lebanon, a spate of civil wars and invasions, and the undermining of Lebanon's precarious Moslem-Christian balance. In his ensuing litany of battles between Christian, Moslem, Druze, Palestinian, Iranian, and Syrian armies, and his reporting on various personages, including Yassir Arafat ("". . . [his] three-day growth of beard was disturbing. It spoke of laxity and failure. . .""), the detailed, impassioned, and condemnatory writing is reserved for the Israel Defense Forces, the Phalangists, and the Americans. On the other hand, Fisk is so concerned with bad press given to Palestinian freedom fighters that his book's index lists 40 citations where the term ""terrorist"" is misused. The tiring buzz of axe-grinding is often interrupted by hair-raising war reportage and dramatic brushes with fellow Westerners like hostage Terry Anderson--but Fisk is no Thomas Friedman, and this opinionated book is no From Beirut to Jerusalem.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Atheneum