Sunday, October 05, 2008

Spartan Daily

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Student Culture

Bureau chief talks war on terror with students, community return thispageresult; } Media Credit: Carlos A. Moreno
Robert Fisk (left), an award-winning journalist and author, signs books for Steve Francis (center) and John Williams (right) after a speech at the Engineering Auditorium.

Journalist Robert Fisk spoke about the American and British governments' actions in the Middle East and the decline of newspapers in a discussion at the SJSU Engineering Auditorium on Wednesday to a crowd of more than 200 people.

"He says it like it is. It's his opinion, whether we like it or not," said Hatim Qutob, a mechanical engineering graduate student. "He is an eloquent speaker."

Fisk discussed the war on terror and said it is failing to solve problems.

"If you saw what I saw, you would know there is no such thing as a just war," Fisk said, "and never support a war for any reason."

Fisk said he does not think that either presidential candidate will solve the problems in the Middle East, and also criticized journalists for not asking the right questions and challenging authorities.

"It's the truth you don't see from the mainstream media," said Sheri Amiri, a San Jose resident. "Hopefully, there will be more like Robert Fisk."

When Sept. 11 occurred, Fisk said, nobody asked why it happened. Instead, members of the media asked how it happened and who did it.

He also discussed the problems with the roots of journalism, such as giving fair, neutral coverage. He said he does not favor giving one half of the coverage to one side of an issue, then giving the other half to the opposing view.

"We as journalists should be unbiased and neutral for the side that is suffering," Fisk said.

During the Civil War, he said, media would not devote half of their coverage to the view of the people enslaving Africans, and during World War II, media would not devote half to the Nazis.

"We wish most young journalists would follow in his footsteps," said Muna Sou, an East Bay resident.

Fisk also spoke about why circulation of newspapers is declining. He said that struggling publications are not giving people the information they desire, forcing people to look elsewhere to find information.

"People should come to the Middle East and see it with their own eyes," Fisk said. "Then they will know what to make of the newspaper."

Fisk is an award-winning journalist, who has been honored as the British Press Awards' International Journalist of the Year seven times. He has written multiple books and works as the Middle East bureau chief for the Independent newspaper in London.

Fisk currently lives in Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon.

"I like his first-person account because he actually lives in the Middle East," said Charley Abboud, a senior computer engineering major.

The Arab who are the intelligent and as great in art, culture, language and literature, science and mathematics, warfare, politics and religion and everything else as they have been, it is amazing to me, I can't even understand how little we are taught about them in school! What little we have been told is pure Anti-Arab propaganda. Nothing good is ever said by the West about the Arabs. I think is it racism.
It's about time we heard the other side, not just what people say about them. Let bygones be bygones. The atrocities were just as much on the part of the so-called Christians as anybody, in fact maybe more so. It's my firm conviction that Mohammed and Islam were the scourge of God upon a wicked Christian world, an idolatrous corrupt Christianity, the Roman type of Christianity, because it came when the Dark Ages were almost at their depths, the 600s to the 1100s or 1200s.
We got our Arabic numerals from them. We have a whole book about the influence of Islam on the Western culture and literature and art and science and a lot of other things, even religion. It's the religion of hundreds of millions of Muslims from China to West Africa and millions in the US!
Ted Rudow III,MA
class of 1996

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