CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 3, 2002
EDITOR'S NOTE: A press conference for Robert Fisk is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday,
April 9 in River Room 3 (near the Iowa House Hotel front desk) at the Iowa
'Independent' correspondent Robert Fisk weighs in on bin Laden, terrorism
Fisk, the Middle East correspondent for London's "Independent" newspaper
who thrice has interviewed Osama bin Laden and who drew international attention
after being beaten by Afghan refugees in Pakistan, will speak at a free lecture
Tuesday, April 9 at the University of Iowa.
The lecture, "Sept. 11Ask Who Did It, But For Heaven's Sake Don't
Ask Why," is at 7:30 p.m. at Macbride Auditorium and is hosted by the
University Lecture Committee. Fisk's address will analyze some of the motivations
and history of the Middle East leading up to the terrorist attacks of Sept.
Fisk was initially scheduled to speak at the UI on Oct. 2 but cancelled
the lecture last September in order to report on the news as it happened in
the Middle East. Last December, Fisk's car broke down while he was driving
in Pakistan near the border city of Quetta. Fisk has said that when he attempted
to push the car to the side of the road, he eventually was surrounded by as
many as 100 people before an attack ensued. Fisk has expressed an understanding
about why he was attacked by a mob that threw stones and assaulted him with
punches. It has been reported that many of Fisk's attackers had relatives
killed during the U.S.'s early bombings of the Afghan city, Kandahar.
In a story carried by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), he said, "I'm
going to bear the scars for the rest of my life. Sadly, I broke down in the
wrong place at the wrong time. It doesn't excuse them for beating me up so
badly but there was a real reason why they should hate Westerners so much.
"I don't want this to be seen as a Muslim mob attacking a Westerner
for no reason. They had every reason to be angry. I've been an outspoken critic
of the U.S. actions myself. If I had been them, I would have attacked me."
Fisk has a well-regarded perspective on Middle East terrorism, which is
why he was invited to campus last fall during Middle East Education Week,
an event sponsored by Iowans for Peace with Iraq and several other groups.
Fisk won the Amnesty International UK Press Awards in 1998 for his reports
from Algeria, and in 2000, for his articles on the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
He received a doctorate in political science from Trinity College, Dublin,
Ireland, in 1985 and an honorary doctorate of literature and journalism from
the University of Lancaster, England. He was the "Times Belfast"
correspondent from 1971 to 1975 and the Middle East correspondent from 1976
to 1987. He has covered the recent conflict in Northern Ireland, Israeli invasions
of Lebanon, the Iranian Revolution, the Iran-Iraq war, and the Soviet invasion
of Afghanistan. He has also covered the Gulf War, and wars in Bosnia and Algeria,
Palestinian uprisings, and NATO's war with Yugoslavia.
Fisk recently contributed to "Iraq Under Siege: the Deadly Impact on
Sanctions of War (2000), and wrote Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War (1990,
1992), and In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster, and the Price of Neutrality (1982,