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 The War in Context
   alternative perspectives on the "war on terrorism"

Interview: the Middle East according to Robert Fisk
Marc Cooper, LA Weekly, April 22, 2002

Interviewer: In your public speeches, you have been suggesting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might turn into something as apocalyptic as the French-Algerian war of four decades ago -- a horrendous war that took well over a million lives. Are things that dark?

Fisk: I think we already have reached those depths. If you go back and read the narrative history of the Algerian war, you'll see it began with isolated acts of sabotage, a few killings of French settlers, followed invariably by large-scale retaliation by the French authorities at which point, starting in the '60s, the Algerians began a campaign against French citizens in Algiers and Oran with bombs in cinemas and discotheques, which today translates into pizzerias and nightclubs in Israel. The French government kept saying it was fighting a war on terrorism, and the French army went in and erased whole Algerian villages. Torture became institutionalized, as it has by the Israeli authorities. Collaborators were killed by Algerian fighters, just as Arafat does so brazenly now. At the end of the day, life became insupportable for both sides.

At Christmas, Ariel Sharon called French President Chirac and actually said, We are like you in Algeria, but "we will stay."
[The complete interview]

COMMENT -- For anyone not already familiar with the Algerian war for independence, the 1965 film The Battle of Algiers is required viewing. "This study of the Algerian guerrilla struggle against the French colonialists in the 50s ought to be looked at not just as pure cinema but as a warning to those who seek by force to crush independence movements."

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September 11 and the declaration of a "war on terrorism," has forced Americans to look at the World in a new light. No one can afford any longer to define the limits of their concerns by refusing to look beyond this nation's borders. If the freedom that every American cherishes, is not to become a freedom bound within a fortress, then every American will need to understand and respect the needs and concerns of the rest of the World. To this end, The War in Context invites anyone with interest and an open mind to listen to the critical discourse in which the policies and actions of the Bush administration are now being questioned. This debate, which is engaging inquiring minds inside and outside America, will hopefully inform the development of a sustainable new world order - a world order in which America is as much shaped by the World as is the World shaped by America.