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Last updated on July 2nd, 2017 at 08:43 am
Robert Fisk discovers he’s the best-selling author of a book he didn’t write:
It arrived for me in Beirut under plain cover, a brown envelope containing a small, glossy paperback in Arabic, accompanied by a note from an Egyptian friend. “Robert!” it began. “Did you really write this?”
The front cover bore a photograph of Saddam Hussein in the dock in Baghdad, the left side of his head in colour, the right side bleached out, wearing a black sports jacket but with no tie, holding a Koran in his right hand. “Saddam Hussein,” the cover said in huge letters. “From Birth to Martyrdom.” And then there was the author’s name – in beautiful, calligraphic typeface and in gold in the top, right-hand corner. “By Robert Fisk.”
His identity stolen, Fisk is furious:
Needless to say, I noticed one or two problems with this book. It took a very lenient view of the brutality of Saddam, it didn’t seem to care much about the gassed civilians of Halabja – and it was full of the kind of purple passages which I loathe. “After the American rejection of the Iraqi weapons report to the UN,” ‘Robert Fisk’ wrote, “the beating of war drums turned into a cacophony…”
Dare I suggest to readers that this kind of cliche doesn’t sound like Robert Fisk?