I read the above-linked opinion piece in the Sunday Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer and it inspired the following letter to the Editor, which apparently is in the running for publication:
To the Editor,
Robert Fisk's 7/23/06 opinion piece ("The Empire Leaves Beirut to Burn") illustrates well the bigotry and anti-semitism currently running rampant in Britain. He states that we should feel sympathy for the Lebanese not because they are fellow human beings but because they "look like us," "have light-colored skin," and "speak beautiful English and French." Does he imply that his non-light-skinned readers should feel no sympathy? Or shall we jump to the conclusion that dark-skinned or non-European-language-speakers are unworthy of sympathy?
This mindset is then extended to the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Israelis (perhaps not as fair or well-spoken as the Lebanese?) are engaging in "some of their cruelest attacks". To Mr. Fisk, the conflict is like that of a soccer match, and he cites a lopsided death toll to support his idea that Israel is in the wrong. It's easy to allow one's prejudices to obscure the facts: that the Israelis are the ones who are defending themselves and that the plight of the Lebanese is the familiar one of people living in a country with no effective government. Maybe Mr. Fisk has lived in Beirut a bit too long, and would benefit from travel to places with less attractive and well-spoken populations.