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Saturday, October 22, 2005

And That's the Way It Is

'Mouse journalism' is the only way we can report on Iraq — Fisk

Published: Thursday, October 13, 2005

By Matthew Lewin

...Fisk, whose new history of the Middle East, The Great War for Civilisation, has just been published, described mouse journalism as the practice of popping up at the scene of an event and staying just long enough to get the story, before the men with guns arrive.

Speaking at a bookshop in Golders Green, he said: "You cannot imagine just how bad things are in Iraq.

"A few weeks ago, I went to see a man whose son was killed by the Americans, and I was in his house for five minutes before armed men turned up in the street outside.

"He had to go and reason with them not to take me away. And this was an ordinary Baghdad suburb, not the Sunni Triangle or Fallujah.

"It has got to the stage where, for example, when I went to have a look at the scene of a huge bomb in a bus station, I jumped out of the car and took two pictures before I was surrounded by a crowd of enraged Iraqis.

"I jumped back in the car and fled. I call that 'mouse journalism' — and that's all we can do now.

"If I go to see someone in any particular location, I give myself 12 minutes, because that is how long I reckon it takes a man with a mobile phone to summon gunmen to the scene in a car.



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