兩個星期以來在火車上已給有線新聞的神六升空系列瘋狂轟炸。昨晚回到家裡本想看看煲呔的施政報告，卻倒楣地碰上神六最新衛星片段，我委實受不了那些 「我為你感到驕傲」的「真情對話」，也受不了有線新聞的「太空艙」佈景，索性把電視機關上。至於太空人在太空如何進食、如何排泄、如何睡覺，我只想告訴香 港的記者朋友，我十歲時已從《太空探索》等兒童讀物得悉這些「新知」，不要煩我，好不好？
昨天收到Robert Fisk 的新書 The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East。這本書厚達一千三百多頁，是Robert Fisk根據過去近三十年來的採訪寫成。Robert Fisk任職英國《獨立報》 (The Independent, 要看他的報道可要付款)，長期駐於貝魯特。要了解中東發生甚麼事，Robert Fisk的報道向來不可不讀。中東在他的報道裡不只是一個政治或地理詞彙，而是他心繫之地；傷亡者也不僅是一堆數字，而是跟你我一樣有血有肉。書名 “The Great War for Civilisation” 乃來自一枚獎章背後的刻字，那枚獎章是其父因在第一次世界大戰期間服役而獲得。現代中東誕生於第一次世界大戰後，當時列強用了短短十七個月的時間便決定了 北愛、南斯拉夫及中東的版圖邊界，而這些地方此後都不約而同烽火連天。戰爭往往不是為了文明而戰，便是為了宗教而戰、為自由而戰、為民主而戰，但這些冠冕 堂皇的目的背後有多少血淋淋的事實被巧妙地掩蓋。過去三十年，Robert Fisk足跡遍佈南斯拉夫、伊拉克、伊朗、阿富汗、黎巴嫩、巴勒斯坦等地，戰爭對他而言並不是一堆傷亡數字及政客的光環，而是一幅幅叫人毛骨悚然的景象：
I don’t need to read through my mountain of reporters’ notebooks to remember the Iranian soldiers on the troop train north to Tehran, holding towels and coughing up Saddam’s gas in gobs of blood and mucus as they read the Koran. I need none of my newspaper clippings to recall the father –after an American cluster-bomb attack on Iraq in 2003 -who held out to me what looked like half a crushed loaf of bread but which turned out to be half a crushed baby […]
[…]Soldier and civlian, they died in their tens of thousands because death had been concocted for them, morality hitched like a halter round the warhorse so that we could talk about ‘target-rich environments’ and ‘collateral damage’ –that most infantile of attempts to shake off the crime of killing –and report the victory parades, the tearing down of statues and the importance of peace.
Governments like it that way. They want their people to see war as a drama of opposites, good and evil, ‘them’ and ‘us’, victory or defeat. But war is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death. It represents the total failure of the human spirit.
Robert Fisk不遺餘力以大量事實批評西方在中東的所作所為，他的說話當然不是人人愛聽。當大家為倫敦大爆炸的死難者哀悼之際，他卻撰文提醒大家中東人民所承受 的苦難比倫敦大爆炸有過之而無不及，不可以因為遇襲的是「我們」便是「恐怖主義」，「他們」遇襲卻只是 “collateral demage”。這樣不識趣，自然招來臭罵。Robert Fisk又曾三度採訪拉登，又據說拉登也很欣賞他，這自然被認為大逆不道：又批評西方又訪問拉登，還不是跟恐怖份子一伙？這批評到底有多荒謬，大概不用深 入研究Robert Fisk的文章也可以看得出來。稍讀過Robert Fisk文章的人都知道他對拉登等恐怖分子持甚麼立場。
I suppose, in the end, we journalists try –or should try –to be the first impartial witnesses to history. If we have any reason for our existence, the least must be our ability to report history as it happens so that no one can say: ‘We didn’t know –no one told us.’ Amira Hass, the brilliant Israeli journalist on Ha’aretz newspaper whose reports on the occupied Palestinian territories have outshone anything written by non-Israeli reporters, discussed this with me more than two years ago. I was insisting that we had a vocation to write the first pages of history but she interrupted me. ‘No, Robert, you’re wrong,’ she said. ‘Our job is to monitor the centres of power.’ And I think, in the end, that is the best definition of journalism I have heard; to challenge authority –all authority –especially so when governments and politicans take us to war, when they have decided that they will kill and others will die.
後記：驅使Robert Fisk立志當駐海外記者的竟然是一齣電影：希治閣的Foreign Correspondent (1940)。改天得找來看看。