East, west, and a mixed legacy In a recent Canadian documentary about Robert Fisk, we spend over two hours learning about a British journalist who used to work for The Times in London. When Australian magnate Rupert Murdoch takes over with a slightly less truthful agenda, Fisk moves to the left-of-centre The Independent. He was vociferous about being based in Beirut in his long career as a Middle East correspondent, all the while lamenting the new digital media, or younger editors who needed confirmation on how to spell the name of a massacre which took place in the 1980s.

In the film, we see that Fisk refuses a career trajectory which would bring him back to a London newsroom via an eastern European posting. We see him talking with colleagues on the phone, typing in a musty book-filled room, or heading to Bosnia on an impulsive reporting trip to confirm a suspicion with evidence. Fisk says he is "angry" at the "colonial world" that he comes from; and says when it comes to reporting, "you’ve got to be neutral and unbiased on the sides of those who suffer".

I find the way he sees the world inspiring: "War is about the total failure of the human spirit." And when he died aged 74, days after I watched the film, I learned about how entire generations of Middle Easterners found his reporting problematic. Indeed, he was a controversial figure among other foreign correspondents, who said Fisk would simply make stories up. Ronnie Chatah, a young idealistic Lebanese journalist, met him many times. He says he was among one of the many for whom Fisk had provided a narrative to understand what his country was going through. Yet ultimately, Chatah finds out that it’s not always a good thing to meet your heroes: "In the end," he writes, Fisk "chose rigidity over complexity and empathy: a calcified worldview that no longer matched our current chapter of history."

Nabeelah, conversation editor
Newlines: ‘Robert Fisk: A conscience adrift’ (reading time: 14 minutes)
Mothers of the revolution There is usually no way of writing about women’s involvement in political revolution in non-western countries that doesn’t come across as either patronising or essentialising. In my own country of Sudan, a revolution last year that deposed dictator Omar al- Bashir was often referred to as one that was "led by women".

There was nothing new about this. Sudanese women, like others across the Arab world, have always been involved in political rebellion and opposition. The fact that their presence on the streets is considered a novelty is less because it is is an unfamiliar scene, and more down to the fact that western observers still find it hard to grasp that women are active politically in unequal societies.

This article is a rare example of a profile of Sudanese women who exist in those two worlds, one where they struggle against gender oppression, and one where their demand for equality is legitimate, given space, and has a long history.

Nesrine, Better Politics correspondent
New Internationalist: ‘Mothers of the revolution’ (reading time: 20 minutes)
Adiós, Captain Maradona He was a boy in a slum with an exceptional talent. He had a dream that he fulfilled: playing in the national team and winning the World Cup. You don’t have to be a football fan to have heard of Diego Maradona. And you don’t have to be a football fan to marvel at the iconic David vs Goliath fights that he participated in and won: the victory against England in the 1986 World Cup as a revenge for the Falkland War, or the fight against northern Italian racism as he led the city of Naples in a football-led resurgence.

He, personally, lost many battles, becoming a victim of his glory, writes former Argentina teammate and friend Jorge Valdano in a beautiful, warm tribute. “This week, even the ball – the most communal toy that exists – will feel more alone and will cry heartbroken for its master. All of those who love authentic football will cry with it for Maradona. And those of us who knew him personally will cry even more for that Diego who, in recent times, had almost disappeared under the weight of his legend and his excessive life. Adiós, great captain.”

I, as a Neapolitan, am crying along.

Irene, First 1,000 Days correspondent
El País: ‘Death of Diego Maradona: Adiós to Diego and adiós to Maradona’ (reading time: 12 minutes)

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