Dining with Terrorists

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 June, 2006, 12:00am

Dining with Terrorists

by Phil Rees

Ran, $120

Veteran correspondent Robert Fisk refuses to use the word 'terrorist' in his reports on the Middle East - 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter'. In Dining with Terrorists, Phil Rees asks the so-called terrorists how they see themselves. In this part-travel adventure, part-philosophical inquiry, Rees takes the reader to dinner with a variety of freedom fighters, militants, insurgents, rebels and guerillas. There's some nice comic colour, such as a tank battle between rival Afghan jihadists over the affections of a boy. Rees makes a strong point about resisting US attempts to label political violence that's contrary to its policies as terrorism. But Iranian journalist Amir Taheri, reviewing in the Guardian, questions the worth of this 'Blame America First' school of Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore. 'Had Rees been a lone voice one might dismiss him ... [but he] represents the views of large chunks of western media.' The tragedy of terrorism is the deaths of innocents, and Rees has no explanation for that.