Samir Kassir, 1960-2005

Adam Shatz has an obituary on the slain Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir in The Nation.

“Independence seemed to come naturally to Kassir, who never shied away from a cause merely because it was unpopular. In the late 1990s he led a lonely crusade against the French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, who had been making inroads into otherwise progressive Arab intellectual circles; four years ago, he helped prevent the pernicious Institute for Historical Review, a Garaudy-affiliated revisionist group based in the United States, from holding a conference in Beirut. At even greater personal risk, Kassir protested what he called Syria’s ‘mafia-type protectorate’ over Lebanon, campaigning tirelessly for independence and railing against a security apparatus most of his colleagues were too timorous to name. Kassir’s open defiance of Damascus brought him unwanted attention from the pro-Syrian security establishment, which harassed him with menacing phone calls, briefly confiscated his passport on the spurious grounds that he was an ‘influential agent of the Palestinian Authority’ and tailed him in unmarked police cars.”