Friday, August 08, 2008

John K. Cooley--R.I.P.

One of the great old hands has died. Younger readers will not know this, and older readers may have forgotten, but there was a time when the Christian Science Monitor was a giant of a paper for its foreign coverage. More than three decades ago, the paper was a broadsheet published six times weekly. In those pre-Internet days, people in the U.S. interested in following events in far away places would have a mail subscription to the Monitor. The paper never rivaled the NYTimes in circulation, but it had a loyal readership of informed readers.

I remember walking through the corridors of the State Department in 1975, when I was there on a fellowship, and outside every office you would see the discards of the day's papers for recycling. There would typically be copies of the Monitor right there in the pile with the Times and Post. One reason the paper was so popular was that the paper had great correspondents of the caliber of John K. Cooley. He was a Middle East hand, and wrote fairly and honestly about a range of topics, especially developments in the Arab-Israeli zone. His "Green March, Black September" is a seminal account of the fedayeen (to use his spelling), but his old Monitor accounts of the some of the marking moments of the 1970s also remain invaluable.

He deserves a moment of quiet thanks for his contributions.

Appreciation for John K. Cooley | "We're sorry to report that longtime Monitor correspondent John K. Cooley has passed on. John distinguished himself in the Middle East, where from the 1950s onward he reported on virtually every movement and conflict in that region – from Algeria to Afghanistan, from the rise of Arab nationalism to the Sept. 11 attacks. He later worked for ABC News and as an opinion writer. He's the author of several books, including 'Green March, Black September: The Story of the Palestinian Arabs,' and his latest, 'Currency Wars.'"

A 2002 piece by Cooley.

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