Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Memoriam: Russell Warren Howe (1925-2008)

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Memoriam: Russell Warren Howe (1925-2008)

Article excerpt

RUSSELL WARREN HOWE, a journalist and the author of more than 20 books, died at his Washington, DC home on Dec. 17, 2008. A bon vivant, he lived life to the fullest, drinking hard and pursuing with vigor the pleasures of the flesh. A charming man, he was married five times. His wife, Young-Ja Kim-Howe, survives him.

Born in England, Howe was a spitfire pilot in World War II. Later he graduated from the Sorbonne University and became a journalist, concentrating on Africa. He traveled hundreds of thousands of miles covering the hot spots of European colonies during their struggles for independence.

"Seeing the Light"

In the "Seeing the Light" column he wrote for this magazine (see "Fighting the 'Soldiers of Occupation,' From WWII to the Intifada," July 1991 Washington Report, p. 35), Howe recalled his first visit to Israel, in 1961, with his Jewish American girlfriend. "Having by then reported on South Africa, however," he wrote, "I was conditioned to sense, behind the facade, the extraordinary gloom and foreboding that reigns in a segregated society, and that one feels everywhere on the streets of Israel."

In 1968, Israel's 20th anniversary, Howe was granted an interview with the country's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, and its newest, Golda Meir. When he asked Meir, a former Milwaukee resident, "why Israel didn't do more to make itself accepted as a Middle Eastern nation," Howe related, "'That's the last thing we want to be!' she thundered. 'We are and must remain a European nation.'

"This seemed in contradiction to fleeing Europe to be Hebrews in the land of the prophets. I tried to draw her out on this.

"'But I am an atheist!' the old Russian American schoolteacher explained. Because I looked surprised-more at the admission than at the fact-she said: 'Half-no, 60 percent-of my ministers are atheists, I think.'"

In January 1974, while covering "what the history books call 'Kissinger's first Sinai Disengagement Shuttle,'" Howe conducted a television interview with former terrorist, then-opposition leader and future Prime Minister Menachem Begin. As he recalled in his "Seeing the Light" column:

"The red light had come on, under the lens. Without preamble, I turned my shoulder to the camera, stared straight into Begin's eyes, and asked: 'How does it feel, in the light of all that's going on, to be the father of terrorism in the Middle East? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.