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    robert fisk Quotes

    The bin Laden I met each time was in a simple Saudi white robe, with a simple, cheap kafiya and very cheap plastic sandals. But a videotape released before September 11, which I saw on Lebanese television, had him in a gold embroidered robe. When I saw this, I thought, whoa, has this guy changed? I wouldn't have imagined him ever appearing in such golden robes when I met him.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: time  thoughts 
     
    The dead cannot speak. But hitherto unknown information has emerged from the confidential archives of the Syrian presidency and foreign ministry, published in a new book by Bouthaina Shaaban, who spent ten years as Hafez's interpreter and is still an adviser to his son Bashar.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: book  son  year 
     
    Whether Osama bin Laden is doing it cynically and has no interest in these matters, or whether he's doing it out of genuine conviction, his voice has a tremendous resonance throughout the Arab world. One editorial in a Lebanese paper said it is a matter of great humiliation for the Arabs that the only man who can outline, truthfully, what our humiliations are is an Arab who has to say it from a cave in a foreign country.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: men  world 
     
    How could believers, people who regard themselves as true Muslims, get on those planes, quoting the words of God delivered through the Prophet to themselves, knowing they were going to kill innocent people? They saw the other passengers on the plane. They could see the woman with her little daughter. They saw people making phone calls to their wives or their husbands. They knew who they were killing.
    — Robert Fisk
    Whatever the political injustices are that created an environment that brought this about, it was not Americans who flew those planes into those buildings. And we should remember that. The crimes against humanity were perpetrated by people who were Arab Muslims.
    — Robert Fisk
    In just one year in Bosnia, thirty of my colleagues died. There is a little Somme waiting for all innocent journalists.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: year 
     
    And it's true, you hear things in Damascus and, after a few hours, the human double-take stops operating.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: human  true 
     
    War is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death. It represents the total failure of the human spirit.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: death  failure  human  victory  war  spirit 
     
    I was very struck by the fact that Colin Powell said he would produce evidence of Osama bin Laden fault and then never produced it. Then Tony Blair produced a document of seventy paragraphs, but only the last nine referred to the World Trade Center, and they were not convincing. So we have a little problem here: If they're guilty, where is the evidence? And if we can't hear the evidence, why are we going to war?
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: world  problem  facts 
     
    Refuse to accept the narrative of history laid down by presidents, prime ministers, generals and journalists.
    — Robert Fisk
    I still wonder if the United States realizes how much planning went into this. When we talk about "mindless terrorists," we are lying to ourselves.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: wonder  lying 
     
    Some of the guys in the Northern Alliance are war criminals. One of the Northern Alliance commanders ran a slave girl network in Kabul in 1994. Remember that there was a period when every woman on the streets was at risk of being raped. This was the Northern Alliance period of glory.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: women  girls  risk  war  criminal 
     
    And I think, in the end, that is the best definition of journalism I have heard; to challenge authority - all authority - especially so when governments and politicians take us to war, when they have decided that they will kill and others will die.
    — Robert Fisk
    After the allied victory of 1918, at the end of my father's war, the victors divided up the lands of their former enemies. In the space of just seventeen months, they created the borders of Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia and most of the Middle East. And I have spent my entire career - in Belfast and Sarajevo, in Beirut and Baghdad - watching the people within those borders burn.
    — Robert Fisk
    The violence stems from injustice, because people feel they have been treated unfairly in the Middle East, whether that means military occupation, starvation under U.N. sanctions, whether it means that they have a dictatorship imposed on them, propped up by the West. This is why people turn to violence, because they have no other avenue left.
    — Robert Fisk
    It's a journalist's job to be a witness to history. We're not there to worry about ourselves. We're there to try and get as near as we can, in an imperfect world, to the truth and get the truth out.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: truth  world  job  worries 
     
    U.S. journalists I don't think are very courageous. They tend to go along with the government's policy domestically and internationally. To question is seen as being unpatriotic, or potentially subversive.
    — Robert Fisk
    Tanks come in two forms: the dangerous, deadly kind and the "liberating" kind.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: dangerous 
     
    I suppose, in the end, we journalists try - or should try - to be the first impartial witnesses of history. If we have any reason for our existence, the least must be our ability to report history as it happens so that no one can say: 'we didn't know - no one told us.'
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: existence 
     
    Colleagues will malign you if you're a moderately successful journalist.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: successful 
     
    And history`s fingers never relax their grip, never leave us unmolested, can touch us even when we would never imagine their presence.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: imagine 
     
    Fundamentalism is not bred in poverty. There are plenty of poor countries in the world that don't have violence because amid the poverty there is a kind of justice and in some countries a democracy.
    — Robert Fisk
    Why is it that we go to immense lengths getting the Serbs who were responsible for the massacre of 7,000 at Srbrenica - that's slightly more than the total figure for New York - and we take them to a tribunal in The Hague, and one after another, we arraign them, try them, convict them, and punish them in front of the world, but no plans have been brought forward to get bin Laden and his friends and put them on trial?
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: world  friends 
     
    At the end of the day, bin Laden's interest is not Washington and New York, it's the Middle East. He wants Saudi Arabia. He wants to get rid of the House of Saud.
    — Robert Fisk
    It's very easy to start a war but the muftah, as the Arabs say, the key to switch off a war, is very difficult to find.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: key  war 
     
    At the end of the day, Osama bin Laden's interest is not Washington and New York, it's the Middle East. He wants Saudi Arabia. He wants to get rid of the House of Saud. There's a great deal of resentment, even inside the royal family, at the continued military presence of the United States there.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: military 
     
    People turn to violence, because they have no other avenue left.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: people  violence 
     
    I've never seen a single demonstration in Pakistan, in the streets of Gaza, in the West Bank, in which the people have come out with signs saying, "Please give us better roads. Please give us new prenatal clinics. Please give us a new sewage system." I'm sure they'd like those things, but it's not what they demand in the demonstrations. In the demonstrations, they talk about justice, they talk about an end to Israeli occupation.
    — Robert Fisk
    Individuals in various countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia listen to the tapes of bin Laden. They gather in groups of four or five. They feel they want to do something to express their support for what they've heard. The idea that they were taking orders is a particularly Western idea.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: ideas 
     
    We live in a society in the West, where, when men do violent things, they do them under orders. They are soldiers carrying out orders or mafia men carrying out killings for bosses. But the way things happen in the Middle East is not the same as in the West.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: men  society  live  violent 
     
    Bin Laden was very keen to point out to me that his forces had fought the Americans in Somalia. He also wanted to talk about how many mullahs in Pakistan were putting up posters saying, "We follow bin Laden." He even produced a sort of Kodak set of snapshots of graffiti supporting him.
    — Robert Fisk
    I've lived in the Middle East for twenty-five years. I know exactly how these issues come up. Even my landlord, who is a moderate Lebanese guy, says, "But bin Laden says what we think." These people believe that Osama bin Laden is being targeted not because of the World Trade Center and Washington; they are not convinced by the evidence that has been produced. They believe he's being targeted because he tells the truth.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: truth  people  world  believe  year 
     
    Bin Laden is not well read and he's not sophisticated, but he will have worked out very coldly what America would do.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: america  read 
     
    Bin Laden was constantly revolving in his mind the fact that he had got rid of the Russians; therefore, the Americans can be got rid of, too. And where better than in the country where he knows how to fight?
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: facts  mind  american 
     
    Obama, who is becoming more and more preacher-like, wants to be the Punisher-in-Chi ef of the Western World, the Avenger-in-Chie f. There is something oddly Roman about him. ... The lesser races must be civilized and they must be punished... Everyone outside the Roman Empire was called a barbarian. Everyone outside Obama's empire is called a terrorist.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: world  race 
     
    These terrible terrorism acts occur because of political situations and injustice in various parts of the world. The Middle East is heavy with injustice. After September 11,George W.Bush announced that he had always had a vision of a Palestinian state. Why didn't he tell us that before September 11, when it would have been a bit more impressive?
    — Robert Fisk
    When I saw the pictures of New York without the World Trade Center, New York looked like a shadow of itself.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: world 
     
    Clinton impressed Assad: a young man who appeared to want to be neutral in the Arab-Israeli dispute - an illusion of course, but that's what Assad thought.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: men  thoughts  young  illusion 
     
    President Bush cruelly manipulated the grief of the American people - and the sympathy of the rest of the world - to introduce a 'world order' dreamed up by a clutch of fantasists advising the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld.
    — Robert Fisk
    tags: people  world  grief  american 
     
    I don't like the definition 'war correspondent'. It is history, not journalism, that has condemned the Middle East to war. I think 'war correspondent' smells a bit, reeks of false romanticism: it has too much of the whiff of Victorian reporters who would view battles from hilltops in the company of ladies, immune to suffering, only occasionally glancing towards the distant pop-pop of cannon fire.
    — Robert Fisk
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