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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 01:22 pm
Arabic daily Asharq Alawsat interviews Robert Fisk, whose answers may have been altered during an English-Arabic-English translation process:
Fisk: The Palestinian state is a corpse that isn’t permitted to live.
Few corpses are. One of the main rules of corpses is that they are not permitted to live; it’s in the corpse code. Discussion continues:
Asharq Alawsat: Before we started the interview, you said you had a bad relationship with the internet. Why? Do you consider that journalism is restricted to being in close contact with people away from technology?
Fisk: I think the internet steals the journalist’s time and deprives him of working with people and books that give clear information that is easily archived. Many times, they call me from the newspaper’s library to ask me about information that might be available in my archive. The internet lacks this precision and the person searching can be submerged with detrimental information that might result in mistakes. This is why I tell those gathering information about me in the internet: it’s not me. This is an internet man who bears no relation to the real me. Instead of searching the internet for information or references, I prefer to go to the field and speak to people and obtain my information from them.
Resulting in Fisk’s famous accuracy.
Asharq Alawsat: Your books are taught in Lebanese schools. How did you become a reference on the region?
Fisk: As for why my books are taught, it’s because I am a Middle East specialist. Other than that, I am a normal person doing their job.
But not really normal, because Robert has important friends:
Asharq Alawsat: You interviewed Osama bin Laden three times between 1994 and 1997. How do you remember him?
Fisk: It’s true and he asked to meet me after the September 11 attacks but I was unable to reach him in Afghanistan because of the US raids at the time. He mentioned me in one of his interviews before the US presidential elections.
Fisk: Like all people, he has changed over the years. He matured a bit but didn’t have any experience of world politics. Imagine that he told me he expected a civil war in the United States. I laughed at the time.
Ha ha ha! Reminder: we’re obviously looking at a clumsy translation here. Even so, the following is intriguing:
Fisk: Nowadays, the problem is no longer bin Laden but al Qaeda, an organization bigger that can’t be summed up in one person. I met, once, Palestinians from al Qaeda. They were on their way to Iraq . One of them told me his family didn’t like bin Laden but did not object to him going to defend Islam. This is why it’s not important if bin Laden is loved or not; he is no longer a person or the president of a party for them. He is an ideology in itself. The cause is the absence of democracy. If there was democracy in the Arab world, Osama bin Laden would not have continued to exist.
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