The Americans may think they have 'liberated' Baghdad but the tens of thousands of thieves - they came in families and cruised the city in trucks and cars searching for booty - seem to have a different idea what liberation means.

— Robert Fisk

The most glamorous Robert Fisk quotes that are glad to read

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.

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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.

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Tanks come in two forms: the dangerous, deadly kind and the "liberating" kind.

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The Syrian army is tired of corruption.

It is tired of party nepotism. It is becoming very angry with those it blames for the war.

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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.

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Wasn't Saddam destroyed? Wasn't Gaddafi liquidated? Didn't Milosevic go to the Hague? All true. But Stalin survived. Kim Jong-un isn't doing too badly, either - though that's probably because he actually has nuclear weapons, as opposed to Iran which might or might not be trying to acquire them and thus remains on the Israeli-American target list.

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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.

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When I saw the pictures of New York without the World Trade Center, New York looked like a shadow of itself.

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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.

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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.

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And it's true, you hear things in Damascus and, after a few hours, the human double-take stops operating.

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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.

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About Robert Fisk

Quotes 63 sayings
Nationality British
Profession Journalist
Birthday October 16

When you have a crime against humanity that is so awesome in scale and death, it is more than permissible to look around and say, who recently has been declaring war on the United States? Of course, the compass points straight to bin Laden.

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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.'

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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.

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The word 'democracy' and the name of Assad do not blend very well in much of Syria.

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Unfortunately, Osama bin Laden puts his finger on the other longstanding injustices in the Arab world: the conying so. And, tinued occupation of Palestinian land by the Israelis; the enormous, constant Arab anger with the tens of thousands of Iraqi children who are dying under sanctions; the feelings of humiliation of millions of Arabs living under petty dictators, almost all of whom are propped up by the West.

0

A businessman admits that he 'let go' an employee because he was a Sunni Muslim.

You simply have to look after yourself, he explains. I am shocked, like a good Westerner should be.

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In Palestine, the Israelis claim they found a land without people,' a Syrian officer explained to us. 'Now they will take southern Lebanon and claim they have found another land without people if these refugees do not return.

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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.

0

It is always an eerie experience to sit among Bashar al-Assad's soldiers.

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I don't know what happens if they get bin Laden.

I'm much more interested in what happens if they don't get bin Laden.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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People turn to violence, because they have no other avenue left.

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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?

0

Osama Bin Laden is not well read and he's not sophisticated, but he will have worked out very coldly what America would do in response to this attack 9/11. I'm sure he wanted America to attack Afghanistan. Once you do what your enemy wants, you are walking into a trap, whether you think it's the right thing to do or not.

0

Refuse to accept the narrative of history laid down by presidents, prime ministers, generals and journalists.

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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?

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And history`s fingers never relax their grip, never leave us unmolested, can touch us even when we would never imagine their presence.

0

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.

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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.

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Israel lost its war. Will Assad's enemies lose, too?

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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.

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The sheer violence of it, the howl of air raid sirens and the air-cutting fall of the missiles carried its own political message; not just to President Saddam but to the rest of the world. We are the superpower, those explosions said last night. This is how we do business.

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I wouldn't say I was part of an anti-war campaign.

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In just one year in Bosnia, thirty of my colleagues died.

There is a little Somme waiting for all innocent journalists.

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Everyone outside the Roman Empire was called a barbarian.

Everyone outside Obama’s empire is called a terrorist.

0

Even my landlord, who is a moderate Lebanese guy, says, "But bin Laden says what we think." These people believe that 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.

0

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 9/11-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 Osama bin Laden and his friends and put them on trial.

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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.

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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.

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In one way, I fear all Damascus is a dungeon. Or do you have to live here to appreciate that?

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Bin Laden is not well read and he's not sophisticated, but he will have worked out very coldly what America would do.

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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.

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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.

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Colleagues will malign you if you're a moderately successful journalist.

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