Robert Fisk about his meetings with Bin Laden in the French newspaper Le Monde.
September 18, 2001 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Robert Fisk about his meetings with Bin Laden in the French newspaper Le Monde. Two interesting quotes (in a poor translation by me):
"A few years later [after 1994] I met in Moscow an old Soviet intelligence officer, who had been a few months in Afghanistan to try to organize the liquidation of Bin Laden, just like the Americans try to do today. According to him, he didn't succeed because the men of Bin Laden couldn't be bribed. Nobody wanted to betray him."
"The Arabs are so mad about the injustices that have come to them from the Americans, that they don't need orders from Afghanistan. Inspiration could be enough. I have asked myself, when I saw last week the images from New York, if Bin Laden wasn't as amazed to see them as I was. If he has television, that is..."
posted by tsja (12 comments total)
One Robert Fisk article in a day is enough, even if this one's in French. Thanks.
posted by raysmj at 5:54 PM on September 18, 2001

Agreed, raysmj. Our old friend Chomsky keeps touting old Robert Fisk- see MeFi thread from Radio Belgrade - but he is frankly a secret admirer of anyone who happens to dislike Americans, Jews, the English and all else who have actually achieved something in this world.
Tsja: I found little fault with the translation. I'm much more scared of Le Monde's translation into French of poor old Fisk's words.
It's certainly more interesting than the original. For instance, "old Soviet intelligence officer" sounds great but the guy could still be a young pup, for all we know. "Ancien", in this case, means ex- rather than old. Ex-Soviet spy would probably be the best translation.

Trust the French to use a hundred letters when eleven would do.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:33 PM on September 18, 2001

Some other poor translations.
Fisk reports bin Laden saying
: "We believe God used our holy war in Afghanistan to destroy the Russian army and the USSR. [Not sure about the mountain part. "We have made this the summit of our mountain? We have scaled the summit of the mountain on which you are seated."]...and now we ask God to use us one more time to do the same thing against America, to make it a shadow of itself. We also believe that our battle against America is much more simple than our war against the USSR because some of our mujahedeen who have fought here in Afghanistan have also fought in Somalia against the Americans-and they were astonished at the collapse of American morale. That has convinced us that America is a paper tiger. " End quote.

Think he's about to find that there is a large difference between the Somalia peace keeping mission and the operation now.
posted by Charmian at 7:36 PM on September 18, 2001

Try putting the URL for the french article at theAltaVista Translation Engine and select French To English.

And there you have the article in English.

Thankyouuu.. Thankyou.. Thankyouuu.

posted by adnanbwp at 7:51 PM on September 18, 2001

You pervert, adnanbwp, you babelly fishy pervert!
(Great fun)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:55 PM on September 18, 2001

he he
posted by adnanbwp at 8:07 PM on September 18, 2001

I still don't get the part about the mountain. Must be idiomatic, because I don't see where the node came from. But thanks for that link.
posted by Charmian at 8:17 PM on September 18, 2001

Hi Charmian, this interview took place somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan. Bin Laden said: "We did this (destroying the Soviet army) FROM the top of those mountains."

Apparently his men were launching their Blowpipe missiles from peaks to shoot the Soviet jet fighters.

You're right Miguel, "un ancien officier" means an ex-officer rather than an old one.
posted by See-Threepio at 10:14 PM on September 18, 2001

"when I saw last week the images from New York, if Bin Laden wasn't as amazed to see them as I was."

Sure and these guys got all their flight training cash driving taxi's.
posted by redleaf at 12:21 AM on September 19, 2001

If you go to the end of the article in Le Monde, you will see that it is a translation by Florence Levy-Paolini of an English article that appeared in The Independent on September 15, 2001. Here is a link to that article:

I have compared the French version to the English original and determiend that French version is somewhat freely rendered and abridged. BTW, "dans la montagne" means "up in the hills," but that phrase does not appear in the original English text. As the Italians say, "traduttore, traditore."
posted by rwkenyon at 12:48 AM on September 19, 2001

Here is an active link to the story in the Independent:

posted by rwkenyon at 12:52 AM on September 19, 2001

Excuse me for not checking if it had been in an English newspaper already.
posted by tsja at 3:30 AM on September 19, 2001

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