Friday, April 28, 2006

people whom we are encouraged to loathe, encouraged to hate and who, ultimately, are just figureheads

The Independent's (publishers of Extra) Middle East Correspondent Tony Fisk interviewed on Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Lateline about the Zarqawi video.

Read the whole thing but here's a clip. Via NormsBlog and Tim Blair

TONY JONES: You also thought he was a creature invented to fill the narrative gaps. In other words, a creature created, in a sense, by American propaganda. He's much more than that; isn't that evident from this video?

ROBERT FISK: Yeah. It is pretty clear. He does exist. He is still alive and that was him on the video. I don't think there's any doubt about that. I watched it several times over and am clearly of the mind that this is the man. What we do need to know, of course, is whether he has actually any real status over and above being a name al-Zarqawi. In other words, does he actually have any real status as a militant, as a resistant, as a rebel, whatever you like to use the word, terrorist, other than just being a person who is to be hated and to be bestialised in front of the television screens. The issue really is, I think, is this a person who is seriously an enemy of the "West" or is this just another person who is popping up on our screens to say this is the latest mad lunatic, the latest fanatic, the latest terrorist whom we have to be concerned about? That is the real issue, you see. Over and over again we've had this system where whereby we've had Ayatollah Khomeini and Gaddafi in Libya. We've had these extraordinary figures in the Middle East, like Nasser, for example, in Egypt in 1956 and people whom we are encouraged to loathe, encouraged to hate and who, ultimately, are just figureheads, who in the end are people who we just are encouraged to loathe, encouraged to hate. People who, at the end of the day, are not per se people who we need to worry about, people who, indeed --

TONY JONES: Robert Fisk, can I interrupt you there?

ROBERT FISK: Yeah, yeah.

TONY JONES: I'm surprised to hear you say some of these things because isn't it he himself who put these images on the Internet, including make a beast of himself by earlier putting on the Internet images of him with a mask on beheading Nicholas Berg, for example?

ROBERT FISK: Well, no. I mean, we don't know that that was Zarqawi. If indeed it was, then he is obviously the monstrous figure we make him out to be. At that time you'll remember the Americans said they believed the voice was that of Zarqawi, but we didn't have any evidence of the voice on the tape. You know, the issue is, are we in fact creating these creatures for ourselves to hate or are they creating themselves? In other words, are we being promoted by these people? Are these people being put before us as caricatures, if you like, to hate or are they people who are there to be hated by us in order to make the, you know, them and us, evil/good caricatures, which George W. Bush has laid out before us?

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