Autobiography

A Season in Hell: My 130 Days in the Sahara with Al Qaeda

By Robert R. Fowler

For many years, Robert R. Fowler was once a dominant strength in Canadian overseas affairs. in a single heart-stopping minute, all of that modified. On December 14, 2008, Fowler, performing because the UN Secretary General's specified Envoy to Niger, used to be abducted by way of Al Qaeda, changing into the top ranked UN legitimate ever held captive. together with his colleague Louis Guay, Fowler lived, slept and ate together with his captors for almost 5 months, gaining infrequent first-hand perception into the motivations of the world's such a lot feared terror team. Fowler's trap, liberate and next appearances have helped shed new gentle on overseas coverage and protection concerns as we input the second one decade of the " struggle on Terror."

A Season in Hell is Fowler's compelling tale of his captivity, advised in his personal phrases, yet it's additionally a startlingly frank dialogue in regards to the kingdom of an international redefined through clashing civilizations.

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He defined the tortures of hell in as meticulous and shiny element, and repeatedly he recommended us to think about our ideas very conscientiously. The Day of Judgment was once certainly nigh in his view, and he sought after us to be totally conscious of how appropriate this must be to 2 susceptible and aged unbelievers held by way of Al Qaeda within the Sahara. If we died with no need submitted to Allah, the horrors of hell will be rapid and severe. for this reason he designated the 5 Pillars of Islam and frequently defined the easy act that may make us their Muslim brothers. at some point, Omar One stumbled prior us taking a look poor. in actual fact he used to be going loin, and he was once away decades. He stopped by means of our tree on his long ago, ashen confronted and anxious. “Have you ever identified a scenario during which you'll want to vomit whereas passing bloody stools? ” he requested. That afternoon, taking a look worse, he got here by means of to claim he used to be off to determine a conventional healer yet anticipated to be again in a number of days. in reality, we didn't see him for greater than 3 weeks. while he back, taking a look healthy, he defined that 3 “old ladies” had controlled to droop him from a body made from sticks and he had spent hour after hour putting the other way up whereas they periodically beat the soles of his ft which will therapy his belly sickness. Our dating with Omar One was once complicated. He was once our unique abductor, with whom we had descended into our personal hell. but he used to be one of many few who ever stopped via simply to chat, possible to go the time. Ostensibly, he got here to proselytize—and that he did, with ardour and zeal—but, uniquely between our abductors, he appeared really drawn to our overall healthiness, past, that's, the upkeep of priceless resources. He desperately sought after us to transform simply because he believed it can retailer us from the fires of hell and, certain, make his personal position in paradise a bit safer. yet he was once by no means a lot drawn to studying approximately existence open air of the seventh-century bubble during which those squaddies of Allah lived. In military-speak, he was once continually on “send,” by no means on “receive. ” Our greatest trouble in seeing Omar One depart us at Camp Canada was once much less that we might lose our interesting preacher and conversationalist and extra that we'd be disadvantaged of what we took to be a fairly well-intentioned interpreter, thereby forsaking us to the obviously ill-disposed mercies of both Hassan or Omar . now not a contented prospect. We have been to benefit simply how unsatisfied in the course of one among our infrequent conferences with the camp commander, Abdul Rahman. That extraordinary dialogue between AR, Louis, and me, with Hassan reading, used to be carried out in pitch-black darkness so we have been with no obvious gestures or facial clues. At one element, risking his ire, I requested Abdul Rahman what he may possibly let us know of no matter what negotiations can be underway. whilst this was once interpreted by way of Hassan, to our shock and pleasure, AR spoke back dispassionately and at nice size, probably 3 mins’ worthy, following which we grew to become confidently towards Hassan, who flatly provided, “They are continuing.

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