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

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

Robert R. Fowler

Language: English

Pages: 252

ISBN: 153661985X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


For decades, Robert R. Fowler was a dominant force in Canadian foreign affairs. In one heart-stopping minute, all of that changed. On December 14, 2008, Fowler, acting as the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to Niger, was kidnapped by Al Qaeda, becoming the highest ranked UN official ever held captive. Along with his colleague Louis Guay, Fowler lived, slept and ate with his captors for nearly five months, gaining rare first-hand insight into the motivations of the world's most feared terror group. Fowler's capture, release and subsequent appearances have helped shed new light on foreign policy and security issues as we enter the second decade of the " War on Terror."

A Season in Hell is Fowler's compelling story of his captivity, told in his own words, but it's also a startlingly frank discussion about the state of a world redefined by clashing civilizations.

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damaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. As she left though, Mary served notice that she would be back at dawn and that she expected to be able to “sleep over” the next night, something she managed to do against all odds. The medical staff was beyond outstanding, giving Louis and me exquisitely sensitive and gloriously efficient care. Our stomachs were examined and treated, our blood tested and rehabilitated. Everything was x-rayed and the compression fracture damage to my lower back and coccyx was

thin blanket and, for the first time since our capture, I managed four or five hours of nightmare-punctuated sleep. As I drifted off, I was comforted by the fact that it simply didn’t make sense for our kidnappers to have gone to such trouble just to execute us. I knew we were unlikely to be quitting those dunes very soon, but we did seem to have an immediate future. The longer term could await the morrow. CHAPTER 5 VIDEO ONE “I fear thee and thy glittering eye, And thy skinny hand so

to be the order of their day, imposed by a jealous, ruthless, and vengeful god. How, they would ask, over and over again, could we find the reasonable application of Shari’a-sanctioned punishment (stonings and amputations) so barbaric compared to the atrocities and indignities that occurred in bloated Western prisons? They detested the concept of anything that might be termed a human right, reserving particular scorn for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which they saw as nothing other

savoured every drop, swishing the nectar around in our mouths. We had a long discussion about how much we would consume then and there and how much we would save at least for the morrow. The morrow option didn’t do very well. An hour later, as we were sitting on our blankets watching the stars, Omar Two of all people showed up with a bag of candies, another Tetra Pak of juice, a package of some kind of sticky, sweet pastry, and a large, stuffed-full plastic bag. We looked up at him

such an act would have to be weighed exceedingly carefully against the devastating impact on my family and, most immediately, on Louis. I agree with those—like Mary—who hold that suicide is an essentially selfish act in all but the most extreme circumstances, but from my late teens I’ve deemed it nonetheless a legitimate choice, the ultimate act of free will. Our fanatical captors, however, while anxious, even impatient, to get past this veil of tears and into paradise, consider suicide among

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