Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was given the nicknames "Jackal," "A Thousand Face" since he was able to escape intelligence agencies for years. He was an inspiration to many films in which famous Hollywood stars including Bruce Wills and Richard Gere acted. He was imprinted on people's minds with his words, "A gun battle is not my preference. However, you cannot repel bullets with a folding fan." Carlos the Jackal, who was imprisoned in France for 24 years and became the subject of many books, was given the name Salim Muhammed when he became a Muslim in 1975. Refusing to talk to the world press for a long time, Carlos finally broke his silence in an interview with the Turkish magazine İzdiham.
Defining himself as a professional revolutionary and stressing that he is always behind his thoughts and ideas, Carlos the Jackal said, "I will stay as a revolutionary until the end of my life. Either I will gain my freedom tomorrow or stay in prison until the end of my life; this situation will not change. They destroyed the revolution in Venezuela and they betrayed it. They do not want me to go back to Venezuela, because I am patient and have never changed. My Turkish lawyers know me well. I am 68 years old but still very strong," he said.
Speaks six languages, interested in literature
Staying in an eight square-meter cell in Paris, Carlos can speak Latin, English, French, Arabic and Russian apart from his mother tongue Spanish. He said that he has a courageous personality and has taken risks that a regular person would not dare to take.
Carlos answers the question about his interest in literature as follows, "I am a generous person and kind to everybody. I want people to treat each other respectfully no matter what. I do not allow people to steal from other people's belongings. Even though the economic conditions in prison are though, I share what I have with whoever asks. I have had an interest in literature since my childhood. My parents had a nice library. I started to read Latin and Greek classics when I was a kid. I read all the classics before I was 15. I learned English at a very early age. I read all works of Shakespeare in their original languages. I read Russian literature. Especially, I love the authors of the 19th century."
Defining freedom as "equal rights and law for everybody," Carlos the Jackal stated, "I fight for this concept of freedom. If I get out of jail one day, I will go back to my country and try to bring peace back. In 1949 when I was born, Venezuela was among rich countries such as the U.S., the U.K. and France. Today, Venezuela is very weak. However, Venezuela has big oil fields, gold and coltan. Coltan is a significant matter. It is used in the making of many things. We have lithium, uranium and copper fields. We have everything. Mistakes that have been done as well as internal and external enemies dragged my country into a chaos. I would like to go back to my country and bring peace and order back."
Having made mistakes, trying to remain steadfast
Carlos emphasized that he has not given up on his ideals.
"I have made mistakes; I am not perfect but my failures do not change the fact that I am virtuous. Many people want me to be destroyed and look forward to that day. I might get killed one day. But as a living martyr, I am still alive and continue to fight. And I am proud of this. I will continue to be an example and courage other people to resist until my last breath," said Carlos.
Who is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez?
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, also known as Carlos the Jackal, was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1949. After his parents got divorced, he moved to London with his mother when he was 17 and studied at the London School of Economics. In 1968, he earned a scholarship through the Communist Party of Venezuela. In July 1970, he went to Jordan to join the Palestinian people in their fight. His name became more prominent when he raided an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting held in Vienna in 1975. He was brought from Sudan to France on Aug. 15, 1994. Having been kept in the Poissy Prison near Paris, France for 24 years, Carlos got three life sentences on the grounds that he was responsible for some unsolved incidents in France.