with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Arafat is Dead

November 4, 2004

Well, the news is fluctuating back and forth. Dead. Not dead. Dead. Not dead. Clinically dead. Means not dead. Dead. Not dead.

Either way, good riddance to bad rubbish.

I know Arafat wanted to go out with martyr’s bang, a target of Israeli aggression, assassination, some spectacular event where he dies facing down a tank or something. Instead, he (may or may not) be dead from a creeping crawling little insidious yuk from within, the kind of yuk that gets more people than dramatic flames of media deaths.

I’m sorry, Arafat. You aren’t going to be another Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, or Elvis Presley. You are not dying with style.

But you are dying like you lived. Creating chaos and confusion in your wake. It is a controlled anarchy, with you ruling the whirlwind from within, protected by the games you played to create the whirlwind. But it is still a mess that the rest of the world has to deal with.

I am sure that he will be martyred and Israel will be to blame in spite of the truth. Too many people believe that the winners rewrite history. In the Palestinian/Israel conflict, history is rewritten by the best spin doctors and propaganda artists on the losing side and people will believe the propaganda and not the reality.

So as a reminder, as we wait for the final death verdict, Arafat died falling apart at the seams, a victim of his own life, sloppy and messy.

Predictions on the spin? Let’s see. While I am not an expert in this, after five years living in the midst of the anarchy Arafat crafted, especially through four years of the intifada, I have a pretty good estimate of how things will work.

Israel will be blamed for preventing Arafat from getting help sooner. They will be blamed for imprisoning him in Ramallah. They will be blamed for the “harsh” conditions making him ill. They will be blamed for preventing doctors from attending him. They will be blamed for preventing him from getting better medical treatment. Let’s see, they will probably blame Israel for poisoning him, or using chemical weapons. Since there really has been no announcement about the specifics of his illness, they can make up all kinds of stuff about what killed him, and Israel will be the leader of the pack.

Idealistic teenage suicide bombers will be convinced of his greatness and do everything they can in their blindness to blown up themselves and any Israeli civilians they can get access to “in the name of Arafat” rather than Allah or Mohamed or whoever they claim as they disintegrate into pieces and their soul goes up to their strange version of heaven where the virgins are awaiting them.

A stink will arise as to what to do with the martyr’s body. Fly it back to the West Bank? Gaza? No, probably not Gaza. He never called Gaza home and could hardly control it, though he did try, through spies, assassinations and corruption. Yet, Gaza is the only clearly defined “land” for the Palestinian Authority. Arafat was born, raised, and educated Egyptian, but they don’t want him. Arafat fought for years to be buried in Jerusalem, a place he only visited rarely (he had an uncle living there – the Grand Mufti, a Nazi collaborator and inciter) before the Oslo Accords. Israel has made it very clear that his body will never get within a millimeter of the city. The Arab countries where he lived (in a fake exile) don’t want him or the people he represents, so that is a dead end, literally. Jordan might take the body. They’ve always been sympathetic to his cause…well, at least after losing the war in 1967. Before that, they didn’t care like the rest of the Middle East. I’m sure he’s made some kind of arrangements to have people harass Israel on his behalf to be buried in Jerusalem (and it will go on and on for YEARS – little different from the Milosovitch trial), or somewhere near Ramallah where a great tomb and symbol will be built to honor the great hero. Arafat has said repeatedly that he wants a shrine built to him that will become another “mecca” for people to make pilgrimage to and pray.

Honoring Arafat after his death will be a study in the rewriting of history. After all, what really did Arafat give to the world to make it a better place so that we should all honor him in death as he was in life? I can name tons of evil doings, but I’m running low on the specifics of the good will gestures to benefit mankind. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize was not a man of peace, no matter how much spin you put on it. After all, can you imagine giving Bin Laden the Nobel Peace Prize? It is no different than giving it to Arafat. A good will gesture the world put upon him for appearing to be a peacemaker when in reality he remained a terrorist.

Arafat and Bush, the newly re-elected monster of the US Government, have a lot in common. Both are tolerated by the masses they lead because they don’t have a better choice. Both men are hated world wide but honored because there is little or no choice to do otherwise. Both men have used their office and power to funnel money into efforts that strip their citizens of their economy, security, and welfare while increasing their own personal and familial worth. Most importantly, both men have been in a place or two to change the path of the world regarding violence and could have brought groups and countries together for the good of all. Instead, both men took a path of violence and division, inciting violence and hatred around them and dividing whole national and international communities. The legacy they will both leave is one of the darkest in the recent history of the world. Come on, people. Count the dead who died under their orders then tell me how wonderful these two people are and how much they have improved the world through their presence and efforts in it.

Alas, soon this will become only my opinion and not representative of the true facts. History has already begun to rewrite itself. The spin has started.

I’ve just listened to the news. Arafat is the greatest hero of the Palestinian people. He represents the revolution for peace. Arafat is a man of peace and brought Gaza to the Palestinians and brought all the Palestinian people together to be united. Without him, there would be no Palestine, no hope, and no freedom. He is the Palestinian’s symbol of freedom.

To quote a brilliant line from the television show, Babylon 5:

The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.

Tel Aviv, Israel

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