Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Arafat's Squalid End - How he wasted his last 30 years.Christopher Hitchens here on what a tremendous waste Arafat's "leadership" was to the Palestinians. They could have ahd a country many times over the years, but thanks to Arafat chose war instead.

There was a time when the Palestinian cause, throughout the Middle East, was generally identified with larger causes than itself. Its diaspora, made up of thousands and thousands of intelligent and educated and ironic people, was on the whole a force for good in the Gulf states, in Jordan, in Lebanon, and elsewhere. If you voyaged to some dark and decrepit state in the region, and could get rid of your clinging official "minder," it was in some Palestinian apartment that music would play, drinks be served, books be passed around, and humorous remarks made with courage. It became the fashion among some Arabist reporters at this time to allude to the Palestinians as "the Jews of the Middle East."

Well, Arafat certainly destroyed that dream. His grandiose death-or-glory campaigns made life infinitely harder for the Palestinian populations of Jordan (in 1970) and in Lebanon. Even those conflicts had at least some tincture of revolutionary ardor, in which some Palestinians—not of Arafat's faction—played a role. But the nadir was reached in 1990, when "the Chairman" ranged himself on the side of Saddam Hussein and stayed with him on the obliteration and annexation of Kuwait. Suddenly, the PLO was implicitly and sometimes explicitly in favor of the erasure of an existing Arab and Muslim state, a member of the Arab League and of the United Nations.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home