Let the revisionist journalism begin


Arafat’s “condition”, which probably is nowhere near as serious as the reports are making it out to be, is inspiring articles that predict how Arafat’s “legacy” will be rewritten by the press. Reuters can always be counted on to lead off with a shining example:

Foreign doctors rushed to Yasser Arafat’s side on Thursday to tend to the seriously ill Palestinian leader, who for decades has symbolized his people’s struggle for statehood. [ . . . ] The ex-guerrilla, loved by most of his people and reviled by many Israelis, has had stomach pains since last week.

Let’s deconstruct that short, seemingly innocuous excerpt, shall we?

Symbolized his people’s struggle for statehood – is that so? Then why has he repeatedly not only rejected every single offer that would have led to Palestinian statehood, but done everything in his power to sabotage them? Why did he walk away from 97% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and half of Jerusalem at Camp David in 2000 without so much as a counter-proposal, and instead launch a 4-year campaign of terror? Because he doesn’t symbolize the Palestinian “struggle for statehood”, he symbolizes the Palestinian struggle to wipe Israel off the map.

Ex-guerrilla – really? In one sense, Arafat is still a guerrilla, strictly speaking. He’s not the legitimate leader of a state, because he has no state. He’s not reformed. He hasn’t renounced violence – in fact, he encourages violent guerrilla tactics. In another sense, he was never a guerrilla, because that term implies that he’s fighting a war against a military enemy. By directing his fight against innocent civilians, Arafat never earned the description of guerrilla. Isn’t it time to call a terrorist a terrorist?

Loved by most of his people – only in his own mind, perhaps. Certainly not according to a recent PCPSR poll, which puts his popular support down at around 35%, and support for his Fatah party at about 25%. Anecdotal evidence suggests widespread disgust with Arafat among Palestinians, belief that he led them astray, and contempt that his Palestinian Authority is corrupt and lines its own pockets. Many believe he isn’t extreme enough, and cast their support with groups like Hamas. But to suggest he’s “loved by most of his people” is a gross misrepresentation, to say the least.

Reviled by most Israelis – I suppose Israelis revile him for the colour of his keffiyah. Yeah, that must be it. The thousands of Israelis who he was directly responsible for murdering must have nothing to do with it.

Look for more of this nonsense if Arafat’s condition worsens. In fact, most newspapers keep pre-written obituaries handy for public figures in poor health, just in case. I can’t imagine what praises and glorifications the staff at Reuters, the Guardian, and the CBC are working on now.

11/01 – Update: I guess I don’t have to wonder anymore what drivel the BBC will come up with. This makes my point nicely. Excuse me, I think I’m going to be sick.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DaninVan 10.28.04 at 5:00 PM

I can’t wait to post that famous line from the Wizard of Oz…


2 Anonymous 10.29.04 at 4:17 AM

Surely you mean the one about welcoming to Muchkinland.

Ohhhhhh Arafat. A darker part of me is hoping the end IS nigh, because I’m really curious to see the aftermath.


3 Puck 10.29.04 at 4:13 PM

To think that one man could be so effective at holding up the dream of a nation. Why won’t these so called Palestinians all just go away? The least they could do is stay where they are and not cause trouble for anyone else.


4 Malia 10.30.04 at 2:59 AM

You should go back to school and learn history because there has never been a “Palestinian” nation or people for that matter. Arafat was actually born in Egypt.
The villians here are the over twenty Arab nations where these so-called “Palestinian” Arabs came from who have refused to take them back. The Arabs are using these “refugees” to create terrorists whose sole purpose is to destroy Israel. The Arabs have only themselves to blame for the trouble they inflicted on their people.


5 DaninVan 10.30.04 at 5:43 AM

Malia; (Hey, Girl!) not to dispute your point but we need to call them something, eh? (Don’t go there, this is a Family Hour program). If you call them
something like “%$@$#@$@!*+”^$” people won’t know WHICH %$@$#@$@!*+”^$s you’re talking about.


6 DaninVan 10.30.04 at 5:45 AM

Anonymous; no, the one about ‘the Witch is dead’. Ok, don’t get technical, I know he’s a Warlock.


7 Josh 10.31.04 at 1:16 PM

The doctors actually used my checkpoint to leave Jericho on their way to Jordan when they left on Friday morning. All four of them (the fifth never showed up) all had to scrunch into a Mercedes E-class (I think it was). Too bad they had VIP clearance and didn’t have to leave the car for inspection because I personally wanted to give them ‘the boot’.


8 Hanthala 11.01.04 at 2:52 AM

Hmm…yep this all speaks for itself…thanks for making my point.


9 DaninVan 11.01.04 at 6:52 AM

You been lurkin’ again, Hanthala? Speak up, Woman, what is your ‘point’?


10 Malia 11.02.04 at 6:03 AM

How about calling them “Gaza Strip Arabs” or “West Bank Arabs?” That would be more accurate than so-called “Palestinians” especially since the first people to be called “Palestinian” were the Jews.
I’ve heard them called “Terrorstinians” but I wouldn’t want to offend the 10% who don’t believe in blowing up the Jews and other infidels.


11 Hanthala 11.05.04 at 4:24 AM

Dan, I don’t have to say much, people keep shooting themselves in the foot.


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