Goodbye Mister Arafat

The death of Yasser Arafat made national news, his funeral in Cairo and Burial in Ramallah were attended by worthies and dignitaries from far and wide as the world said its last farewell to a great statesman…

Huh?

Are we talking about the same Yasser Arafat who blew up planes, ordered the deaths of hundreds if not thousands, swore that he would not rest until Israel has been “driven into the sea” and even up to the time of his death, saw nothing wrong with using children as human bombs?

Yes, we are.

I believe that there is a special Hell set aside for terrorists – particularly those who try to use religion as an excuse for their activities. A place where the flames are set to “extra hot”, and the demons have especially sharp pitchforks. Over the entrance is inscribed the words “You did WHAT in my name?” Of course, such a place may exist only in my head.

There are only a handful of people in the world who could claim to be the father of modern terrorism. Arafat was one of them. He was not the only person to embrace terrorism as a tool for political gain. Menachem Begin, former President of Israel, made a lot of trouble for the British during the struggle for Israeli dependence. And before he died he saw the consequences of his actions – he got to see the other side of terrorism.

Of course the situation in the Middle East is complicated, and there is much we do not know and never will. I do not believe that everything that Israel does is automatically right, and I have a bit of a problem with the billions of taxpayer dollars that the US gives them with no strings attached every year. But I also appreciate that being a small country surrounded by sworn enemies puts them in a difficult position.

The lives of Mohandas Ghandi and Martin Luther King served to prove that nonviolent protest can work. Yasser Arafat – a man who won the Nobel Peace Prize and then returned to armed conflict – proved the futility of violence.

I see very little about Yasser Arafat’s life that makes me mourn his passing. And that is so very sad.

Rest in peace, Mr Arafat – if you can.

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