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Arafat Remembered

Ma’an News has a tribute article to Yasser Arafat, which is begging for some mockery.

On Tuesday 11 November Palestinians commemorated the death of their first leader: Abu Ammar, Al-Ra’is (the president) and in the end Al-Khityar (the old man), former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Not to forget Abu Al-Shityar (the dirty old man), Abu Nimr (the tiger), and Abu Garyglitter (the pedophile).

At his best Arafat was a Palestinian hero and leader of the cause; he was a symbol of unity, pride and the power of the ideal. Arafat was a comfort for whoever had known him as much as he was a symbol of comfort for all his people.

The man embodied much of what it meant to be Palestinian.

Given he was an arch terrorist, this is a rather telling statement.

Somehow, at the same time he was a refugee, he was a Jerusalemite, a Gazan, a West Banker and an exiled Palestinian who had felt deeply all of his torments.

Not to mention an Egyptian.

Al-Ra’is was a man that loved his people who died before he was able to achieve their dream.

Being the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel.

Arafat knew he was dying when doctors diagnosed him first with the flu and then with a terminal immune-deficiency disease, said political writer and analyst Yahya Rabah.

Hmm, a terminal immune deficiency disease

“He never told anyone how he felt,” said Rabah. Throughout his illness doctors piled him with advice which Arafat saw as a sort of lamentation, since he knew he was dying, Rabah, who was also a friend to Arafat, recalled.

Despite his determined and often stoic appearance Arafat was open about his affection for friends and comrades Abu Iyad (chief of the Palestinian Intelligence Agency) and Abu Jihad (founder of Fatah and military leader).

“When those two men were beside me I slept with comfort on my pillow, but since the day I lost them I felt explosives inside that pillow whenever I tried to sleep,” he was said to have lamented.

Probably to be taken literally.

Arafat was a man with a sweet tooth; he drank only tea and not coffee, and rather enjoyed Nabulsi Kanafeh.

I haven’t heard of him before.

Friends remember him slicing the sticky sweets with his hands and passing squares out to those around him.

Arafat also loved the simple company of children. Some of his happiest times, recall friends, were drinking tea and playing with his daughter and the children of his close friends.

So I’ve heard.

He would watch Mickey Mouse cartoons with them and laugh from the bottom of his chest.

Or should that be Farfur?

He also enjoyed the higher arts, would listen to the reverberating songs of Umm Kalthoum, and enjoyed deep friendships with Arab poets, writers and actors like Adel Imam, Yousef Sha’ban and Madiha Yousri.

On the day devoted to his memory, the celebration of his successes and the mourning of his failures, Palestinians gathered in groups to hear speeches, songs and stories bringing back into life the stories of the once great man.

The world is indeed a better place without this murderer.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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