Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The true Yasser `Arafat. Former Arafat's interpretor (and a protege of the lousy Bassam Abu Sharif), Marwan Kanafani wrote his memoirs (somebody who is in the Middle East and is coming to US get me a copy, NOW). I saw him interviewed on it on NBN by Maria Ma`luf. She did a good job quizzing him. First, any book on Arafat that does not mention that he was autocratic, ill-tempered, closed-minded, authoritarian, slippery, shifty, unprincipled, intolerant (of dissent), deceptive, secretive, anti-democratic, hierarchical, and indulgent of corruption (even if he was not personally corrupt) does not have credibility in my eyes. He said that Arafat was willing to listen to others: so not true. He would listen to whatever agreed with his orientations, and he was willing to learn provided he took credit for himself for whatever he learned. During my college years, I once urged a person I knew in Beirut who had a access to Arafat to talk to him about the corruption of PLO and the misdeeds of Fath in Lebanon. He was reluctant but then relented at my urging. I saw him later, and he told me that Arafat exploded in anger when be broached the subject. I never met Arafat, and never had interest in meeting him. I detested him and despised him from my early teens, when I started following closely Palestinian politics. I saw in him then a great danger to the Palestinian revolution. And why should we give credit to Arafat for being ascetic in his taste and lifestyle? If asceticism is the standard, then we should give blenders to monks all around the world.