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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Saturday, November 06, 2004  
    The man the late Edward Said likened to the title-character in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “The Autumn of the Patriarch”*, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, lies in a coma in a Paris military hospital.
    Although Mr. Arafat is on a life- support machine, I think that it’s too early to write off one of the few men to ever survive a plane crash (just one of many close escapes).
    Reports of his death (President Bush even went as far as saying “may God rest his soul”) may indeed be greatly exaggerated; we’ve heard it all before.
    In 1992, when I was attending a Christian university here in Lebanon, the not sadly received news that Arafat’s plane had crashed in the Libyan dessert spread across the campus – it was all over for one of Lebanon’s most unpopular ex-residents.
    Except that it wasn’t, he emerged alive but bruised and shaken**, picked himself up and dusted himself off as he’d so often done before and was to so often do again.
    Whilst the man who launched a million civil wars (including our own) wasn’t greatly mourned by my classmates when he “died” that time and won’t be greatly mourned in this country in general when and if he dies this time, celebration would be premature, not to mention inappropriate – we should all mourn the eventual passing (when and if it happens – you can never be sure with Abu Ammar) of the last secular Palestinian leader (that is the last secular Palestinian leader with a modicum of popular support) if only because what might ensue might be infinitely worse.

    *This comparing of the phoenix-like Arafat to the novel’s archetypal isolated eternal dictator, who lived for over two hundred years, was caustically true when Said made it in the 1990’s and became even truer in this decade when Arafat had used up a couple more of his lives and when even his surroundings (his almost destroyed Ramallah compound) came to look like Marquez’s protagonist’s rundown and abandoned presidential palace.
    **The two pilots and his bodyguard died in the crash so it must have been serious – how often do pilots not survive the plane crashes they usually cause (particularly smart alec fighter pilots who crash their planes into crowds of people at air shows and emerge without a scratch)?

    3:00 am

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