The plot thickens
It was eight years ago that he left Palestine, but it is clear that Palestine never left him. His figure was never eclipsed; his shadow looms tall and strong, evoking visions of a promised land, no matter how long the struggle, how high the price. His name remains synonymous with the eternal strife of the homeless and the oppressed; with the burning desire to right a wrong committed by man against his fellow man. He lived his life chasing a dream, now the dream of a homeland for Palestinians may have died with his death, or at least seems further from reality than during his lifetime. Their will seems weak, their opportunities barren, their tempers lukewarm, and time is running. They are more in need than ever of a leader like Yasser Arafat. One who makes his thoughts acts.
Nee Mohamed Abdel Raouf Arafat al Kadwa al Husseini, Yasser, a name his mother chose, was born August 24, 1929, some say in Cairo, others in Jerusalem. What is certain is that at age 9 he was brought to Cairo to live with an older sister. He was defiant against British rule and Jewish occupation of his country, even during his early teens. He entered Cairo University at age 19 and on graduation in 1933, he left for Kuwait and from that moment on, he spent the rest of his waking hours fighting for the primary cause of his existence, the return to his homeland. He worked diligently, recruiting freedom- fighters and establishing his underground network "al Fattah', in 1958. Even then he was concerned for his safety and moved around from Kuwait to Jordan, Tunis, Lebanon, baffling all who followed his movements. In 1964 he developed his "Palestine Liberation Organisation" (PLO), in Jordan in 1964, with its own military force. Wherever he was however, his heart was captive to a land called Palestine.
At the time of his death, theories abounded about the manner of his demise. Strong rumours claimed he was poisoned, but nothing came of it. Yasser was buried leaving many unanswered questions, soon forgotten. Dark clouds are ephemeral and sooner or later they roll away, except those on the skies of Palestinians. His party of "al Fattah" has been challenged and divided, leaving the executive control to a more religious faction of "Hizballah. The fragile population is now broken and in disarray; only one like Arafat can put it back together again.
Suddenly, a minor news item resurrected the pains and perils of life without Yasser Arafat. A new investigation of his remains, with the co-operation of his widow Soha, concluded definitively that Arafat's death was indeed caused by poisoning̉ê¦̉ê¦.plutonium poisoning! What, where, when why and how? A million questions remain unanswered. Who did it? Who stood to gain from his death? When and how was it done? That is the novelty!
Plutonium poisoning is rare, but not altogether unfamiliar. It was cited as the cause of death of a Russian journalist residing in London as well as other politicians in Eastern Europe. We have now added one more method of taking a human life, worthy of our nuclear age. Those who wish to explore further into the chemical make-up of plutonium, more power to them. For the non-scientific minds that are not inclined to dwell on it, let us mention briefly that, Plutonium (chemical symbol Pu), is an artificially created radio-active element discovered in 1940 by 4 Americans, who shared a Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1951. The metal is silvery white and has a melting point of 641 degrees. How it was handled by the killer, when and where, remain among the million unanswered, invisible and elusive questions that plague our lives.
Since its inception, the august body of the United Nations Organisation has little to show in the 6 decades plus of its existence. Little doubt prevails that one of its first and worst decisions was granting a wronged people a homeland by wronging another people and robbing them of their homeland. To right a wrong by another wrong is far from right. For this Yasser Arafat died, and with his death Right died, and Might thrives.
The story of Palestine is worth telling and retelling, much like the story of the Holocaust. Both are among the most sorrowful and most regretful acts in the annals of human history. The story of the Holocaust is regularly repeated, but the story of the plight of Palestinians is not.
This old and revered land where people existed probably 100,000 years ago, where Amorites came and Canaanites settled, followed by Semites from Mesopotamia who called themselves Hebrews, and others who journeyed from Egypt, led by Moses; this rich and generous land has been grievously wronged by the very same people who claim justice and equality. This magnanimous and human act of Israeli statehood has sacrificed more lives than several holocausts and deposited a dark hole in place of the heart of the human race.
There is a certain romance to the life and death of Yasser Arafat, and now plutonium adds to the shroud of mystery and intrigue. By poisoning him, his adversaries have only added to his stature and influence. For 6 decades he escaped many attempts on his life. He finally fell to the subtle deceit of science, leaving us with more questions about the life and death of Yasser Arafat and his elusory dream!.
If I advance, follow me! If I retreat, kill me! If I die, avenge me!
-- La Rochejaquelin ( 1772-1794 )