Towards A Good Samaritan World

Saturday, November 13, 2004

THE DEATH OF ARAFAT

I watched the scenes of Arafat's funeral on Fox yesterday morning, and I was moved. Arafat was an evil man, as Jeff Jacoby and Max Boot remind us. It was still sad to see the end of a man so many people loved (albeit wrongly).

My sister lived in the Gaza strip once, and a couple of stories she brought back have always haunted me. If you told anyone Gaza is small (it is) they would say, "No, it's not, it's the largest prison in the world."

Once she played a game with her student (of English) called "I never." For vocabulary practice. Everyone sits in a circle. You go around the circle, and each person says something that they've never done. If you've done the thing they mention, that's a point against you. You count the points on your fingers. Five points and you're out.

My sister was out fast. The Palestinian women said things like:

"I've never been outside of Gaza City."

"I've never been in a movie theater."

"I've never crossed the city without being escorted by a man."

Wow.

Arafat's picture was on the wall of every Palestinian home. Two Palestinian men proposed marriage to my sister; for Palestinian men to marry Christian women was justified by reference to Arafat's example: "See, Arafat has a Christian wife, so it's allowed." That the Palestinian people were so deprived of decent role models that they adulated such a disgusting mass-murderer is sadder even than the pitifully narrow horizons of my sister's women students. I hope that with Arafat's passing a better future is in store for them.

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