Thursday, November 11, 2004

A Man, A Legacy, A Dubious Future

Yassir Arafat died much as he lived, long fighting a losing battle. Whatever comment history will leave about his methods and his madness, it cannot be questioned that this man remained devoted until his last gasp of consciousness to the people that became his. Arafat was a strong, if flawed, leader, and Palestinians mourn today.

As with many individuals who devote their lives to grand ends, this man did not see the fruits that he toiled to harvest. There is no Palestine. There is no peace. But, yet, amidst the blackness of the day, there may be hope. Hope, though, is not an end of suffering, but the strength with which to endure it. Before even the tears dry on the eyes of the weeping children in the wartorn ghetto, the contest for control will begin. Even now, in their mock remonstrances, the power players of Palestinian politics lay their hands upon the throne.

From this pain, from the pain of generations, we can only pray solemnly for peace. Arafat prayed, I am sure, but more importantly, he strived, as well. Others shall. The path will not be clean of blood or of conscience, but what path of conflict and liberation is?

Arafat will be blind to future success. Perhaps, too, will his children. Perhaps we all shall. Only the trickling passage of time, cloaked in anger, violence, and tragedy, will reveal our fate. But today, on this day of reflection and remembrance, let us grieve with a grieving people. Let us also raise our heads and our hearts with that people in an earnest, proud oath to see this to its end. Then, maybe, Arafat can rest in peace. I only hope that the Palestinians can.


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