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Sandy Knauer

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Rest In Peace
11/14/2004 12:43:22 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Maybe war presidents have a unique set of rules for diplomacy.
Rest In Peace

I’m looking for someone to prove me wrong. I hope an unfortunate flipping pattern or remote control malfunction directed me away from channels that carried what I wanted to see. I would love to discover that I failed to enter the correct words in my google searches. God bless his soul, followed by a hollow wish that reserves the right to assume personal success should years of work toward someone else’s goal be realized after his death doesn’t work for me. Yet, that was the best I could find when searching for the war president’s message following Yassar Arafat’s death.

Maybe war presidents have a unique set of rules for diplomacy. Once thrown out the window, a war president can never revert to diplomacy, under any circumstances. It might be inappropriately liberal for a war president to say, “May he rest in peace.” Maybe it is hypocritical for a war president to express sorrow over the death of someone he has shunned.

Yassar Arafat was seen as both the symbol of the Palestinians' hope for a viable, independent state and the prime obstacle to its realization. Does that rationalize calling his death a significant moment in history and an “opportunity to renew Middle East efforts” instead of delivering an expression of sorrow to his friends, family, and supporters on the day of his death?

Palestinians, enough of them to fill my television screen, mourned the death of their leader. I wonder how many of them appreciated the message our war president sent. "For the Palestinian people, we hope that the future will bring peace and the fulfillment of their aspirations for an independent, democratic Palestine that is at peace with its neighbors. During the period of transition that is ahead, we urge all in the region and throughout the world to join in helping make progress toward these goals and toward the ultimate goal of peace." Is it my paranoia, or does this sound more like ‘you’re either with us or against us’, and ‘if you ever know peace it will be on our terms and we will take credit for it’ than a condolence?

I wonder how this plays in the mind of people like Tayeb Abdel Rahim, an Arafat aide who announced Arafat’s death with, "He closed his eyes and his big heart stopped. He left for God but he is still among this great people." Or Uri Avnery, who ended an interview in which he described the life of the man he admired by answering the question: If you had a chance to hold a farewell conversation with him in Paris, what would you say to him, with "I would say a few things. I would tell him, you are a great leader. You did something for your people that no one else did. And I would say to him, Rest in peace. If he would wake up for a second and tell me that the thanks to him the Palestinian people will reach the land of peace and plenty, that might ease death for him."

But then, maybe it isn’t possible for a war president to have compassion just because the man meant a lot to others. Come to think of it, the word compassion didn’t come up much during the second campaign.

I’m not a war president, so I’ll speak for myself. Rest in peace, Yassar Arafat.

Sandy Knauer, author of six published novels, bringing politics and social issues to fiction, and heart to political and social issue articles. E-mail the author at Sandywrites.aol.com


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More Blogs by Sandy Knauer
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Silent Partner by Jennifer Chase

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