Thursday, November 11, 2004

RIP Yasser Arafat (1929 – 2004)

Good or bad, he was an institution to his people. Most of Palestinians never knew any leader other than him and his departure is going to create emptiness very much like the one caused by the death of the closest family member. I sympathise with them because people in this part of the world experienced the same kind of shock with somewhat less controversial figure quarter of century ago.


Blogger DarkoV said...

Were you as stunned as I was at the amount of money (widely reported as somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion dollars), Arafat had personal control over? What could that astounding amount of money done to help the Palestinians, rather than helping to shore up his personal power trip? It's a shame and an aspect of his life that will surely paint a darker picture of his life's journey than it already is.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Dragan said...

No, I wasn't stunned. In this part of the world we have plenty of examples of "nation fatherhood" being a lucrative career.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

I don't care if Arafat was a multibillionaire. I do care if he gained some of his wealth illegally. In the Middle East Quarterly, Issam Abu Issa, former chairman of the Palestine International Bank, has this to say:

"Over the course of fifteen meetings, I became better acquainted with Arafat and grew increasingly concerned with his leadership style. Arafat and top PA officials did not respect the rule of law; many were corrupt. Arafat believed neither in separation of powers nor in checks and balances. His animosity toward accountability thwarted efforts to establish a responsible leadership. By 1996, Palestinians in the PA were saying they had traded one occupation for two, the one by Israel and the one by Arafat and his cronies.

"Rather than use donor funds for their intended purposes, Arafat regularly diverted money to his own accounts. It is amazing that some U.S. officials still see the Palestinian Authority as a partner even after U.S. congressional records revealed authenticated PLO papers signed by Arafat in which he instructed his staff to divert donors' money to projects benefiting himself, his family, and his associates."

8:41 AM  

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