Wednesday, December 5, 2012

And now Arafat as Hamlet's father's ghost

Was Yasser Arafat "poisoned in the garden for his estate"?  What's sure is that his ghost still stalks the Middle East. Thus Omar Dajani in FP:
The decision to exhume Arafat's remains, almost eight years after his demise, is itself illuminating. Why, many have asked, wasn't it done earlier, when potential evidence of wrongdoing remained fresh? Although it is tempting to suspect a conspiracy, the reality likely hews closer to Hamlet than Julius Caesar. Just after Arafat's death in 2004, a negotiated settlement of the conflict remained a tantalizing prospect: Israel withdrew its troops from the Gaza Strip in 2005, a new Palestinian-Israeli agreement on movement and access was concluded later the same year, and Palestinians returned to the polls in 2006 for the first time in a decade. While many Palestinians suspected from the start that Arafat died from unnatural causes, their leadership, like the court of Denmark in Hamlet, preferred not to be confronted with potentially unpleasant facts about the late patriarch's death. Why inflame the situation just as tempers were cooling? Why risk souring relations with Israel and the United States when progress was close at hand? Wasn't it possible, after all, that Arafat had been the obstacle to peace all along?

Egypt's ElBaradei as "Westernized and Hamlet-like"

Thus spake The Associated Press, at the beginning of the "constitutional" crisis now convulsing Egypt almost exactly as it did one year ago:
The grouping seems to represent a newly assertive political foray for the former chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency. Mr. El Baradei returned to Egypt in the year before Mr. Mubarak's fall, speaking out against his rule, and was influential with many of the youth groups that launched the anti-Mubarak revolution.
But since Mr. Mubarak's fall, he has been criticized by some as too Westernized, elite and Hamlet-like, reluctant to fully assert himself as an opposition leader.