Wednesday, August 22, 2007

yasser arafat, gay hero?

I was too sick to post about this when I first heard it, and it seems to be oddly under-reported, but apparently it has been confirmed that longtime Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat died of AIDS. And it seems to be confirmed that this was sexually transmitted, and that Arafat had well-known homosexual proclivities. In my mind this explains much of why Arafat has not been lionized since his passing, which I've always thought was odd since he was such a symbol of the Palestinian struggle during his lifetime.

While much could be said about Arafat and his choices, I choose to remember him as a hero, and now a gay hero. He never gave up, or sold out, the fight for Palestinian freedom: something that could not be said of the current Palestine authority coup leaders/Israeli collaborators under Abu Mazen. He resisted that final temptation to sell out Palestinian dreams to an intolerable ministate in the last negotiations under President Clinton. Although reviled for his refusal to clinch an almost done deal, I think he showed true wisdom and bravery. While many of his actions could be criticized over the years, this last one, and his heroic last stand in the ruins of Ramallah, redeem much of his blustery checkered past.

I am one gay man who welcomes him into the ranks of beloved AIDS dead.

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