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Arafat really is dead now. - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Nov. 10th, 2004

11:05 pm - Arafat really is dead now.

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I suppose this is highly inappropriate to post immediately after the death of Nobel Peace Prize winner but...

For some reason waiting for Arafat to die has left me in the same emotional state as watching Until the End of the World. There's this looming catastrophe that everyone who listens to the news knows is coming but everyone keeps carrying on with their completely unrelated surreal life stories.

Maybe it's because he died in France.

Comments:

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From:kakistocracy
Date:November 11th, 2004 05:43 am (UTC)
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Whatever appropriateness there might have been has been pretty much tossed out the window. It seems increasingly clear that he was kept alive long enough for some horribly bizarre negotiations to be conducted that may or may not have involved a burial site, a power struggle, a reported $6 billion estate, and who knows what else.

To me, the endearing memory of Yasser Arafat is a picture I clipped out of the Rockford Register Star many, many moons ago, a picture of Bill Clinton, flanked by Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, each of them holding up and out a t-shirt emblazened "Seeds For Peace". It was the most surreal photo I may ever have seen, and I kept it in my wallet for years until it had to removed because it was falling apart.

One of those "remember-where-you-were" moments for me was when I learned that Rabin had been assassinated. Unlike the yahoos (and Netanyahus) that followed him, I believe Rabin was serious and genuine, and understood that the killing had to end even if more concessions needs to be given. I knew people who cried then as though they were North Carolinians the day that Dale Earnhart died.

What a fucking absurd planet this is.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:November 11th, 2004 06:24 am (UTC)
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I agree completely with your entire post. Somehow all of those thoughts about the ludicrousness of the situation are tied up in my strange emotional parallel to UtEotW.

I remember the exact same feeling about Rabin. I've many times remembered back to how hopeful things seemed to be before he was killed and just how badly things have gone since then. I mean Netanyahu seemed bad enough, when Sharon came in I couldn't believe how much worse he was.

This radical reperspectiving is a persistent theme of the last two decades for me. I remember when I was a kid people saying that Bob Dole was pretty bad compared to Reagan (who was bad enough!). Then by the time Gingrich came around, Dole seemed positively moderate. Now the Bush gang makes me yearn for the bad old days of Gingrich's "Republican Revolution". Really I just want Nixon back! That is how absurd it has gotten.

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From:zarfmouse
Date:November 11th, 2004 06:30 am (UTC)
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I don't know if you've seen the movie but I think the moment in the movie I'm most thinking about is when they're flying in the plane and the EMP from the satelite going down (or maybe some country has launched an actual nuke? it isn't entirely clear because that back story is only elaborated in muted news broadcasts in the background while the characters go about their unrelated and more human stories) knocks out the electronics. The end of the world has come and the plane is just gliding through the air. It feels like the movie should end. But everything just keeps gliding along and the plot continues, the end of the world is a minor backdrop to everything that happens. The characters are all thousands of miles from the crisis (though it is truly a global crisis). Really the actual central plot of the movie hasn't even been introduced yet.

We've been gliding along in that plane for the past week and now it's time to figure out just what the hell is going to happen next. The movie never really seems to end.
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