November 01, 2004


Barbara Plett is a foreign correspondent for the BBC -- in the sense that her views are foreign to anyone with any moral capacity:

Though full of uncertainties, Mr Arafat's life has been one of sheer dedication and resilience.

And terrorism. Don't forget all the terrorism.

To be honest, the coverage of Yasser Arafat's illness and departure from Palestine was a real grind. I churned out one report after the other, without any sense of drama.

I agree; the event needed more drama, which could have been supplied by the IDF.

We hovered around the gate to his compound, swarming around the Palestinian officials who drove by, poking our microphones through their dark, half-open windows.

Car swarming? In the Palestinian territories? That's unheard of.

But where were the people, I wondered, the mass demonstrations of solidarity, the frantic expressions of concern?

Barbara is more Palestinian than the Palestinians.

Was this another story we Western journalists were getting wrong, bombarding the world with news of what we think is an historic event, while the locals get on with their lives?

She's completely missed the news angle here: locals don't care about Yasser! His era is over!

Yet when the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry... without warning.

Oh, please ...

In quieter moments since I have asked myself, why the sudden surge of emotion?

Because you're a reason-handicapped BBC hag?

I suppose there was a pathos about the strong contrast between this and other journeys Yasser Arafat has made.

His journeys to the local plastic explosives warehouse, his journeys to Suicide Belts R Us ...

I remember well when the Israelis re-conquered the West Bank more than two years ago, how they drove their tanks and bulldozers into Mr Arafat's headquarters, trapping him in a few rooms, and throwing a military curtain around Ramallah.

I remember how Palestinians admired his refusal to flee under fire. They told me: "Our leader is sharing our pain, we are all under the same siege."

And so was I.

Maybe you should apply for Yasser's job once the old bastard dies.

Despite his obvious failings - his use of corruption, his ambivalence towards violence, his autocratic way of ruling - no one could accuse him of cowardice.

He's bravely refused to come outside for three years.

Throughout his years of revolution, peace, and uprising, the Palestinian leader has been an enduring national symbol.

Which is something of an achievement ... for someone who doesn’t have a nation.

But as he boarded the helicopter with faltering steps, he also stood for something else: for a people exhausted by war, bereft of hope, abandoned by their brothers, and fearful of the future.

Perhaps that is why so few Palestinians saw him off. In him, still, they see themselves.

Or maybe they just don't give a fuck.

(Via Norm Geras)

Posted by Tim Blair at November 1, 2004 01:18 PM

My guess is, he'll retire to his wife's home in Paris, and direct the intifadah from there.

Hey, the French government supports the Palestinian cause, after all. It all makes sense, in a quisling sort of way.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 1, 2004 at 01:28 PM

His ambivalence toward violence? His ambivalence toward violence?!!!

Gak. Did this person just fall off a turnip truck, or are there truly such ignorant people given a public voice in this day and age?

I know I am too old for this world when I read words such as this.

Gawd save us all.

Posted by: cj at November 1, 2004 at 01:29 PM

Yes, he was ambivalent toward violence. "Should we blow something up this morning, or wait until evening? Oh, the pressure of being a national symbol!"

Try sticking the name "Marcos" in there everywhere she has "Arafat" and you get a nice effect, though a bit unfair to old Ferdinand, who actually could kind of run a country, just autocratically.

Posted by: Mike G at November 1, 2004 at 01:34 PM

Hell, at least Marcos had a country to run. Although Arrafat has been as greedy as Marcos, I'll give him that much.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 1, 2004 at 01:53 PM

Hey, when I heard his plane took off, I almost cried too -- because it meant there was a chance the bastard might live. Ad here I am with all this candy I wanted to pass out...

Posted by: Sean at November 1, 2004 at 02:04 PM

Barbara plett is a hamas supporter who moonlights and writes vitriloic ant israeli article for the International Solidarity Movement who are themselves a quasi terrorist organisation.

Colère contre la loi israélienne de la citoyenneté
Par Barbara Plett

Is she related to orla guerrin ?

Posted by: davo at November 1, 2004 at 02:05 PM

You missed an interesting paragraph from the article:

Everyone says Yasser Arafat has made too many mistakes, that he has missed too many opportunities. He did and he has, but look also at what he has been up against.

You see he has had it rough too, it hasnt all been savaloys and vegemite y'know!

Posted by: Kiwi Bob at November 1, 2004 at 02:19 PM

Maybe the "Man from Mossad" can say a quick hello to Arafat while he's in hospital. I don't know if it would work as an invigorating tonic on Arafat, but it would sure perk up my spirits!

Posted by: Lofty at November 1, 2004 at 02:26 PM

just sickening. I cry knowing she is still breathing!

Posted by: JEM at November 1, 2004 at 02:36 PM

She probably also shed tears reporting on bombed out busses imagining the pain the bomber's family must have been going through.

Posted by: SleepyInSeattle at November 1, 2004 at 02:46 PM

I am convinced that my parents made a poor choice when they sent me to that State school. They should have sent me to a Private school where I could graduate even though I said that "Despite his obvious failings - his use of corruption, his ambivalence towards violence, his autocratic way of ruling - no one could accuse him of cowardice" as if it justified crying for a maniacal bastard.

If I had gone to her school I would have a PhD now, maybe in divinity and be an editor at the BeeB.

Posted by: Allan at November 1, 2004 at 02:47 PM

Tim Blair, I still believe you are the funniest person on this here internet.

Posted by: Bob at November 1, 2004 at 04:00 PM

Barbara 4 Yasser 4EVA

Posted by: Quentin George at November 1, 2004 at 04:29 PM

Bet'cha Barb loves her hair pulled and her ass slapped when she's getting it doggy. Some girls never outgrow the bad boys.

Posted by: Dave S. at November 1, 2004 at 04:33 PM

And here I am thinking that I was the only one hoping the quoit and tea towel headed mongrel was dying - slowly and painfully.
But if he does get better I guess he gets the Sydney Peace Prize!

Posted by: l at November 1, 2004 at 04:33 PM

I think I shall be ill (from Babs's article)

Posted by: Jewels (AKA Julian) at November 1, 2004 at 04:44 PM

Just who are the French nowadays, anyhow? Are they our friends? Are they our enemies?

As far as I can tell France is still a Western democracy...a free and open society for all peoples. But here they are giving free medical treatment to the Father of modern day terrorism. I mean, when you think about it, there isn't really a hell of a lot of difference between Yasser Arafat and Osama Bin Laden. They both admire terrorists and they both want Israel destroyed. Why is France doing all they can to ensure the continued survival of this guy?

Posted by: Richard at November 1, 2004 at 04:51 PM

Barbara and Yasser up a tree
Is she biased BBC?
Or just another jihadi?


Posted by: fidens at November 1, 2004 at 05:03 PM

My ex-girlfriend was always bursting into tears for no reason. She was a serious hysteric.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at November 1, 2004 at 05:05 PM

you would think that with the billions sidetracked into arafat's accounts , some would have been put aside to build a hospital for the pals?
Where have Chris Pattens EU donations gone? and the United nations funds?
I guess Suha is in the know about the missing millions.
reminds ne of the story of the american nurse at mount sinai hospital , who saw a sharp improvement in the health of her Saudi patients when the WTC went down -- they suddenly found thier dancing legs.

Posted by: davo at November 1, 2004 at 05:14 PM

I have to admit I was starting to get all teary-eyed myself as I read that account of old Yasser's departure. Maybe I'm just getting to be a softy in my old age. Either that or it was the sharp stick I jabbed into my eyes as I read that.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at November 1, 2004 at 05:17 PM


Saddam was ambivalent
Hitler was too,
Satalin too,
and many others too,
so what if Barbara is, too?

Anybody has Barbara's email? Let's ask her what did she mean by "ambivalence"?

Posted by: Yossi at November 1, 2004 at 05:43 PM

n memory of Mrs. Hatuel and her wee daughters.

May she be condemned to spend all the days left to ARAFAT SLEEPING AND WEEPING BESIDE HIM and then to end her days under a regime such as his.
Did she have any tissues over after weeping for the bullet ridden young, pregnant Mrs Hatuel and her baby girls -oh Lord forgive my thoughts

Some days I just can't love enough!!!!!

Posted by: Rose at November 1, 2004 at 06:17 PM

I hear the words of sexual exctasy.
Please turn your vibrator a notch down.

Posted by: OhNo at November 1, 2004 at 06:23 PM

One uses corruption as if it were a tool? Interesting.

Posted by: Mike H. at November 1, 2004 at 06:30 PM

Just spotted Bin Laden getting treatment in Paris - i think it was plastic surgery. apparently Paris is a whos who list for terrorists who get anything from a manicure, to a facial or (in Arafat's case) emergency surgery.

The coalition of the willing has to invade France - becuase as Bush said: You are either with us or against us. The French are clearly on the other side.

Its got to be something to do with their eating habits - their favorite dish is slimy slugs. As the famous saying goes "what you eat is what you are."

Posted by: French fries at November 1, 2004 at 07:01 PM

She feels his pain. Yes, it's "The Passion of the Yasser," and those damn Jews are just killing the poor man. Killing him!

And the crocodile finds herself in tears.

Posted by: BarCodeKing at November 1, 2004 at 07:03 PM

But where were the people, I wondered, the mass demonstrations of solidarity, the frantic expressions of concern?

She would have felt right at home in the Communist Bloc. They were really good at "spontaneous mass demonstrations", after all.

I remember how Palestinians admired his refusal to flee under fire. They told me: "Our leader is sharing our pain, we are all under the same siege."

And so was I.

In other words her employer, the BBC, by omission to distance themselves from her words, should be considered the official Palestinian news agency? Who knew.

Posted by: PW at November 1, 2004 at 08:04 PM

"Because you're a reason-handicapped BBC hag?"

Tim, man, that was bloomin' funny. I think you've just destroyed her. I suggest sending mail to the BBC to point out that this woman surely doesn't fit in even their rather flexible form of impartiality.

Best wishes (to all except Yasser, who should suffer a bit),


PS. Have you heard the Beebs idea of unbiased election coverage? Principal guest: Michael Moore. I guess nowhere in the States would have him, praise be. The other panellists on their BBC World programme (so you folks can get it in oz, but I can't in Britain!) are: Madeleine Albright, former Clinton advisor Sidney Blumethal, and George Soros. If I had to pay a licence fee of over £120 a year for this rubbish, I'd be mortified - wait a minute, I do have to pay the licence fee!

The Asman Observer at picked up on this story, and ended the column with "Monty python could not have written a sillier script." But they did write something appropraite to the point made about Arafats cowardice - "he bravely refused to come outside for three years", in their film The Holy Grail, about the night Sir Robin:

"Bold Sir Robin ran way,
Bravely ran away, away, O Bold Sir Robin,
When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled . . ."

How apt.

Posted by: Steve at November 1, 2004 at 08:32 PM

You do "have to" pay but I'm so disgusted I've decided to wait it out and lose all the "George Bernard Shaw Channels" correspondance.

Please accept my appologies from the UK for previously funding this sort of thing!

Posted by: Rob Read at November 1, 2004 at 10:22 PM

Oh, she is just god-awful.
Is she related to Margo?

Posted by: m at November 1, 2004 at 11:49 PM

Let's really give her something to cry about: transfer Arafat to a Brit or Canadian NHS hospital...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at November 2, 2004 at 12:59 AM

ER um...wasn't he carried into the helicopter? I think his morphine drip was set on "grin & drool"

Posted by: Hudson at November 2, 2004 at 03:07 AM

' suppose there was a pathos about the strong contrast between this and other journeys Yasser Arafat has made. '

I hope the difference is that this is the last one. Except for his trip to Hell.

Posted by: Jack Tanner at November 2, 2004 at 03:22 AM

Here's hoping there are some fine French Jewish doctors on Arafat's medical team in Paris.

Anybody wondering about the timing of his unknown acute illness on the eve of the US Presidential election? My guess is that, if Bush gets his second term, Arafat knows some serious reckoning with Iran, Syria and his terrorist organizations might be coming down the pike. France is his safest refuge, and that's probably where his billion dollar portfolio is chiefly administered.

The BBC is one of the reasons I only watch local news wherever I travel abroad. Even if I don't know the language, I learn more than were I to sit through International BBC's anti America and Israel propaganda in English.

Posted by: charlotte at November 2, 2004 at 03:41 AM

I'll bet she's a Castro groupie too.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at November 2, 2004 at 12:32 PM

Former Romanian intelligence chief Ion Pacepa tells in his very interesting memoirs that the Ceaucescu regime taped Arafat’s orgies with his body guards.
Such revelations would cause an earthquake in the Islamic world. No doubt the french could be relied on not to reveal such diagnoses.

Posted by: davo at November 2, 2004 at 02:40 PM

Why do you all expect the BBC to be fair and balanced if you're unable to be it yourself? The world is not divided into left and right, black and white, etc. It's slightly more complex than that.

Posted by: guiri1967 at November 5, 2004 at 02:47 AM