Questione di carattere

A cose passate, un ritratto equilibrato dei limiti di Arafat come leader politico, scritto da Fouad Ajami per U.S. News:

“Character is destiny. And in the end, character doomed Arafat. The peace of Oslo, concluded in 1993, its burden shouldered by the legendary Israeli soldier and statesman, Yitzhak Rabin, had rescued Yasser Arafat from political oblivion, brought him back from the wilderness and from exile to give him a political base, a home on the soil of Gaza and the West Bank. Arafat understood the bargain that Labor Zionism made with him: He would have to keep the peace, and he would have to begin to lay the foundations of a moderate Palestinian polity. He would do nothing of the sort. He was good at starting fires. Temperamentally, the man abhorred the hard work of state building. The romance of the exile and the romance of “the revolutionary” tugged at him. He abhorred transparency, preferred to keep his subordinates guessing, treated the public treasure donors gave him as his own personal inheritance.

It is idle to lament the historic opportunities wasted by this man. The fault lies not in a leader whose weaknesses were known the world over but in the illusions and the hopes invested in him by outsiders willing to be deluded. When it truly counted, Palestinian history needed the healer’s art and a leader’s courage. In Yasser Arafat, it was to beget a juggler who never knew when history came calling, who would never accept the burden of choice and the logic of political responsibility. In retrospect, the oddest thing about the man was his giddiness in times of trouble and situations of great seriousness. In one of his defining images, from his old age, the man blowing kisses to the crowd could never grasp the depth of his people’s despair and the magnitude of their needs. Would that he had given the crowd the gift of moderation, the sense of what can and cannot be had in the world of nations.”

US News (via

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