Yassar Arafats mausoleum, musings about him, and setting up meetings

by ray goodlass

2 January, made my own way through the crowded souk-like shopping streets of Ramallah (instead of ‘cheating’ and taking a taxi) to visit Yasser Arafat’s mausoleum, which is impressive in its stark, quite beautiful simplicity.

I’m ambivalent abot Mr Arafat, because though undoubtedly a figurehead and to some inspiational, Fatah and the PLO, which he dominated for so long, where certainly not democratic, and eventually quite corrupt. Nontheless, though he started out as a revolutionay hell-bent exclusively on the violent liberation of all of Palestine, he did come to actively promote the two state solution, and to achieve it he came to eschew violence and worked through diplomacy. In this sense President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, with their continued focus on non-violence, diplomacy and ‘state building’ are very appropriate successors. 

Today I also set up and/or confirmed meetings with NGOs tommorrow, such as the Indepedent Commission for Human Rights (Hanan Ashrawi was one of its founders) and Al Alhaq, and the Al Kasaba Theatre, and, a passion of mine, the Freedom Theatre in Jenin on Friday This one took some setting up, but its locked in now, and I’m very happy about it, as it is very much a ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ type of organisation, and its motto is ‘Cultural Resistance’, which is so dear to my heart (and non-violent) politics. Really looking forward to visiting it.