Saturday, November 13, 2004

Arafat's "Funeral"

The other day I posted that I would be pretty upset if the networks made a big deal of Arafat's funeral and that they could dump his carcass in the dump for all I cared. Well I caught the helicopter landing with the wild mob scene in Ramallah on Fox yesterday morning. What I saw was nearly comedic. There was no grace, no respect, and nothing approaching dignified, so I was pretty happy about his "funeral". Link here for the ugly details:
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - Yasser Arafat was laid to rest in a marble-and-stone grave Friday after his flag-draped coffin was borne through a sea of emotional Palestinians who swarmed the helicopter that brought him from a state funeral in Egypt.

Police fired wildly into the air to keep back the surging crowd at the West Bank compound known as the Muqata, where Arafat spent his last years as a virtual prisoner.

After Arafat's body was lowered into the ground, Muslim clerics read Quranic verses and the late leader's bodyguards wept and embraced each other.

Frantic mourners surged toward the tomb, trampling the olive tree saplings that were planted around the grave according to Islamic tradition. One policeman knelt on the marble and kissed the tombstone.

Earlier, officials tried for 25 minutes to open the helicopter door to remove the coffin onto a jeep that had plowed through the crowd to clear a path.(/snip)

In Gaza City, hundreds gathered on rooftops, streets and apartment balconies in hopes of catching a glimpse of Arafat's helicopter. Barred from attending the burial, tens of thousands of Gaza residents held rallies and symbolic funerals across the strip.

A small group of masked gunmen marched into the Muqata, ignoring calls from official Palestine TV not to carry arms or mask faces, as is common in Palestinian funerals during times of crisis. However, the gunmen calmly submitted to inspection by plainclothes security personnel who ensured there were no bullets in the chambers.(/snip)

It was truly a circus if you missed it. There were several moments when I thought that coffin was coming open! It was nothing less than pure, unadulterated mob madness.