Dear Yasser...

April 7, 2002

by Tom Barrett,

To: Yasser Arafat,
Crumbled Compound,
Suite 100,
Ramallah, Palestine

Dear Mr. Arafat:

President George Bush says you are a failed leader. He says you have betrayed your people. Most of the world agrees.

Why do you think that almost everyone in the world considers you a compulsive liar, a power-hungry despot, and a caricature of a leader? Perhaps it is because all these things are true.

I have a few ideas on where you went wrong. Perhaps if you will follow along with me, I can share some ideas that will help you rehabilitate your image. After all, in politics, image is everything.

First, you might try telling the truth. I know, this is like telling a guy who loves steaks to suddenly become a vegetarian. It will be difficult to completely change your personality and your way of dealing with the world around you. But your way is obviously not working. The fact that you have violated every treaty to which you have been a party, including treaties with your Arab brothers, tends to make nations hesitant about entering into further treaties with you. The fact that you have broken every cease-fire has the same effect. I realize that you consider people who expect you to keep your word to be judgemental and unfair, but they obviously donít understand the strain you are under.

Next, this stuff about sending a "million martyrs to Jerusalem" has just got to go. Very bad P.R. You see, most of the world doesnít see suicide bombers as "martyrs." They call them "murderers." President Bush just reinforced this notion in his speech about the Middle East, which didnít help you at all. My advice would be to condemn suicide bombers and stop calling them "Glorious Martyrs."

By the way, it doesnít work anymore to condemn the violence you have ordered when youíre on English-language TV stations, and then scream for "Holy War!" when you talk to your people in Arabic. It turns out the rest of the world is not as stupid as you assumed. In fact, some people have gotten downright sneaky - they have hired Arab translators. Fortunately for you, most of the TV networks are very liberal, and have kept your dirty little secret. But that pesky Fox News Channel has blown the whistle on you. Youíre going to have to try something else. Maybe subliminal messages at the mosques: "Kill all infidels. Drive the Jews into the sea."

About the Hitler thing. You may not realize this, but most of the world doesnít admire Hitler the way the Arab world does. I realize that Hitlerís writings are the best-selling books in Palestine, and that you idolize the man. But it is a mistake to scream in public appearances that, "Hitler should have finished what he started!! Then we wouldnít have these problems!!" As your PR advisor, youíre going to have to trust me on this one.

I hate to sound critical, but this whole partnership with Saddam Hussein is not helping your image. Itís bad enough that you pay thousands of dollars to poor families to encourage their children to strap dynamite to their bodies and kill other children. Now that Saddam has added $25,000 to the money youíve been doling out, the total reward for sacrificing a child is the equivalent of an American family receiving one million dollars! I know you have budget problems, and you feel you need Iraqís money. But being seen as Saddamís best buddy is extremely bad public relations.

This Arab Summit business didnít work in your favor, either. Of the fifty-seven representatives of Arab and Moslem nations and organizations, only two voted to condemn suicide bombing as terrorism. Fifty-five said suicide murder is not terrorism; the bombers are just doing their patriotic duty. Have you heard of the phrase, "Birds of a feather flock together?" Being associated with people who act and talk like ignorant savages makes the rest of the world think youíre as bad as they are. Or maybe itís you who makes them look bad. Whatever.

Finally, the map business. You have repeated over and over for public consumption that you recognize Israelís right to exist. You have sworn that you have no desire to murder all Jews. But not one map in your compound shows the State of Israel. This is a dead giveaway. Go out and buy some maps that show the world the way it is now, with Israel still in the Middle East. After you kill all the Jews, you can get your old maps out and hang them up again. But for now, they make you look like a liar.

I hope this has helped, Mr. Arafat. If you canít clean up your image and get someone to trust you, youíre not going to be able to negotiate anything. In reality, you are superfluous to the "peace process," since you obviously hate the idea of peace.

I think the worldís best hope for peace in the Middle East would be for one of the suicide murderers (excuse me, "bombers") to stop by for your blessing on his way to murder innocent Israelis. If you were to squeeze a little too hard when you kissed and hugged him...


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  Tom Barrett has been an ordained minister for 28 years. He has written for local and national publications for most of his life, and has authored several non-fiction books. He has been interviewed on many TV and radio programs, and speaks at seminars nationwide. Tom is the editor and publisher of Conservative Truth, an email newsletter read by tens of thousands weekly which focuses on moral and political issues from a Biblical viewpoint.

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