"You shall know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free"
Publisher / Editor:
Paul Hayden

Dear Yasser...

April 7, 2002

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 don’t 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 doesn’t see suicide bombers as "martyrs." They call them "murderers." President Bush just reinforced this notion in his speech about the Middle East, which didn’t help you at all. My advice would be to condemn suicide bombers and stop calling them "Glorious Martyrs."

By the way, it doesn’t work anymore to condemn the violence you have ordered when you’re 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. You’re 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 doesn’t admire Hitler the way the Arab world does. I realize that Hitler’s 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 wouldn’t have these problems!!" As your PR advisor, you’re 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. It’s 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 you’ve 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 Iraq’s money. But being seen as Saddam’s best buddy is extremely bad public relations.

This Arab Summit business didn’t 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 you’re as bad as they are. Or maybe it’s you who makes them look bad. Whatever.

Finally, the map business. You have repeated over and over for public consumption that you recognize Israel’s 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 can’t clean up your image and get someone to trust you, you’re 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 world’s 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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Copyright ©2002 Tom Barrett

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

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