07 November 2004


Is Yasser Arafat surrounded by teams of doctors who can't diagnose....or official aides who are compulsive liars?

Yasser Arafat, the 75-year-old leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, has been sick since two weeks ago, and has been brought from the West Bank of Ramallah to a French military hospital for better diagnosis and treatment of an unknown but "curable" condition."

Since that time, I can't figure out why world media is full of varied accounts of his true condition.

First, there were reports of him "vomiting and slipping in and out of consciousness," then reports of "a bad flu," then possible "viral infection or some type of poisoning," then "problems with his digestion," then an "abnormal blood count, high white blood cell count, and low platelet count" but no leukemia, then reports of him "following with close attention the climax of the US presidential elections," then that CNN story saying he was "being kept alive by machines while French, Israeli and Egyptian officials negotiate with his family and aides over where he should be buried," then the denial that he was comatose, then they said "he was hovering between life and death," then reports again of him "stable and not worrying," and "not in a coma but remained in intensive care after undergoing more medical tests."

Announcements and announcements and denials and denials afterwards.

I bet Arafat's doctors are not as incompetent as they project themselves to be, but that his aides are liars. What's the point of not telling the truth? As it is, the more confusion they sow, the more doubts about Arafat's health will continue to circulate.

I am reminded about how Ferdinand Marcos also evaded questions about his health during the dying years of his reign.

The Medpundit speculates that since Arafat looks "looks jaundiced, his face emaciated, but his belly bulging," she bets that Arafat might be suffering from liver metastasis from cancer. Cancer of what? Heck, nobody knows.

What's with leaders who can't seem to admit that they're gravely ill?

I think it's the El Cid Syndrome. There's no such syndrome...yet. I just coined that after the legendary story of El Cid himself, who, after being dead and all, his aides mounted on a horse with sword and shield to frighten the invading armies storming his kingdom.

In essence, this is "putting up a face" in the midst of certain death. I do not know if it helps anyone. For me, painful or not, the truth has always been the best recourse.

Nobody believes Arafat is not gravely ill. On the contrary, the voluminous conflicting health reports only confirm the seriousness of his true health condition.

More juicy speculation here.

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