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Ariel Sharon Dies After Eight Years in a ComaDr. James M. Wall Salem-News.com
Deprived of dignity, his body systems sustained by modern technology, Sharon lingered for eight years, largely forgotten by the world.
(CHICAGO) - Ariel Sharon died January 11, 2014, eight years and one week after he suffered a stroke January 4, 2006. At the time of his stroke, Sharon was the 11th Prime Minister of Israel. The stroke left him in a permanent, brain dead, vegetative state. It was not the final chapter of life a proud man could have wanted.
A medical blog described Sharon’s final years: ”With the help of modern medicine, his body soldiered on. His kidneys no longer worked, and he received dialysis to keep them operating. In 2013, he even underwent surgery to treat an infection related to his kidney failure”.
Deprived of dignity, his body systems sustained by modern technology, Sharon lingered for eight years, largely forgotten by the world. Ramifications of his legacy, however, remain very much alive in Israel. Sharon embodied and acted on the worst elements of intolerance, racism and greed a nation can embrace.
The impact of the path on which Sharon set Israel resulted in today’s self-imposed isolationism. Thanks to a the legacy of right wing leaders like Sharon, and Menachem Begin (shown together above in a 1967 photo) Israel has been unable to resist the impact of a boycott movement that has attacked Israel’s economy and undermined its world image.
As a demonstration of this isolation, no foreign leaders attended his final service, which was conducted Monday in front of the Knesset. The highest ranking world figure at the service was U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a politician with an eye on 2016, who appeared as concerned about Israel’s close bond to the U.S. as he was about Sharon.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was there, not as a public official, but as the staff director of the Quartet (the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia), itself a lingering, dying effort to sustain and monitor peace efforts between Israel and the Palestine Authority.
It is a measure of how far Israel has fallen in world esteem that when the assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was buried in 1995, a sitting U.S. President and two former U.S. presidents were in attendance. Egypt was the only Arab state to send a low level representative to Sharon’s service. The last eight years have not been good for either Israel or a comatose Ariel Sharon. If you read or look beyond the main stream media, It is not hard to see why.
Max Blumenthal sums up Sharon’s legacy for The Nation:
Months prior to his stroke, Sharon “stunned” the world by forcibly withdrawing 10,000 Israeli settlers (and their military protectors) from Gaza. “Stunned” is the word used by Israeli narrators and repeated endlessly by media sycophants. It paints Sharon as a strong leader willing to work for peace. The Gaza withdrawal was not stunning; it was a shrewd, calculating, strategic military move to end a Gaza occupation that was not benefiting Israel.
Eight years later, the “stunning” step has led to an open air prison, periodically attacked by the IDF in what might be correctly identified as a “stunning” silence by the rest of the world. The withdrawal was not magnanimous; it was a typical power play by Sharon which led to the situation today, writes Blumenthal, in which:
Sharon’s contribution to the future of Israel and the Palestinians provides Blumenthal with a metaphorical image he could not resist::
History will not recall Sharon with favor. Mainstream media feels compelled to refer to his career as “controversial”, a term even Joe Biden felt he had to reference in his otherwise laudatory funeral remarks. “Controversial” is media code word for “we know there is bad stuff out there but you did not hear it here”.
Juan Cole gives body to “controversial” when in his Informed Comment blog, he offers “Top Ten Ways Ariel Sharon Ruined Israel and the Middle East”. Number six is probably Sharon’s darkest career hour:
Raja Shehadeh (right) a Palestinian lawyer, novelist and political activist who lives in Ramallah, continues the story in a posting he wrote for The New Yorker:
This could have been the end of his political career. It was not. Shehadeh continues:
Avi Shlaim, (shown at right below) professor emeritus of international relations at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, is the author of Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations and The Iron Wall. He remembers Sharon this way in The Guardian:
Sharon’s legacy will long be a topic of “controversy”. The question remains, however, as to why Sharon was kept on life support for eight years and one week. That is a societal and finally, a theological, question, which every society needs to face:
Time‘s posting by Alice Park is appropriately entitled Life vs. Living: Lessons from Sharon’s Last Years in a Coma. It provides background for that discussion:
Please visit James Wall's Website, Wall Writings
Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at email@example.com. Visit Jim's Website: Wall Writings
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