It is difficult to capture the absurdity of the events related to the impending death (or official announcent of the death) of Yasser Arafat. Matthew Kalman of the San Francisco Chronicle has the best account of the financial considerations: “Who will get Arafat’s millions?” The BBC has gone into mourning: “BBC reporter wept over Arafat.” And Arafat’s French fans have erected a makeshift shrine outside the French military hospital where the machines are working overtime to keep him breathing: “Shrine to Arafat grows outside French hospital.”
While Arafat is wildly popular in France, President Bush is loathed. In “Boy, do they hate Bush here,” Richard Chesnoff reports from Paris:
[N]o American President in recent history has been so vilified – especially by the Europeans. Even the 60th anniversary of the American-led D-Day invasion was cause for despicable attacks on Bush. One French magazine had the gall to question whether the American President should even come to Normandy for the anniversary celebrations.
Ironically, says pro-American French Parliamentarian Pierre Lellouche, Europeans “convinced themselves that President Bush was some sort of ‘temporary disease,'” something that would last one term.