Yesterday morning we were delighted to receive a first-hand account of Yasser Arafat’s last days that was passed on to us from Jillian Becker. I recognized Ms. Becker by name as the author of the pioneering 1984 book PLO: The rise and fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization. We posted the account she kindly forwarded to us in “Doesn’t sound like poisoning to us.”
Later in the day we heard from the estimable Michael Ledeen, who wrote suggesting that Jillian Becker had passed away a long time ago, that he knew Ms. Becker’s widower, that Power Line’s Jillian Becker might be the doppelganger of the deceased PLO expert, and that he loved Power Line — which made us feel a little better.
We felt even better when reader Rex Pilger found evidence that the author Jillian Becker seemed to have survived at least to this past January, when her column on Sylvia Plath appeared in the Scotsman: “This is not my Sylvia.” Pilger reasonably asked: “Is Jillian Becker still alive? What is a long time ago?”
We raised our hopes when we checked the date of Jillian Becker’s recent book on Sylvia Plath. In May 2003 St. Martin’s published Ms. Becker’s memoir of Sylvia Plath: Giving Up: The Last Days of Sylvia Plath. Dr. Ledeen then wrote us last night saying that his memory might be playing tricks on him, and we concluded with “the definitive word…from C.E. Geber, who says his mother, Jillian Becker, is very much alive.”
In our post yesterday, we referred to Sir John Falstaff, the memorable sidekick of Prince Hal in Shakespeare’s history plays. We conclude on a note of Shakespearian comedy with this delightful message from the real Jillian Becker:
Many thanks for your email, for posting my contribution, and for your kind comment about me. I’ve been greatly entertained by the discussion of whether or not I am still alive. I think I am. I did indeed write THE PLO: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION. C.E.Geber is truly my child, but my daughter not my son. I would like to know who my widower is or might be, as all three of my husbands are dead.
Blessings on all my fans, critics and obituarists!