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The Blood of Arafat


There are reports that Yasser Arafat died from a blood disorder. His death, and in particular these reports, reminds me of a strange photograph that flew across the wires a couple days after Sept. 11. In it, Arafat was giving blood at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, arm outstretched and primed with a green tourniquet, needle in vein, blood flowing into a vial that would soon be en route to New York City. His donation would become part of what was quickly becoming a vast stockpile of blood for survivors who were thought and hoped to be clinging to life under the collapsed towers. I was in New York that day, and I remember studying the image and wondering about all the buckets of blood he himself had spilled. The more I looked at the photo, the more it seemed as if he was wondering about the same thing.

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