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Sunday, January 27, 2008


George Habash dies

George Habash was the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-Leninist, secular, nationalist Palestinian group. In all the obituaries in today's papers, only the New York Times manages to explain that context to its readers, even while trumpeting the title "Palestinian Terrorism Tactician" in its headline. AP (and the Washington Post which ran the AP story), Reuters, and AFP all manage to describe Habash as a "radical" and in some cases as a "revolutionary," but studiously avoid the words "Marxist" and "secular" (wouldn't want to confuse the "radical Islamist" storyline). The Los Angeles Times managed one quick reference to "nationalist" and "Marxist," but quickly moves on.

Some excerpts from the New York Times article:

Mr. Habash remained a determined Marxist who continued to denounce Arab governments he felt were too closely aligned with the West and Palestinian leaders he suspected were ready to make concessions to Israel. In an interview in 1970, he remarked that he would not accept money from Arab countries that "stink of American oil," and he frequently argued that victory over Israel would only come when the traditional Arab governments had been replaced with revolutionary regimes.

The struggle of the Front, he said, was "not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants" of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, "must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class."

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