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Collective amnesia seems the order of the day as Ariel Sharon's health takes a serious turn for the worse, writes Ramzy Baroud*
The mainstream media's lionising of the fatally ill Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could only be compared to that of great men and women of past years. The hundreds of endearing commentaries, venerating news reports and glorifying television programmes -- massively sprung in the wake of his unexpected stroke on Wednesday, 4 January -- makes it doubtless that only a legacy like that of Mother Teresa can match Sharon's "towering" stature, "larger than life" persona and selfless "sacrifices" for peace.
The bashful attempts by some to balance the media's gross misrepresentations of Sharon went largely unheard. The man's direct, and indirect, involvement in tormenting the Palestinian people for 50 long years seemed completely irrelevant. Sharon's disregard for civilian lives since his early years as a fighter for the Jewish underground terrorist organisation the Haganah (1948-49), and his role as commander of an infamous army unit responsible for several massacres (most remembered is the brutal murder of 69 defenceless villagers in Qibya in 1953) seemed an extraneous nuisance.
Also to be dropped from the narrative was the list of relentless war crimes which took place throughout the 1950s and 1960s (during Israel's wars with Egypt), late 1970s (during Sharon's bloody reign in Gaza), the 1980s (his contemptible war and massacres in Lebanon) and most recently with the advent of the second Palestinian uprising in September 2000; one that he provoked and antagonised through his misguided policy of assassinations and a reckless, confrontational visit to the site of Jerusalem's most holy Islamic shrine. Since his election to serve as Israel's prime minister in 2001, Sharon supplemented his notorious resume with the liquidation of several thousand Palestinian lives.