Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Excellence of Arik

In a first-rate column in today's Times, Thomas Friedman explains why Arik Sharon should go down as one of the great men in history:
There are not many 77-year-old leaders who not only acknowledge that one of their greatest projects in political life was wrong and posed a dire threat to the future of their people, but then also risk their remaining lives and political careers to reverse it.... Leadership is not what you do to the other side. That's always easy. It is what you say to your own. Looking your own people in the eye and saying, in deeds if not words, "I was wrong. We have to reverse course" - now, that's leadership.
The title of the piece, fittingly, is Wanted: An Arab Sharon and it concludes by arguing that it is time for another Anwar Sadat or King Hussein, an Arab leader willing "to look their peoples in the eye and tell them the campaign to destroy Israel was over." If you find yourself unable to imagine an elderly Arab leader making that gesture than you understand the greatness of Sharon.