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Remembering Ariel Sharon and his legacy

Ariel Sharon, a former Israeli militaryan and politician, died Saturday (1/11/14) in Israel ( His death came after being in a coma for eight years, that was brought on by a stroke.

Ariel Sharon, or Arik to his friends, was born in 1928 in Israel and was involved in its oath to statehood and every military conflict in its short life. He was responsible for changing the outcome of the 1972 Yom Kippur war by disregarding a direct command and pursuing his own military strategy (

He then pursued a political career and served as Defense Minister from 1981 - 1983 and Prime Minister from 2001 - 2006. It was during his tenure as Defense Minister that he was involved in the most controversial incident on his life. He was found indirectly responsible for the massacre of Palestinians in disputed areas near the West Bank and also authorized increased settlement if Jewish pioneers in those regions.

While many leaders are lauding him as a great leader who later sought peace and worked to eliminate those controversial settlements and talk peace, others are not so forgiving. Many Arab leaders are celebrating his death as justice; others are merely mourning his passing in a benign manner, ostensibly to be diplomatic.

While there are certainly political ramifications, it would be interesting to consider this man's life and career from a psychological perspective. Without passing judgment, consider the emotional and mental state of such a person.

He had a very interesting life and saw a lit of extremes. He watched six.million of his people brutally massacred; he was involved in the birth of a nation; he fought in four wars; he was instrumental in he leadership of his country.

Most of us might see this from a neutral point of view, merely looking at his involvement dispassionately. Consider, however, the impressions these inciswincidents would leave on him.

Seeing his people attacked in so many different venues would almost certainly create some harsh feelings. In our own country we have heard often about the extreme emotional challenges of our veterans returning from war. Mr. Sharon might ptobably be dealing with the same or similar issues.

It is conceivable that these feelings would play a role on his perception as apolitical leader. Perhaps these feelings colored his controversial decisions in dealing with the indigent Arabs in thoae particular conflicts. Nevertheless, he was able to apparently overcome any alleged feelings and seek peace later in his life with his former enemies.

It is also interesting to note that despite the outrage of the 1982 massacre, he was still able to continue his political career and achieve the highest political office in his country. This may speak for the feelings of the Israeli people themselves.

One might surmise, then, that the majority if the Israeli people themselves either felt he was an appropriate leader with appropriate approaches, or enough time had elapsed from the incident and they had enough of a change to feel that he had their best intwrwts at heart.

Whatever the feelings of any leader or people, Mr. Sharon leaves behind an important legacy. He will be remembered for his accomplishments and his mistakes. Both History and particular people will make their own judgment.

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