By Ann Ivins
For who among us could presume to pity her?
Benazir Bhutto lived her life exactly as she believed: an idealist and a pragmatist, a fighter and a pacifist, a mother, a wife, and a leader of nations. She walked among her people while her opponents hid behind walls and guns.
Every political party in Pakistan, including Musharref’s, is under assault by religious extremists; suicide bombers attack almost every day, trading their pathetic, wasted lives for a shot at personal glory. They avoid the faces of the dead and the complexities of living in the real world, and they use an entirely human perversion of faith as their excuse.
Look at her killers. Look at her. Look at the people who lead us now and remember: evil is willing to kill for a cause. Good is only willing to die for one.
Thanks for putting something up about this. I don’t know the history of the various controversies that swirled around Bhutto as Prime Minister. For all I know they may all be true. But this was sad news for me when I heard it on the way into work this morning because Benazir Bhutto was one of the first three national leaders I became aware of as I was growing up, along with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
I remember looking at her and the (at the time) exotic way she dressed and being amazed. I vaguely remember wondering how it was that these small, backward countries like the United Kingdom and Pakistan could elect women leaders before the greatest and most equal country in the world, the United States, could. Did I mention that I was 15 when she was Prime Minister the first time?
In the excellent movie In the Line of Fire, the assassin Mitch Leary (played by John Malkovich) says that “all someone needs is a willingness to trade his life for the President’s,” a quote attributed to John F. Kennedy. In a world where there seems to be a veritable host of people so beaten down and brainwashed that they believe death to be preferable to living, and in a country riven by religious and tribal hatred, it was probably only a matter of time before Bhutto was assassinated by someone willing to trade their life for hers.
My heart goes out to all of her supporters and to the nation of Pakistan.
Thanks for the comment. She was not an innocent, certainly, in any sense of the word. The tangle of charges and countercharges will probably never be proven or disproven… and I can understand, at least intellectually if not viscerally, that generations of despair can create monsters where none might have existed in kinder circumstances.
But right now, on a very personal level, I have to believe that living and thinking and working every day is somehow worth more than a single violent statement of rage and frustration. Having watched her work for most of my life now, I can only hope that others will continue it, and that her supporters won’t waste this moment in bloodshed and revenge. I hope.
Hold on a minute. She may have demonstrated prodigious courage returning to Pakistan. But she was the last thing Pakistan needed.
This from London’s Times in September:
Just a note: Pakistan has both a Prime Minister and a President. The President is not only the head of state but also the commander-in-chief of the military, while the Prime Minister is mostly, but not always, the head of the largest party in power in the General Assembly and can essentially be fired by the president. She was, in fact. Twice. In general, I would be cautious about assigning ownership of the Pakistani government and its doings to one person.
She or her husband or her brothers or any one of her family may well have socked away millions in Swiss banks. Or not. Her deal with Musharref got her amnesty from prosecution – but she hasn’t had amnesty for the past decade.
I don’t know exactly what she may be guilty of. I don’t know exactly what Pakistan needs or doesn’t. But one thing I know it needs, as do all nations, is someone willing to actively participate in the bloody, messy, dangerous business of opposing a budding dictator and a military junta and religious extremists. She didn’t go in shooting – she made deals. She held rallies. She put herself out there. She courted votes. She was a politician, not a saint.
And if Pakistan ever gets to the point where power can be exchanged without bombs and riots, Benazir Bhutto may well have had something to do with that victory.
“Mrs Bhutto herself faces more than a dozen corruption cases relating to her time in office, including allegedly giving 800 of her supporters jobs at the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines. Amnesty International accuses her government of having one of the worldâ€™s worst records of custodial deaths, extrajudicial killings and torture.”
This is different from GWB how? The cronyism in this counrty under this administration (and the Bush family) is thick, thick ,thick. Now we’re using extroardinary rendition and torturing people. How many have died we probably will never know. But one thing there’s hardly anyone worse than Bush.
I was shocked when I heard the news today. I was a fan when young but did go off her. She was, however, I believe a stepping stone to democracy finding its way into a young nation called Pakistan. She was not the answer…but she pointed the way.
“…vaguely remember wondering how it was that these small, backward countries like the United Kingdom…”
I think not and just to remind even if it only be wikipedia:
Now, how to stop every culture, country and the rest of the world’s offpring feeding into the powerhouse that is the USA? Impossible…for now.
Long may the USA continue…and thanks also to those who feed her WITH THEIR YOUNG. Whether those young be tomato pickers, orange pickers, scientists, business men or grandparents-in-waiting.
Elaine – did you not see the fact that I was 15 at the time I thought that? I’m sorry, I thought I’d made it clear enough. No offense to the U.K. was intended in any way.
…just making sure.
FATWAH!!!! I declare jihad on Elaine, The Great Satan! 😉
She stood for nothing but herself and the enslavement of a nation. She has had many opposition people killed, even in her own family. she did absolutely nothing for the country during her time of powers. She did not stand for DEMOCRACY, people there are worried about daily life, food , clean water, and most of all an education, nobody there can really tell you what a functioning deomcracy is. As a ruling family she has enslaved the masses and contniued that to maintain her wealth, not to mention her husband (aka Mr. 10%) for his corrupt lifestyle. May god have mercy on her soul, but a traitor deserves no sympathy or respect.
When she came back tp Pakistan, I told my lovely wife that I had expected the odds to be 7:5 that she’d get whacked. This is one thing I’m not happy to be right about. I have a feeling that this might be like the Arch Duke in 1914.
Take a close look at your 401-K’s because the fallout of this is going to affect the market big time and that will equate to your retirement fund.