As you may know, today the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated. Somehow, a lone assassin on a motorcycle shot Butto in her heavily-guarded vehicle before blowing himself up, killing more than 20 others. This incident brings to mind her doubts about the ruling government’s dedication to protecting its citizens and the sancity of its democratic process. Read her paper here.
Bhutto was marked for death by islamic terrorists and fundamentalists ever since her return to Pakistan in October, so its really no suprise that the terrorists suceeded. I can only hope that their success backfires on them; that instead of instilling fear or sympathy, this incident incites disgust. That instead of derailing the elections, it spurs the moderates and the faithful as well as Bhutto’s sympathizers towards the polls, to take away political power from the terrorists within and without the government. That instead of attracting people to their cause, they lose them. Only time will tell what the ultimate effect of Bhutto’s assassination will be.
Today, though, no one in the Western World is happy about this. This link decribes the US President’s reaction to the news, as well as the reactions of other US and World figures.
Bhutto was not a perfect civil servant: she was under suspicion of corruption upon her exile in 1996. But she was popular with the people and made a career of representing the poor and disenfranchised. Here, from the New York Times, is the political biography of this woman, reputed to be stubborn, ambitious, and impulsive, as well as idealistic, well-educated, and poltically savvy.
So, I want to finish this post with a general declamation against fundamentalists of all types: because of them and their nasty, violent thinking, the world is a terrible place, and will never be a good place so long as they succeed in cowing people with blood and fear. We need more people like Bhutto, as imperfect as she may have been, to stand up against fundamentalism and tactics of terror and dominance. So long as one shall stand, there will be hope for us all.
Bhutto gave her life fighting for democracy and democratic reforms, and for that reason, I will mourn her death, and hope it will not be in vain.
Afterword: I strongly encourage you to read HeartsinSanFransisco’s tribute to Bhutto here. Hearts describes Bhutto’s history, policies, and ambitions in a way I had not been able to find elsewhere. Thank you, Hearts!