Friday, December 28, 2007

Loss in Pakistan

On my way to work yesterday, NPR announced that former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated.  My first reaction was sadness; I knew that she was a groundbreaking figure – the first female leader of a Muslim nation.  But I didn’t want to write a post here without giving it more thought.  What do I really know about this person?  Very little, actually; as a typical American, I feel that I am pretty ignorant on many world affairs.  I know Bhutto had been in exile and had recently come back to her country to run in the upcoming election, and that she was having a public battle with President Pervez Musharraf, but that’s about all I knew…  And now, even after a full 24 hours of constant news updates and a little research, I still don’t feel I have a full understanding of her role in the history and future of Pakistan.  Some sources talked about charges of corruption during her term in office, but was this just her opposition trying to cast doubts on her abilities as a female leader?  She was extremely well-educated, pro-democracy, and seemingly well-liked by her people.  She was brave – she knew that returning to Pakistan would be risky, but she came anyway.  But I’ve also read that she was supportive of the Taliban when they initially took over Afghanistan…  So rather than pretend I know all, I’m going to give a nod to the late Bhutto, and charge myself with yet another new year’s resolution – to be less “American” and more in tune with what’s happening in the rest of the world…

The latest news is that the suicide bomber that shot at Bhutto before killing himself was a linked to Al Qaeda, but this has yet to be confirmed.