Friday, December 28, 2007

Death of a Shero

(Photo Credit: Ahmad Masood/Reuters; the coffin bearing Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, 12/27/07)

Tragically, my friends, the Benazir Bhutto death watch, begun in Roxie's World when the former prime minister returned to her country in October despite threats to her life, ended Thursday with Bhutto's assassination in Pakistan. We mourn the loss of this brave woman and deplore the misguided policies of the United States that contributed so much to the instability in Pakistan. (For our previous commentary on Bhutto, click here, here, and here.)

NYT obit is here. Times slideshow of highlights of her life is here. Coverage of the assassination is here. And here is Bhutto in her own words, blogging this fall on Huff Po about her risky decision to return to Pakistan. Here is some of what she had to say then:
I long ago realized that my personal life was to be subjugated to my political responsibilities. When my democratically elected father, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was arrested in 1977 and subsequently murdered, the mantle of leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party, our nation's largest, nationwide grassroots political structure, was suddenly thrust upon me. It was not the life I planned, but it is the life I have. My husband and children accept and understand that my political responsibilities to the people of Pakistan come first, as painful as that personally is to all of us. I would like to be planning my son's move to his first year at college later this month, but instead I am planning my return to Pakistan and my party's parliamentary election campaign.

I didn't choose this life. It chose me.

Words fail us. Pray for peace, beloveds. And work like hell to make it happen.


  1. Roxie, though I am not surprised this happened, I still can hardly believe it. What a loss for all humanity this is. How cowardly our government has been. Thank you for this post, which honors a great and magnificent woman. And today we have seen an aide for one Democratic candidate for President trying to tar the only woman running for President, and then the candidate defending his aide.

    Benazir Bhutto's death is not about that candidate, and fortunately the woman running for the Presidency knows that and chose simply to honor and pay her respects to this amazing woman. As you said in one of your posts about Benazir Bhutto, maybe we should give women a chance to run the world. In what's happened in the awful aftermath of this tragedy, the woman certainly has her priorities in order. And so I follow Hillary Clinton's lead: "I am profoundly saddened and outraged by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a leader of tremendous political and personal courage. I came to know Mrs. Bhutto over many years, during her tenures as Prime Minister and during her years in exile. Mrs. Bhutto's concern for her country, and her family, propelled her to risk her life on behalf of the Pakistani people. She returned to Pakistan to fight for democracy despite threats and previous attempts on her life and now she has made the ultimate sacrifice. Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability, and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred, and violence.

    Let us pray that her legacy will be a brighter, more hopeful future for the people she loved and the country she served. My family and I extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and to the people of Pakistan."

    As one of her aides said about the other candidate's focus on Hillary Clinton rather than on this terrible, horrifying tragedy: "This is a time to be focused on the tragedy of the situation, its implications for the U.S. and the world, and to be concerned for the people of Pakistan and the country's stability."

    Amen. Thank you, Roxie, and thank you Hillary Clinton for keeping us focused on what is important. Yes, may Benazir Bhutto's legacy give her country and give the world a brighter, more hopeful future.

    In Peace, and with prayers that such madness will end. For that Possibility, we need leaders who put people, not themselves, first.

    I love you, Rox,

  2. Anonymous1:05 PM EST

    Thank you dear Roxie, for your brave, tender, comforting post!

    It's so hard to make sense out of tragedy. But I think it is not ultimately about gender, it's about prejudice and bigotry used to drive power-over agendas, whether that involves color, gender, religion, political philosophy, orientation, national origin, or whatever.

    We need to lead by example, to celebrate our tolerance, difference, diversity, each other's Possibility (as Goose says wonderfully), we need to lovingly celebrate each morning's innumerable chances -- that's the key to world and our own national recovery!



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