Friday, December 28, 2007

Bhutto: Recognizing a Woman-Warrior

From Thinkery:

Her assassination is certainly a blow to many women around the world. And it is indeed partly about conservative interpretations of Sharia and killing a woman who might rise to power for a third time, but that’s not all of it. It’s also about killing the most visible remnant of the Bhutto political dynasty and assigning her the same fate accorded her father and brothers decades ago. It’s about killing the most visible current proponent of democracy in Pakistan. It’s about killing a visible representation of Westerness. It’s about the whole messy, bloody, inscrutable knot of religion and politics and people who want their own vision for their country to come to pass. The clash between politics and religion is not so different from America, especially over the past decade. We like to think we wouldn’t be so violent, really, and maybe we’re not, except for when we come close.

I’m no expert on Pakistani politics and Benazir Bhutto was no saint. The pundits rumbling on about her government’s flaws and the many charges of corruption seem determined to focus on that. Certainly we should be remembering that, but we should also remember that hardly anyone is all good or all bad. As far as I could tell in the very short time we were in the same room together, Bhutto was a politician to her core. But she was also strong, blazingly intelligent, persuasive, and determined. With her background, she could have taken academic posts and remained safely ensconced in some western ivory tower or another. She knew she was being hunted. But she decided to live a different life and, further, to push for a different sort of life for the country she loved. There’s a lot to admire there.

Read the rest here.

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