Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bhutto Assassinated

I woke up on Thursday to the news that Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated. I’m not Pakistani, I have no connection to that nation, yet I still felt a sense of loss. Her death is a reminder of how a single event can affect the entire world.

In the two days since, I have read a number of articles about her, some elevating her to martyr’s status, others not so flattering – pointing out the charges of corruption tainted her two terms as Prime Minister, and even suggesting she was a far better self-promoter than she was a national leader. The truth, as usual, is probably somewhere in between. But one thing that can’t be disputed is her bravery – her willingness to run for office against a military dictator, and to persist without adequate security even after a failed suicide attempt is remarkable.

It is a good lesson for those of us in America, to see the commitment some people have to the idea of democracy. Right now presidential candidates are criss-crossing Iowa, but what is the worst calamity they face? Indigestion from one too many pot-luck dinners? Cramps from shaking too many hands? It’s important sometimes to see what people in other countries have to endure to represent their people or simply for the right to vote.
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