Dec 28, 2007

My goodness...

... Two-time Pakistani Prime Minister Benezir Bhutto has been assassinated.

What a terrible, terrible thing. Bhutto had her flaws, for sure, but certainly didn't deserve to be shot in the head by a suicide bomber who then blew himself up, killing at least 15 others.

It's such a powerful word, assassination. It's murder, cold-blooded and calculated. But the "political celebrity" of the victim (for want of a better phrase) lends it extra-strong texture, as you spit the "s" sounds out of your mouth.

The thought of murder brings fear, but the thought of assassination brings something else. Perhaps a different kind of fear, the fear of those people who would think it an achievement, even an honour, to take out political leaders. The fear of political uncertainty that could follow.

I'm not sure what it is. But it's more complex that just the basic fearful response to your plain, run-of-the-mill, garden variety murder. It's not just "I don't want this to happen to me"; it's "I don't want this to happen in my country, to my leaders - no matter how much I hate and despise them".

I fear for Pakistan - a country that is vital in the fight against extremist Islam. My great-aunt Monnie has lived and worked in Pakistan for over four decades, since marrying my late uncle Taj. She's done so much work with the Girl Guides movement - I hate to think of those girls now, perhaps terrified that an intelligent, forceful female leader could be gunned down like a dog. Those girls need to be strong now, if they're to continuing playing a role in creating a truly egalitarian Pakistan - which is something I know my Aunt Monnie has been working towards.

Vale, Benezir Bhutto. She joins the ranks of JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Yitsak Rabin and all the other leaders who've died simply because someone hated them enough to think murder was worth it.

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