Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto, rest in peace

Benazir Bhutto, age 54, was the first female to lead a Muslim country, automatically making her a heroine to many. They said on the news this morning that she was "larger than life." Her assassination is not so different from that of JFK in terms of the lasting political ramifications, and the "what ifs" that her absence from the world scene will inevitably bring up---for many years to come. This is a woman who was seen as the next great hope for Pakistan, a woman who very likely would have become Prime Minister in January. And you have to admire her, as someone who just returned from exile this very year, whose defiance and strength was probably her greatest asset and weakness, whose life has been threatened many times over, and yet who continued to push forward despite it all.

The New York Times called her death "the latest blow to Pakistan's treacherous political situation." Bhutto's death is a blow Pakistan, and a blow to the world. Dennis Kucinich said this morning: "This is a very dangerous moment for the world. The United States must change its policy direction in the region. It must stop adding fuel to the fire."

If you're not already unsettled by the instability in the region, and if you don't already think the U.S. needs to seriously assess our foreign policy in this region, get ready for the media blitz that's to come here. And just when our own candidates are lacing up their boots for heavy combat. This is tragic news, and it's world-changing news. I'm already thinking of what could have been, and about how fragile and precarious our world is, and trying to ward off that sick combination of sadness and fear that feels a lot like hopelessness.


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