Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Is Dead

As the story of her murder (I hate the word 'assassination'. It glamourizes something ugly.) unfolds, someone either shot her and then blew himself up, or shot at her car and then blew himself up. Either way, she's dead. As leaders go, there was very little to recommend her. She was important for what she was, not who she was. She had been the leader of her country twice, and each time she was removed from office on charges of corruption and incompetence. She denied that corruption and her supporters blamed her husband, knick-naming him "Ten Percent", but international investigators estimate the two got away with at least 1.5 billion US. She also denied knowing anything about the military's efforts to build a nuclear bomb or the rise of the Taliban, but, again, the evidence was against her. She personally negotiated with North Korea to exchange Pakistan's nuclear technology for North Korea's missile technology. And it was under her watch that the Taliban were created by the Pakistan Intelligence services. The resulting treatment of women under Taliban's regime tarnishes Bhutto's legacy by its association, but it is still important to remember that, more than any other woman leader, her gender is an important part of her legacy. Throughout the West, Islam, and especially traditional Islam, is characterized by its mistreatment of women. Pakistan, a nation defined by Islam, nevertheless elected this woman as their leader. Twice.

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