Friday, December 28, 2007

Bhutto Killing

Just before Christmas, there was a rally in the small Sicilian town of Corleone against the Mafia. Corleone used to be the home of the Italian Mafia and Mario Puzzo even used the name as the surname of his fictional Mafia family in "The Godfather". Now, however, people are sick of the Mafia in Corleone and, young people in particular, want a Mafia free life. Their idealism is encouraging, but when we see the terrible things that happen in the Balkans, Iraq, the states of the former Soviet Union and Pakistan we should realize that the Mafia is a state of mind rather than an actual place and that it is by no means limited to Italy and America. The levels of lawlessness currently consuming Pakistan are extreme even for that bloody nation and the latest outrage has been the assassination of former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto.

It is difficult to believe that Bhutto and her husband Ali Zardari were totally innocent of the corruption charges that dogged them so persistently and caused the early termination of both Bhutto's spells as PM. At a conservative estimate, the Bhutto fortune is said to be over a billion US dollars and Zardari was famous during his wife's tenure in office for awarding contracts on the basis of kickbacks. It is impossible that Benazir Bhutto knew nothing of this: either she was actively involved with her husband's shady activities, or was complicit in her silence. Either way, it is clear that Bhutto was a woman with a fierce sense of pride and a genuine sense of destiny concerning her own right to direct the political destiny of Pakistan. Bravely, she returned when it would have been easier to enjoy her vast wealth in exile--and now she has paid the price.

Benazir Bhutto was a courageous woman and belonged to the genus of superstar politicians. She was never supposed to be successfully assassinated: near misses were all part of the Bhutto myth, but somehow the idea that a single suicide bomber could confound all that prestige and privilege never seriously occurred to anyone. Once again we are reminded of the fragility of life and how (to quote another victim of the bullet, John Lenin) life is something that happens to you "while you're busy making other plans".


Anonymous ely said...

A terrible tragedy

3:47 AM  

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