I often wonder why certain world events stand out to me, why some strike me deeper than others. Benazir Bhutto’s assassination yesterday is one of those events. On the surface my interest has piqued alongside the recent pop culture focus on the region including Khaled Hosseini’s heart wrenching book A Thousand Splendid Suns and the surprisingly comedic yet ultimately tragic storyline of the film Charlie Wilson’s War. Though both focus on Afghanistan’s tumultuous past, that country’s link to Pakistan then and now is undeniable.
But Bhutto’s assassination takes me back more than twenty years when she was the first democratically elected woman of an Islamic country. For a young politically active woman I was enchanted by her poise, her courage, and her place in history. Watching her fall from grace through years of political corruption and exile mirrored my own disenchantment with American politics and election fraud, most notably following the 2000 election. Although I know Bhutto’s return to Pakistan was not hailed by all of its citizens, she still represents what democracy could mean in a country now ruled by a general who took power by military coup. Her return mirrored my own hope, paired with the upcoming election for a new American president, that either a woman or a minority could legitimately be elected to lead our country.
One can only hope. I can only hope.
(photo – New York Times)