A Remembrance of Benazir Bhutto

By Mark Siegel

For those of us who knew and loved Benazir Bhutto, not just as a great political leader but as an irreplaceable friend, the days between Christmas and New Years can never ring with joyous holiday spirit and celebration. December 27th is a dreaded day on the caledar of the people of Pakistan, democrats all around the world, and the family and friends of Benazir Bhutto. It is a day of remembrance, reflection, and inevitable thinking of what could have been had she lived to govern Paksistan once again.

To so many she was an icon but to me she was a friend, a colleague, an intellectual sparring partner, an aunt to my children and a soul mate to my wife. On top of all the great things that she had done, and the endless possiblities of what she could have accomplished had she lived, I genuinely miss her on a personal level.
Her courage is, of course, well known and appreciated. But I don’t think people fully understand the depth and quickness of her intellect, her extraordinary ability to aggregate and analyze data and then immediately apply knowledge to unfolding events.
I don’t think people can ever understand the selflessness of the woman, how she genuinely always put herself last and put her country first, sacrificing personal happiness and family. It was as if Asif was her second husband – Pakistan being her first. It was as if Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa had 170 million brothers and sisters vying for her attention.

She once said that she didn’t choose her life, that it chose her. She accepted this responsibility gracefully and stoicly not looking back to the life she might have had if history had not thrust the mantel of leadership of her party and her country upon her. The extent she sacrified for her country was always a source of amazement to me.
She was gifted with brilliance, the finest education on earth, great beauty, family wealth and a loving husband and adoring children. She could have had a beautiful, happy, productive and safe life anywhere in the world.

It was a choice that almost all of us would have jumped at. But she accepted a very different kind of life with grace and dignity and a courage that was almost super-human.
She was the modern face of Islam, dedicated to a pluralistic and open religion that embraced innovation and equal rights for women. She denounced the use of violence and terror without hesitation and without fear, in every continent in the world and in every province of Pakistan.

She was truly the Jihadists worst neightmare, everything they feared the most. For them, and for their allies that have battled democracy in Pakistan for decades, December 27th is a day of relief. For the rest of us, it is day of great pain and sadness. But for those of us who believed in Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and loved her, we cannot let those who took her life destroy her dream.

Her legacy must become our life’s work, of building a modern Pakistan that can lead Asia and the world in progress, innovation and quality of life for its people. That will make Shaheed Benazir Bhutto immortal.

Original article at:
http://www.thepakistanupdate.com/?p=425

16 Comments

Filed under Benazir Bhutto

16 responses to “A Remembrance of Benazir Bhutto

  1. Milind Kher

    Benazir was a charming and good lady who always had the courage to stand up for what she believed in.

    Being a woman and not very fluent in Urdu must have been a real challenge when it came to facing the orthodoxy, but she did it with panache.

    It was a genuine loss for Pakistan the day she was assassinated. Yet, she lives even in the hearts of Indians. Jiye, Benazir Jiye.

  2. Junaid

    She was truly the Jihadists worst neightmare, everything they feared the most. For them, and for their allies that have battled democracy in Pakistan for decades, December 27th is a day of relief. For the rest of us, it is day of great pain and sadness. But for those of us who believed in Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and loved her, we cannot let those who took her life destroy her dream.

    Most people in the west are not aware that it was her interior minister Blunder Ullah Babar who came up with the idea of creating the Taliban. They are just too much fixated with the idea “oh-a-woman-ruling-a-muslim-country-wow” syndrome and cannot look beyond their egoistic tunnel vision.

    So much so for that greatest nightmare for the jihadist.

  3. Her enemies are in fact the enemies of: Pakistan and its poor people, the democratic roots and the moderate forces who work to establish the democratic rule in this country. Her enemies hated her guts, her brilliance, her beauty and boldness. Above all, they hated the “message of empowerment of the poor” of which she was the forebearer; they couldn’t kill her message so they killed her – the messenger.

  4. yasserlatifhamdani

    What a great loss… for everyone.

    Junaid mian,

    There is no one as naive as you … the Jamaat e Islami apologist.

    Ofcourse Benazir Bhutto and her interior minister patronized the Taliban militia in the Afghan civil war but that was a conclusion that BB alone didn’t come to… there was a remarkable consensus between US, Pakistan, petroleum interests etc that Taliban could provide a third force that would bring law and order to chaos. In a way Taliban were our collective Uruk Hai …

    In retrospect it was a bad policy… but then had BB known what the Taliban intended to do… she would never have agreed to it. After all BB fell victim to the same Uruk Hai. At the time though Taliban did not seem any different from any of the other factions… though others like Zaid Hamid – yes the crazy guy- thought Ahmed Shah Masood was a better bet for the Pakistani state… (only on this was Hamid right)…

    Benazir Bhutto represented an empowered modern Pakistani Muslim woman – with all the flaws and criticisms – who had now come of age and there was a very real prospect of a genuine stateswoman… on 27th December, 2007 Pakistan lost out on its great hope…

    Let us recognize this… let us recognize the fact that the vacuum of Benazir Bhutto has weakened democracy and the cause of a modern democratic and pluralistic Pakistan.

    She was thus Jehadis’ worst nightmare… she stood head and shoulders above her own father in global stature, vision and sincerity of purpose.

  5. yasserlatifhamdani

    To use a hackneyed phrase… There is a Benazir-shaped hole in Pakistan’s heart…

  6. Milind Kher

    Nobody is perfect. I am sure that people will be able to find flaws in Benazir Bhutto too.

    However, I do believe that she was by far the best ruler that post Jinnah Pakistan had. And I agree that she was head and shoulders above ZAB.

  7. Junaid

    Junaid mian,

    There is no one as naive as you … the Jamaat e Islami apologist.

    Hahahah.

    Strong and bitter words indicate a weak argument.

    Try learning some manners.

  8. mohammad

    Common Pakistanis were saddened by BB’s assassination irrespective of their political social or religious affliction. She was an innate politician and well known personality all over the globe . On personal level I have nothing but admiration for her, at the same time I have strong reservations on her capability as a leader to understand let alone solve myraid of problems faced by the commonalty. Her party’s outdated manifesto, roti kapra aur makan at times seemed vacuous and boring irrelevant to contemporary social needs. While in power she appeased known terrorists with official protection and patronage, wonder if terrorists ever had a better time in Pakistan . Every one of up knows PP is genuine national political party with grass root support notwithstanding the fact its leadership never had party elections, had that happened Mir Murtaza Bhutto would have led PP, well that is my personal opinion. It is astonishing the author mentioned BB’s legacy no one in Pakistan ever heard of. May God bless her soul.

  9. yasserlatifhamdani

    Junaid mian,

    Indeed… the bitter words about why the “west” is naive for championing BB shows that you have a weak argument. Thanks for acknowledging it.

    Try reading more… because your comments smack of ignorance.

  10. Majumdar

    Milind babu,

    she was by far the best ruler that post Jinnah Pakistan had.

    No, that was Ayub

    Regards

  11. Milind Kher

    Majumdar Saheb,

    Two things.

    Firstly, he was a military dictator.

    Secondly, he led Pakistan to war with India, which surely damaged its interests.

  12. Mustafa Shaban

    @BB did support the Talibabn at one point of time and I dont see her as a Jihadi’s worst nightmare. My beleif is that she was asssasinated because she was defying the US as said by Seymour Hersh.

  13. Anwar

    For a nation so addicted to worshiping personalities, she indeed is a new idol. She had same Machiavellian genes as her father and a serious study of her governance will only show that she was a big fish in a small pond.

  14. Junaid

    @Anwar

    Very true.

    Is hammam me sab nange hain.

    Hope others will also have the foresight to comprehend the follies of our rulers.

  15. wajid

    Anwar:
    I hope that “serious study” would show some large sharks too, which were around this do called big fish.