Benazir Bhutto was the secular and democratically elected leader of Pakistan a couple of decades ago. The Pakistani military staged a coup and forced Ms. Bhutto out of the country. General Musharraf has been in charge of Pakistan and their nuclear weapons since that time. Ms. Bhutto had returned to Pakistan recently because it seems apparent that the country is ready to be done with General Musharraf as leader, either as a military strong man or as a leader elected through rigged elections. She is now dead.
Ms. Bhutto was hated by the fundamentalists in Pakistan in much the same way that Hillary is hated by the fundamentalists in the US. The hatred directed at a secular woman who has the temerity to try to wield power is frightening in its irrationality and deadly in its intensity.
Ms. Bhutto was also a target of the military juntas types in Pakistan. The generals in Pakistan believe they know best in much the same way that Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney believe they know best in our country. Democratic processes are belittled by this type of autocrat and the essential corruption of the autocratic system appears to be invisible to the autocratic eye.
Part of Ms. Bhutto’s legacy relates to her ability to succeed against the patriarchy. She could succeed, but not survive. I think our world is a potentially better place if women have the opportunity to lead as women, to manifest the nurturing female world view in world politics. The world is probably a better place even if women can simply have the opportunity to lead, to distance themselves from the kinder gentler world that might exist in the presence of an ascendancy of a matriarchy, but that’s a tougher sell to me.
The folks who really believe in the use of force, whether it is in the guise of self-defense, or the cold rationality of world economics, or the political application of fundamentalist politics, or the law and order of a strictly monitored and controlled society can kill us. Ms. Bhutto’s passing illustrates that fact. It remains to be seen if the politics of caring, the nurturing politics of a leader like Benazir can be driven to extinction.
I am feeling a little low today about the death of Benazir Bhutto.