Friday, December 28, 2007

OMG... Bhutto assassinated

Just watching CNN news now after a last minute channel surf on Sky News before turning in made me realise the breaking news that Benazir Bhutto was killed today. I could hardly believe it. Just two months ago I blogged about Bhutto's triumphant return to Pakistani politics, and granted one week later her tour bus was bombed, but somehow that attempt on her life didn't register as a real threat, what with all the Western eyes on the upcoming January elections in Pakistan, the recent lifting of the state of emergency, and Musharraf giving up his army post.

(I can't believe CNN's Larry King Live interviewed that muppet Rudy Giuliani just now for a whole feckin' 8 minutes when he has neither links to Bhutto nor indeed anything to do with Pakistani politics! It's completely distasteful how he tried to make political capital out of his so-called foreign policy experience in this brief interview even as he claims it's inappropriate to do so in his next breath! The other U.S. presidential candidates that came on, Edwards and Obama, did only slightly better, in that they focused a little more on the big picture of tackling worldwide terrorism rather than simply their own foreign policy expertise/experience [or lack thereof] per se. The inward focus of U.S. media and politicians on world events is disappointing, but not unexpected, though I cannot believe they didn't get Hillary Clinton on at all... perhaps because she could have made political capital out of the fact that Bhutto was a strong female leader and CNN didn't want to allow Clinton that comparison?)

The Murdoch-owned Sky News ran a breaking news ticker at the bottom stating that "FBI: Al Queda claimed responsibility for Bhutto murder" when actually no groups has as yet claimed any responsibility for her assassination, and many of her grassroot supporters blamed Musharraf for her murder. The latter theory has more traction when one considers that Rawalpindi, where the assassination occured, is a military garrison town just outside Islamabad, where official security is meant to be tightest. And according to an e-mail written by Bhutto to her friend just before her death, cited by CNN, she wrote that, "Nothing will, God willing, happen. [...] if it does [...] Musharraf would have been responsible."

The second CNN interviewee, Dan Rather, recalled his interview with Bhutto previously, and talked about how she had a "real and present sense of danger of going to Pakistan". When asked about comparing Benazir to other world leaders, Rather answered that, "Her potential was unlimited before her death". Another interviewee, Arianna Huffington (of Huffington Post), who was a contemporary of Benazir Bhutto when they were college students in England (Benazir was President of the Oxford Union while Arianna was President of the Cambridge Union), recalled Bhutto's "brilliance" and "fearlessness" and how her "sense of destiny" of leading Pakistan was there from the very beginning.

It's a little comfort to her supporters, I guess, that the worldwide response to Bhutto's death was of shock and regret, of world leaders like Gordon Brown and George Bush condemning the assassination as a "cowardly act" and a "sad day for democracy" in Pakistan. Photos are published on the front-pages of newspapers of Benazir Bhutto electioneering from the open sun roof of the car 30 seconds before she was killed. She died doing something she believed in. She remains an inspiration.

R.I.P.
Benazir Bhutto
1953 - 2007

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