Friday, January 07, 2011

Benazir Bhutto And Her Commitment To Democracy?

By Shahid R. Siddiqi. Axis of Logic, Jan 5, 2011
 
Editor’s Comment: December 27, 2011 was the 3rd anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and Shahid R. Siddiqi updates the essay he wrote for publication on Axis of Logic on the second anniversary of her death.

Associated Press of Pakistan reported Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani’s words on this third, sad anniversary. Gilani told the Pakistani people that the life of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is “a classic study of courage, commitment towards people’s welfare, and steel like determination to accomplish the goals she set before herself.” The PM continued, calling Bhutto “an incarnation of steadfastness, perseverance and determination.” He said that her name would be “chronicled in golden words in the annals of history.”

It is curious to consider how difficult it is for human beings to speak in plain language and write honestly about the dead. Notions of “honoring the dead” seem to compel most to ignore or paint over the wrongs committed by them when they were alive. It’s a sin of kindness that can be easily forgiven in personal and family atmospheres where loved ones suffer loss and are in need of comfort. But when the person who dies is a public figure such as a head of state with great responsibility for many people, it is important to look honestly at the life lived, service rendered, values exemplified and decisions made. It’s important to measure the gains and failures wrought by that life for the historical record and for lessons to be learned by others. Shahid Siddiqi has done just this on the second and third anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s death.
- Les Blough, Editor
Benazir Bhutto was assassinated
three years ago, December 27, 2007
South Asians are sentimental people. Over the centuries, their romanticism about revered religious deities and historical social icons has shaped their psyche of nurturing personality cults. To this when you add pervasive illiteracy and ignorance about political realities of the present times, it is not difficult to understand why some political leaders have managed to achieve their meteoric rise to power merely on the strength of their charisma.

For lack of substance, such political heroes did not last very long. They owed their fall to incompetence in management of the affairs of the state and misuse of power and often met violent fate. Their warts were posthumously removed by their hangers-on who, for their own self aggrandizement, transformed them into martyrs, clearing the way for their dynasties to rule after them. Those who survived, ensured that their parties became more like their personal “jageers” where they were surrounded by sycophants and succeeded by immediate family members.

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