Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

I guess it was only a matter of time. Benazir Bhutto, opposition politician in Pakistan, was assassinated earlier today, December 27, 2007 by a gunman who shot her in the the neck, and then exploded an IED, killing himself and about 2o people around him.

It sort of makes you thankful for the society you live in, not having to worry, for the most part, about such despicable acts of political violence, which have become an almost everyday thing in certain parts of the world, particularly central Asia. You almost expect that its going to happen, particularly in a country like Pakistan, with its unholy mix of Islamic extremism, military rule and general civil unrest.

Bhutto probably represented the best chance the country had for a turn towards stable democracy, but I guess that's too much to ask for in a region of the world that just doesn't seem to want to embrace democracy. I gather, with our "western bias", that our expectations are just too high for countries like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is an argument frequently used to advance the position that our militaries have no business interfering in the region. They just aren't ready, willing or able to embrace democracy in its western form. Human rights? Who needs them, when you can advance your agenda at the butt-end of an AK-47 or at the lit fuse of an improvised explosive device?

The fact that Bhutto was a woman is also of note. Here was someone who had a chance to make history, not only in potentially bringing something remotely resembling democracy to a country that has historically been in a constant taffee-pull between the forces of Islamism and military dictatorship, but also to be a female in a leader in a culture that has subjugated women.

It is, indeed, a sad day for democracy worldwide. (Hey I just heard Gordon Brown use these exact words on the news!)

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