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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tribute to Benazir

I have always had some conflicted feelings about Benazir Bhutto. She always came across to me as a strong woman who spoke well and very eloquently but I always felt that there were truth to the allegations of corruption against her and always felt that she was most of all driven by power, the desire to rule and to be in control. The father to son or daughter family lines in India and Pakistan have always bothered me, I find it strange that in these two republics even opposition leadership pass through familial lines. There is something fundamentally very arcane and undemocratic about Nehru family three generations and now ready for the fourth controlling the Congress Party and similar with the Bhutto family and the People Party.

In Egypt after Nasser we as a nation, I think, have become so cynical that it will take few more generations before people ever allow themselves to love a leader for real again. Egyptians loved Nasser, well at least the vast majority did and after the 1967 disaster and all the scandals of his era and all the torture and corruption the idea of us ever trusting someone to that point again feels very unlikely! We in Egypt are most ashamed of being taken for fools, we are not naive, we know better and hence no more leader worship, never again! We look with scuff at those silly Asians who adore Bhutto or Gandhi or what have you, we are smarter than that, we know better, we are not fools, no more!

Yet, as I watch news reports from Pakistan and read about the mass sorrow over Bhutto's death I am more conflicted. This woman was certainly a very brave one, she knew the dangers, she knew she was a bigger enemy for the extremists and for the State / Junta than perhaps anyone else. She did not hide, she was out there with the people, her poor miserable nation, dirt poor and with no hope ..she was amongst them leaving her kids, her three relatively young kids away in Dubai while she did her thing in the dusty smelly villages and cities of Pakistan.

Was she power hungry? Perhaps! Was she corrupt? Very likely? Was she self serving? Probably! Did she deserve be a leader just because of her family name? Probably not!...But these are not the only questions to be asked! Benazir Bhutto could have had a much easier life, yes she was driven by some many different motives but she has always spoken out against extremism, always shown courage, exemplary courage in fact and for that she ultimately paid with her life!

May the sole of Benazir Bhutto rest in peace, may God forgive her and may God help her family cope with their loss and May God help the long suffering people of Pakistan and may the end day for this horrible extremism be near

December 29, 2007

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