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Don’t Cry for Her, Rawalpindi January 14, 2008

Posted by voolavex in Uncategorized.
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I have been watching the events unfold in Pakistan and it makes me wish I were in Spain or even better, Mars.
I find the death of Benazir Bhutto disgusting.  I find the Pakistani government’s “take-out menu” causes of death an insult to her life.  I think it hardly matters at this point what made her dead. She is out of the race. The revolving theories of the murder only make Pakistan look more confused than it already seems to be.  I think Benazir was a sincere idealist and probably the best hope for Pakistan at this point – but her violent death was in the cards – no matter how they try to spin the cause – she was marked the day she set foot on back on Pakistani soil.  The culpable killers have only strenghthened her cause and made her a martyr – don’t cry for her, Rawalpindi, – she has not left you.
As it happens I had just finished a well-written, but tedious biography of Jinnah by Stanley Wolpert  when this assassination occurred.  Ms. Bhutto’s wish for democracy and freedom in that country , bravehearted and genuine they may have been, are about as realistic as Muhammad Jinnah’s when he all but forced the British and the Indians into creating Pakistan in 1947.  Religious constituencies are not a natural breeding ground for democracy.  It is not written in the holy books nor has it ever been practiced successfully in the world to my knowledge.  Fundamentalists are driven by something so visceral and unstoppable that the thought of relinquishing Godly control to the ideas of free choice and free will simply doesn’t seem to coincide.  As Jinnah got older and more frustrated with first the Raj, then Gandhi and Nehru – his demands for a separate Islamic “democracy” called Pakistan became more and more shrill and desperate.  He had spent his entire adult life as an Anglophilic barrister – he was admitted to the Inns of Court in 1893, passed the bar, joined Lincoln’s Inn and headed back to Bombay to practice the Indian adaptation  of English Common Law. He espoused the desire for a free India for some time but gradually found himself, after some years,  not in the cause of Indian freedom to swaraj (self rule) – but to some misbegotten idea that Muslims in India would be nothing more than second class citizens if they joined the Quit India movement – thus setting the stage for yet another Muslim homeland (how many are there now?). With his elegant dress and speech it is hard to imagine Mr. Jinnah being treated as a second class anything. Yet, he envisioned a place where Muslims would live in freedom and democracy and where the practice of any religion would be allowed.  I think the Muslims of India should have reconsidered his plan.  From the heartbreaking day of Partition until this very moment – Pakistan has been a nation without a nationality. I have no doubt, nonetheless, that Mr. Jinnah’s vision inspired Ms. Bhutto.
There will more death and more rhetoric.  Bush will talk himself into his usual smirking, imbecilic platitudes and mention the war on terror as often as he can. The 2008 candidates will  swarm on it like rats at a landfill and for the foreseeable future, Pakistan will be the center of the world. Keep watching.  It’s between Afghanistan and India.
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