RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack. Her death threw the campaign for critical Jan. 8 parliamentary elections into chaos and stoked fears of mass protests and violence across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.Some observations: One wonders what the U.S. response to this is going to be. And what it would be if Pervez Musharraf were not our "ally in the war on terror."
At least 20 others were also killed in the attack on a campaign rally where the 54-year-old Bhutto had just spoken.
Her supporters erupted in anger and grief after her death, attacking police and burning tires and election campaign posters in several cities. At the hospital where she died, some smashed glass and wailed, chanting slogans against President Pervez Musharraf.
And there's always the thought that if this had happened in a country in Africa, no one in America would know.
I also find this oddly chilling.
"The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred," Bhutto's lawyer Babar Awan said.Emphasis mine.
This sort of political instability in a country that is our "ally" in a war on whatever always makes me think we're going to be demonizing them in the next decade. See also: Afghanistan, Iraq.
*added* Problem Chylde has a good link roundup.
Also, I'm annoyed at myself that I never really knew that much about Bhutto. The impulse when someone is murdered in such a horrific way (and, if I may add, cowardly way -- what's the matter, couldn't face the consequences of your actions? Had to blow yourself up after you shot an unarmed woman in the neck?) is to romanticize them. But I think it's possible to avoid that without being disrespectful to someone's memory or loved ones. However, I can't really judge the accuracy of the reporting as I ashamedly don't know much about the woman.
I've heard at least one person from Pakistan say they wouldn't have voted for her, which kind of makes me wonder if she was a polarizing Hillary Clinton-type figure. And I found the bloviating on MSNBC this morning (I swear, I watch that just to get off on being angry) about how hopes for democracy in Pakistan are over kind of, well, disagreeable. I'm sure the people of Pakistan are capable of overcoming. I think the real threat to democracy might be the guy who keeps declaring states of emergency and suspending their constitution, rather than a murdered woman.
I don't know. I think I'm having trouble coalescing my thoughts on this. Must be the toddler-related sleep deprivation. I guess I'll just shut my uneducated American mouth now, and read up on recent Pakistanian political history.
(Edited a bit to make my late-night ramblings less incoherent.)