Again, Why I’m Angry

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

Benazir Bhutto

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed at least 14 of her supporters, doctors, a spokesman for her party and other officials said.

Bhutto suffered bullet wounds in the aftermath of the bomb attack, TV networks were reporting.
[...]
Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital — less than two miles from the bombing scene — where doctors pronounced her dead.

Former Pakistan government spokesman Tariq Azim Khan said while it appeared Bhutto was shot, it was unclear if the bullet wounds to her head and neck were caused by a shooting or if it was shrapnel from the bomb.

The bomber detonated as he tried to enter the rally where thousands of people gathered to hear Bhutto speak, police said.

You fucking, fucking bastards. I am really too angry to do anything but curse at this point.

29 Responses

  1. Yeah. ::sigh:: I just heard.

    I don’t know whether Bhutto was a good person or not; those corruption charges may have been trumped-up, or maybe that’s just the way business has to get done in some countries. But it’s unbelievable, and horrific, that she should be killed this way. My guess? That some fundamentalist, whose beliefs are more Neanderthal tribal or political bullshit than truly Islamic, decided that she couldn’t be permitted to rule because she’s a woman.

    Why the flying frilly fuck are we allied with these people?!

  2. Why the flying frilly fuck are we allied with these people?!

    I don’t know, but I hope Clinton watches her ass, because we’ve got our own fundamentalists whose beliefs are more Neanderthal* than truly Christian, who might decide that she can’t be permitted to rule either because she’s a woman.

    I’ve heard people argue that dictators and religious regimes make better allies than democratic leaders because they are predictable and if they do turn on you you’ve always got a good “humanitarian” excuse for invading, so maybe we’re allied with them because they are fundamentalist explicative deleteds.

    *Not but that this is probably a slander against Neanderthals…

  3. Excuse my provencialism, above: I should explain that by “people” I meant “middle class and therefore moderately influential US-American voters”. I’ve never heard a non-American make the argument I mentioned, though I’m sure that there are plenty of Europeans, Australians, etc who are happy to throw citizens of third world countries under the bus in return for cheap oil or whatever too.

  4. ME too!

    Me TOO!

    I have had a stomach ache all day hearing about this. I can I say is I hope she faked her death and is in hiding but I doubt it-I knew they were gunning for her!

    DAMMIT!

  5. Dianne,

    I’ve heard the same about Obama; he had to get Secret Service protection earlier than most candidates because some of the Stormfront types have vowed to kill him rather than have our country led by a n—ger. I’ve even heard that some of the fundie types have vowed to kill Romney, stale white bread that he is, because he’s not “their” kind of Christian.

    I don’t get it. I truly don’t get people like this.

  6. I’ve heard the same about Obama; he had to get Secret Service protection earlier than most candidates because some of the Stormfront types have vowed to kill him rather than have our country led by a n—ger.

    I’m glad that the Secret Service is taking the threat seriously and giving Obama appropriate protection. Sucks that it’s necessary, though.

  7. I am in complete agreement. I will never understand nations hollaring about religion all the time, but are perfectly willing to kill a WOMAN to maintain their views.
    Like Bhutto or not, she was a brave and intelligent woman who deserved better!

  8. The one thing people knoe they can kill by killing certain people is HOPE. JFK,MLK Jr, RFK, H Milk, if they know they kill hope, they will die to do it. Hope is so powerful.. Diane J

  9. She isn’t worth it trust me. She embezzled 1.5 billion, made no attempt to repeal the Hudood Ordinances under which women were imprisoned for rape, gave financial and military support to the Taliban, and cracked down on internal dissent. Many, including her niece Fatima Bhutto believe she was responsible for the assassination of her own brother.

    No one deserves to have their life taken but she wasn’t some great democrat. The image she presented to US and Western media and her actual policies were largely divergent… I guess she will go down in history as an incredibly convincing actress.

  10. I realize that Bhutto was a controversial figure, and not just because she was a woman. Both of her tenures as Prime Minister were troubled. Most knowledgeable people seem to feel that she had both good and bad qualities, like many leaders, but her overall good outweighed the bad. Do you disagree?

  11. Don’t be angry ABW, God loves you and sent that bullet to Bhutto. Is she were to be elected, the CIA and the U.S. government would control Pakistan by proxy. We know what happens when the U.S. does naughty things on the World stage.

  12. That’s about the stupidest damn thing I’ve heard all day. Really now.

  13. That’s about the stupidest damn thing I’ve heard all day.

    Give it time.

  14. I think we need to be careful, esp. in times like these, of broad pronouns. Folks are saying things like

    “Why the flying frilly fuck are we allied with these people?!”
    and
    “maybe we’re allied with them because they are fundamentalist explicative deleteds.”

    Who are “these people” and “them”? Which “fundamentalist expletive deleteds” are we talking about? The ‘authorities’ can’t even agree yet on HOW she died, let alone why or at whose hand. Jumping to the conclusion that she probably died because she was a woman leader is Western-presumptive enough to border on racism. When some nutcase took over the Clinton campaign office a little while back, did everyone jump to the conclusion that misogyny must have been his motivation? No. Why? Because we live in the US, not in a sexist country like Pakistan where such a political assasination “must” be linked to “these peoples'” hatred of women. Never mind, of course, that — unlike “these people” — the US has never managed to elect a woman even to a major party nomination, let alone head of state.

    An equally important question: Who are “we”, as stated above? *I* am not allied with Musharraf, nor was *I* aligned with Bhutto. The US govt extorts taxes out of us and spends that money on killing and oppressing people, making absurd claims of representativity all the while (not all that different than Pakistan under any leadership, actually). Stealing our money, doing murderous things and then saying “well, you can vote” doesn’t make them “we”!

  15. The death of Benazir Bhutto is a sad day in the history of Pakistan, but the story is never simple. All Things Considered has reported that that offical cause of death is a skull fracture created when Bhutto hit the car during the explosion of the suicide bomber. While I agree with Bhutto that the Musharraf administration probably did not do enough to protect her, I think this is a tragedy that could happen in any country in such a fragile political and social situation. We will probably never know who has responsible for this. The history of Benazir Bhutto, although her life has been cut short, has not yet been written. I agree with Saladin that is dangerous and short sighted to began to harbor a “us-them” mentality in discussing this tragedy. Pakistan needs to be allowed to sort out its many political problems without the spectre of Western superiority and judgment that is prone to push solutions that end to work problems in the future. However, governments throughout the world need to watch the elections since the military clearly fears losing power.

  16. Saladin,

    You raise a good point. My guess (I did note it was a guess) as to why the attack occurred jumped to conclusions about misogyny. I know stereotyping is a danger when it comes to Muslim countries, particularly on women’s issues, and I should’ve thought about how “these people” would sound. Usually I know better; sorry for letting emotion overrule good judgment.

    That said —

    When some nutcase took over the Clinton campaign office a little while back, did everyone jump to the conclusion that misogyny must have been his motivation?

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I sure as hell did. I’m still not sure that wasn’t an element of the guy’s madness, frankly. Please remember that here’s a disturbingly large contingent of this country that hates Hillary Clinton with a wholly irrational passion — yes, to the point of wanting to kill her — solely because she’s a powerful woman. History and a frightening amount of right-wing rhetoric gives me plenty of reasons to go directly to misogyny, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, in cases like this.

    Ditto Pakistan. Sure, the bomber could be one of Musharraf’s boys; could even be one of Bhutto’s own relatives, or some other political rival. It could be the CIA; God knows what they’re up to these days. But that doesn’t mean we can dismiss the possibility of a misogynistic motive here. The sad fact of the matter is that we can’t, because Pakistan has a shitty record on this stuff, especially lately as the country has either become more conservative or the stories have simply gone public more often.

    And my “we” includes all Americans. IMO it’s not a simple matter of “well, we can vote”; it’s a matter of “well, we can riot, but we haven’t”. We should’ve done what any halfway democratic “Third World” country would’ve done by now, and throw the bums out. But not nearly enough of us have tried to fight this regime, and AFAIC that means we have to accept being tarred with the same broad brush as the fools that support it. Denying our own apathy won’t make it any less shameful.

  17. pakistan has a shitty record on human rights bcuz we pay them to. we like our “black sites” in other peoples countries where noone gives a shit if we torture or not. $10 billion of military aid has aided the pakistan military 2 kill whoever they like & get away with it. wanna find bhutto’s killer? do like deep throat & follow the money ( that’s deep throat from wategate, not the 70’s porn movie..) bet u $5 the trail ends in dc….

  18. But ABW said that is the stupidest damn thing she heard all day. Maybe she come around since this morning.

  19. Nora –

    Well said all around. Thugh I quoted you, my intent wasn’t really to pick on your comments specifically — I know from reading your posts that you are more a nuanced and better informed commentator than most.

    I think I’m just tired of seeing the knee-jerk Western (and esp. western liberal) reaction that assumes this is so much deeper a tragedy than your average political assasination.

    It’s not.

    Bhutto was, in many ways, a HORRIBLE PERSON. She ran a brutally repressive regime and was often the worst of both worlds — appeaser to murderous neocolonialism and dumbfuck ‘jihadism’ both. The fact that Musharraf is a shade sleazier and is more explicitly anti-democratic doesn’t make Bhutto some kind of noble martyr.

    The thing is, unlike you, too many of the bloggers that are caterwauling about the assasination won’t mention any of this b/c they clearly KNOW NEXT TO NOTHING ABOUT PAKISTAN. I am SO sick of people thinking that they can asses such complex situations at a glance and then describe them with a glib, ludicrously uninformed word or two about tragedy, women’s rights, and the inevitable meltdown that will follow.

    There’s a pretty decent op-ed on this by a Muslim feminist writer at cnn of all places. It focuses more on Bhutto’s appeasement of fundamentalists than on her oppressive policies or her function as borderline-western-puppet:

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/12/29/pakistan.commentary/index.html?iref=newssearch

  20. I think one of Musharaff’s people got to Ms. Ghutto. Recall they were bombing her the moment she returned to Pakistan, and put her under house arrest at least twice. Then, on the other hand, Ghutto was easy to hate if you really study her history and the history of her family. She was pro-west, elitist, allegedly corrupt, and ineffective in her previous term as Prime Minister of Paskistan. So, it is not as if she had no baggage. Another thing, because the U.S.A. is so hated in the Muslim world nowadays, any leader we support there also receives our kiss of death. The U.S.A. needs to back off and stop meddling in the internal affairs of these muslim countries and let them evolve as they will.

  21. Irshad Manji, the woman who wrote the piece on CNN, is a neo-con. Which is not to say Bhutto was not a sleazebag, but Manji’s own knowledge of Pakistan, like her knowledge of anything else I’ve heard her speak about, comes out of a paper bag marked ‘West good’ ‘Islam bad’ ‘I’m a Muslim criticizing my own so that means I speak the truth.’
    And just because Bhutto was a lousy leader doesn’t mean she deserved to be murdered.

  22. Saladin,

    You’ve got a good point again; it’s impossible to take any political figure’s death without many, many grains of salt. Especially when they’re controversial figures who may or may not have done Very Bad Things.

    That said, I don’t agree with your suggestion that this is basically Just Another Political Assassination, and unimportant beyond that.

    Bhutto is a woman — one of the few female political leaders in the world in recorded human history. That’s an achievement most nations, including the US, haven’t managed to complete. This is important.

    Not only that, she’s been the leader of a Muslim state during a time of increasing misogynistic fundamentalism in the region. This is important too.

    And she was democratically elected (granted, depends on your def of democratic, and whether you think Jeb Bush was Up To No Good in 2000…) in a time of increasing authoritarianism worldwide.

    All this stuff is important, never mind the politics. I’m not trying to take Bhutto’s failures or crimes out of context… but neither can we ignore what she represents.

    For me, a non-Muslim black girl living halfway around the world, Bhutto is a motivator simply by virtue of her existence. Lord knows what she’d think of me; I doubt I’d’ve ever been able to swim in her socioeconomic circles. Plus I get the sense that Pakistan has some color-complex issues of its own in certain respects. But she’s proven that it’s possible to be a woman and gain/keep/employ real political power; and that it’s possible to do so in spite of religious forces that are trying to force women back into a very small powerless box. Let’s face it — American women could really use some role models and motivators on these very issues right now.

    And it matters — to me, at least — that she’s brown. (Granted, not very, but every speck of melanin helps! =P) Because not only am I bombarded every day with messages telling me that I’m not emotionally stable, or not able to wield power, or whatever, because I’m female; I get even worse messages because I’m black. I’m genetically inferior. I’m stupid. The people who believe this crap tend to believe in a color-based “pyramid of superiority” in which pale blond people are on top and really brown people — like me — are at the very bottom. In between is a gradient of increasing brownness. Everything below the palest pinnacle of the pyramid is dirt to these people, but they love to pull the divide-and-conquer trick and imply that as a brown person I shouldn’t root for the slightly-less-browns who manage to succeed. I refuse to play that game. Brown is brown, and when any of us succeed, the pyramid crumbles a little more.

    So let’s be blunt here. Bhutto was no saint; everyone acknowledges that. But the world needed her — if only to prove that brown female political leaders can be cunning daughters-of-bastards just like the rest of ‘em.

    (And yes, I’d be equally angry if somebody offed Condoleeza, for the same reason… and I fucking hate her.)

  23. Random

    I disagree with Irshad Manji more often than I agree with her. She uses silly and inaccurate terms like ‘feudal fanatics’. She’s not precisely a neo-con, though. I did offer a (mild) disclaimer about the tunnel vision of her piece.

    That said, the piece itself addresses adroitly the issue of dewy-eyed Western liberal sadness over this incident. And it subtly raises the point that a dewy-eyed response to this crisis is itself patronizing. The notion that the current situation in Pakistan can be understood via a contextless emotive response that ignores the pain Bhutto caused (or reduces it to ‘she wasn’t perfect’) simply because that pain is inconvenient for western liberals’ narrative, is a dangerously, imperially obnoxious one. Manji hinted at that in a way other analyses haven’t.

    But (do I really need to say this? As a Muslim man, probably…) NO ONE SAID ANYONE ‘DESERVED TO BE MURDERED. This sort of incident is always tragic. But I’m tired of people who just started studying the country a week ago claim this incident is so much more tragic than the dozen or so other political meltdowns and assasinations in the developing and Islamic worlds. Especially when that claim is based in ignorance.

    One instance: It’s fine to admire Bhutto for being a female Muslim leader. I admired this about her tenure myself. But when Western commentators claim “she’s the first Muslim woman leader”, it becomes clear that those commentators they don’t know what they’re talking about:

    http://www.guide2womenleaders.com/Muslim_Leaders.htm

    http://www.kabobfest.com/2007/12/how-many-muslim-women-leaders-can-you.html

  24. Sorry about typos/grammar weirdness in my last post – typing on the run.

    Nojojo, I think we’re going to have to just agree to disagree on some level. While I agree that Bhutto’s presence as a (light) Brown/3rd World/Muslim woman leader has something inspiring in it (esp. to me as a Muslim), it’s a slippery slope we’re talking. Does EVERY example of women (or POCs) in power deserve our respect? No. Not if they are doing evil things for evil governments. Leni Riefenstahl, a woman, was a prominent figure in the Nazi party. Is that admirable?

    Condoleeza Rice is an orchestrator of mass murder. Straight up. So was Madeline Albright before her. And Colin Powell. They’ve got their token A-rabs and Moo-zlims too (Spencer Abraham and Zalmay Khalizad). These men aren’t inspiratinos to me — they’re traitors who help white men put a ‘multicultural’ face on the murder of brown children and tthe pillaging of brown peoples’ land. If someone Khalizad b/c he’s a Muslim, or Condoleeza because she’s a woman or because she’s black it would make the assasin a vile racist/misogynyst. It would say depressing things about our world. But it would NOT suddenly transform a war criminal into a hero.

    Finally, on a lighter note on this front, my friend’s awesome 10-yr-old daughter is making a ‘bid’ for the presidency of Lebabnon:

    http://ibnbintjbeil.blogspot.com/2007/11/for-lebanons-presidency.html

  25. Errr…that last post should have said “If someone SHOT Khalizad” , back there in paragraph 3….sigh…weary fingers…

  26. Does EVERY example of women (or POCs) in power deserve our respect? No. Not if they are doing evil things for evil governments. Leni Riefenstahl, a woman, was a prominent figure in the Nazi party. Is that admirable?

    There’s a big difference between recognizing the power of a symbol, and admiring it. I can respect the impact of a powerful evil person on history without respecting that person, or condoning their actions.

    That said, yes, there’s a limit to how far my respect goes, and there does come a point past which I decide someone is too evil to respect even on that basic level. I’m not sure I put Bhutto in that camp yet; I honestly don’t know enough to judge.

    I can say this, though — no matter how evil a person is, I don’t believe they deserve to be blown to smithereens. No human being deserves that. Then again, I’m anti-death-penalty, so that kind of goes with the territory.

    ::snickers at the presidency blogpost:: I wish her luck!

  27. I guess I’ll take my turn to chime in. I, too, was saddened by this assassination, as I am with the loss of any life, but not surprised. Anyone, including Bhutto herself, could have told you that this was going to happen. The attack at her first rally that killed over 100 people was a warning. Musharraf may be at the front of the line of people who wanted her dead, but he is by far not alone. She was hated by the military in Pakistan and there are plenty of other enemies around. Then there’s the issue of her making a deal with the devil, namely our own G.W. Bush. Not a way to win friends and influence people in Pakistan.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan has been a hot bed of trouble for a really long time. We, liberally minded people, didn’t really think about them until after 9/11. Truth be told, we should all be ashamed. We did nothing to help the women of Afghanistan when they were being forced out of school and work and into burkhas. We said nothing when they were forced to beg on the street if they had no man “to take care of them” and openly beaten by any male passerby. We said nothing when they were being publicly executed. The women of Pakistan were screaming for years that the Taliban was coming over the border and that they feared they were going to try to take over the government of Pakistan. Again, the west said, and did, nothing.

    Pakistan, because of their issues with India and their possession of nuclear technology (and most importantly, the possession of delivery systems for that nuclear technology) make them that “hot bed of trouble”. As A. Q. Khan sits peacefully somewhere untouched by any form of justice after selling nuclear information to anyone who would pay, one has to wonder ,WTF is going on in Pakistan?

    Who Killed Daniel Pearl? by Bernard-Henri Levy suggests that the investigative reporter Daniel Pearl was killed not because he was Jewish and American as reported by the media, but because he stumbled onto the real story of Pakistan: the story that al-Qaida and the Pakistani government are linked. Is it true? Does our government know about it? Why are we funding Musharraf? What would it mean if a wild card like Bhutto became the leader of that government? These are the questions we should be asking. The issue of Bhutto being a woman is far down the list of reasons why she is dead.

  28. @ A-A and Random,
    unlike the rest of the post that I read and skimmed through yours hold some truth. i find it ironic that so many can past judgement and make comments on subjects which they do FULLY know about and probably don’t understanding considering. I’m sure many were fed information by American news stations and other stupid reports. Which does not give you both sides of the spectrum (Check out
    BBC, DubaiTV just to name a few)

    Now I think its sad and terrible that she passed in no way am I unsympathetic to her, her family, friends and even her supporters. I will say that Bhutto committed some shaky acts in the past which not only harmed the country of Pakistan itself but harmed numerous of poor/lower class people especially women and children with her embezzlement, etc.It seems to me that many are painting her as the angelic figure dont get me wrong I have respect for anyone who presues politics HOWEVER lets nots pretend that she did nothing wrong. I think many are looking at this as a Black-n-White issue when its clearly not. I don’t know if Musharraf had anything to do with this or not. Only the Lord knows but Bhutto was facing enemies and oppositions from all sides. If anyone bothered to do some real research on her as well as her family they would see that her family has a history of what would be considered “bad” politics.

    Likewise making statements of “why do we support them” or “why are we funding them” is clearly ignorant. And I’m trying to figure out who the “them” is.Sometimes I wonder especially as a woman of color. My rant here is that before people jump on some type of political bandwagon do your homework, do some research. Its truly amazing how much ignorance is floating around out here.

    @ABW,
    I don’t know if you weigh good or bad. That’s like asking me to forgive a rapist who raped me because after serving time he decides to establish rape support groups/foundations and took measurements to help women in need. The fact still remains that he was a rapist. It is unfortunate at times that no matter how much good you do your bad deeds will always out weigh the good.

    I sincerely hope that Bhutto killer(s) are found and prosecuted thoroughly in the court of law and that Pakistan overcomes its internal and external turmoil. This is just one notch on a grand scale of many problems.

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