Friday, December 28, 2007

The elusive dream

There is so much to read and absorb about Benazir Bhutto's assassination, that it is difficult at this point to draw any conclusions or make any comments that wouldn't appear trite.

Personally, I am shocked and saddened by the murder of this very courageous woman, but I do find myself drawn to the question about whether or not true democracy is a viable and realistic goal in a country such as Pakistan.

This debate has been addressed by Jack's Newswatch, George Jonas and Peter Worthington among others.

How can democracy exist among the chaotic turbulence of such strong extremist factions within the country itself? Military rule may be the only path to temporary stability. Ironically, as Jonas pointed out, it was the pressure of the U.S. to end Musharraf's emergency measures that may have contributed directly or indirectly to Bhutto's assassination:

...Pressuring Pakistan to act out America's fascination with democracy is minimally naive. So is forcing Musharraf, who perches precariously at the edge of a precipice, to audition for a speaking part in a psychodrama called "elections" that Western liberals believe are therapeutically efficacious against every conceivable malady in the body politic. Democracy is strong medicine, every bit as miraculous as penicillin, but some cultures, like some patients, are allergic to it. The best medicine won't help allergic patients, and sometimes it might kill them...

What are the answers? Hard to say.

But holding up Western democracy as a panacea to the world's woes may not be a realistic solution.

At best, it is arrogantly simplistic and fails to adequately deal with the insidious cultural and religious realities.

* * * *
Update: Pakistan now says Bhutto died of fractured skull - CNEWS

Yahoo - The sunroof killed Bhutto. Tragic.

Stanley Kurtz - Tribes of Terror.


Roy Eappen said...

I was born in India. India has many problems, but it is still a functioning democracy. Pakistan should be able to embrace the same values espused by their cousin and brothers and sisters across the border. I hope it is not true that pakistan must be ruled by the military. Unfortunately at this time the only thing giving stability to Pakistan is the army. I hope pakistan can be put back on the path to democracy. The people of India and Pakistan are no different. If we can do it in India , so can they.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Dr. Roy, I hope you are right. Perhaps in the long term democracy can be achieved; with education, etc.

BTW, congrats on all your letters to the editor getting published lately!

Anonymous said...

what bothers me and casts doubt about who is responsible or what actually caused her death is that the story keeps changing.

Yesterday, it was a sniper's bullet which allegedly killed her, then later, metal shrapnel from the bomb, now a gov't official is on CNN saying that she died from bumping her head getting back into the limo.

I don't believe any of those.

How about you? Will we ever know?

Could this be a cover-up by the ruling gov't??

Sandy said...

Cover up? Absolutely. When I was watching live coverage yesterday on CNN, wounded bystanders said, without being asked, that they had heard and saw two bullets being fired at Bhutto before the bomb went off. I trust their accounts since they were not pr or military people trying to spin reality so as to calm the population.

Sy Cophant. said...

Great post, Kate!

Excellent point as well, Gabby in QC.!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kate? Gabby?