Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hatred wins in a landslide

Benazir Bhutto, the once exiled Pakistani opposition leader was assassinated today in an attack in her motorcade as it left a campaign rally. She was shot and her killer then blew himself up.

It might be easy to reach the conclusion that 'those people over there' are just animals and they don't know any other way to settle their differences than by force of arms and murderous violence.

It might be that easy, but if we look back on our not so distant past to remember 1968, we find that racial hatred and senseless violence are not unique to 'those people'. ( I am not equating Bhutto to MLK or RFK, not by a long shot)

I did not grow up in the South, I never experienced seeing a 'colored' drinking fountain or seeing anyone beaten up simply for the color of their skin. For anyone in their 60s who lived in Alabama or Mississippi, I wonder if you asked them back in 1961 if they thought their town would ever have a black mayor or police chief, what the answer would be? I bet the answer would be no, or even, Hell no.

The Islamic extremists who shudder at their very core to think of the possibility of a woman as the leader of their country are not going away. This is not the act of a lone nut job provoked by and underlying culture of extremism. Murder and killing of those who oppose your specific brand of Islam is what is taught in the Madrases, preached in the Mosques, and taught in the homes.

Unlike the US back in the sixties where violent racism was sporadic in most of our nation and culturally accepted only in the deep South and in the Mid West to a lesser degree, Pakistan does not have a strong centralized government to enforce the rule of law and make the change, nor does it seem to have the heart for it right now. The Madrases are financed by Saudi princes who wish to indoctrinate the next generation of youth to hate anyone who does not share their identical beliefs.

Can you imagine if the Ku Klux Klan financed and ran the school systems in the South back in the 60s through today? Do you think things would be different for blacks and for everyone in South? Terribly, terribly different I'm afraid.

What is the answer for Pakistan and the broader Islamic world? I don't know.
Those of you hate the War in Iraq will say its none of our business, or we should try a diplomatic solution to these problems. Meanwhile the clerics and teachers train up a new generation in the hate filled and murderous ways of Wahhabist Islam and the threat grows larger every day.

As much as I hate to see a dictatorship rule with an iron hand, I don't know if things will change unless a strong central government can take control of its country and enforce its will. If President Pervez Musharraf is on the side of progress but limited democracy, it may be the best we can do for right now. Many people resented the FBI and National Guard being posted on their streets and investigating their citizens, but it was necessary to enforce the rule of law, not just local law, but the entire Constitution.

There are no easy answers. No one likes a dictator, but as we have seen in Gaza, mob-rule democracy can be much worse. The change must be systematic and cultural. Hatred needs to be taught out of the culture. But how to do that is the question Pakistan and all of us must answer.

Wouldn't it be great to be writing in forty years about the bad old days in Pakistan when they blew up and murdered anyone they didn't agree with. The other alternative is a nuclear armed power overthrown and ruled by a Wahhabist theocracy who have no fear of death.

Frightening? You bet.


LouBob said...

AMEN! Very well said...............and the goat IS cute even if you keep it nekked.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

How do you know it was religious "extremists" who killed her?

A woman who was brought in as part of a deal to keep a corrupt, ruthless, SECULAR, dictator in power -- essentially to save Musharraf's arse -- probably had plenty of enemies, irrespective of religion.

Yolo Cowboy said...

Hey ii, Merry Christmas!

Corrupt, ruthless, secular, were you talking about Bhutto's time in power?

I'll bet you lunch at the burger barn that it was Islamic extremists who killed her...Oh wait never mind, this just in,
It was al Quaeda

I know, I know, it was Musharraf, and his boys are just rounding up the usual suspects. Wink, wink, nudge,nudge, say no more.

Have a happy New Year!