Archive for December 28th, 2007


24 Hours Past 1816hrs

I have such an unholy voyeuristic streak that is steeped in a macabre fascination with death.  It has been twenty four hours since Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and I have spent those hours watching television and browsing every possible online source of information about the Bhuttos.  Offline, I have been rifling through the pages of Z.A. Bhutto’s biography by Stanley Wolpert and Benazir’s own ‘Daughter of the East’.  I am not a political person and have an ingrained sense of disowning all things political.

But then, my fascination I like to justify is not political.  My fascination is in the sense of the ordinary happening to those we perceive as extraordinary.  Death in an instant to a woman who minutes before was chanting slogans, inciting a crowd with loud gestures and bold tones is so horrifically silenced.  A private television station runs clips in which she is identified as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother before being a politician, a prime minister or a leader.

A flawed human being!  As flawed as the rest of us and as fallible to the vices that be.  Elders in my family preach not speaking ill of the dead.  They claim one who dies wipes their slate clean with those left behind and is now in the hands of Allah.  Yet, we as human beings, never quite let those slates lie.

It’s strange.  I never quite thought that Benazir outgrew her father’s shadow but the sense of unease and the unreal that is prevalent after her passing suggests that perhaps, in ways we could not see, she really was her father’s daughter.  Politics aside, her death is devastating.  Look at the shockwaves that have my country reeling.  To say that, the foundation of solidarity or the concept of the federation of Pakistan has been dealt a blow would not be wrong.  Fires, deaths, looting, pillaging plague those ordinary people who had nothing to do with it.

This is our system you see.  No matter what happens it is always the ordinary people who pay the price.  Be it against the measure of a government, a protest, an expression of anger, it ricochets against the broken back of the ordinary person to bring him crashing down.  Death is an absolute reality.  Nobody comes back from it.  No matter who lives or dies now, Benazir shall now lie till the day of judgement under the soil that gave her birth.  Technically at peace!  At least she is free from the mortal concerns that all of us have.  The tragedy in this instance is to be protested absolutely but not in a way that leaves countless others in tears when they can ill afford them.

“Allah Almighty!  Who gives us life and gives us death and surely brings us trials to test us, grant us fortitude and patience to come through this.  Grant us peace and well being.  Preserve us from losses that can never be regained.  Preserve our hearts and minds, our homes and lives from those who seek to bring us chaos and harm, to tear us away from that is right, to forget those bounds that You have defined for us.  Bless those with Your mercy who have returned to you and bless those who will and bless those who remain behind.  Bring us light in our time of darkness.  Grant us a life and a death in faith.  For You are indeed the Creator, the Merciful,  the Majestic and All Knowing and the Master of all our destinies!  Ameen Sum Ameen!”


December 2007
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