Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bhutto killed because she was a woman

I was accused of simplistic analysis when I stated that I expected Bhutto to be killed because she was a woman. Well, it appears I'm not the only one who understands this:

ARE women across the world mourning Benazir Bhutto? They should be. Not because she was a saint; she wasn’t. She was at least a beneficiary of the billions stolen by her husband from the people of Pakistan. Nor did she do anything much for Pakistani women during her two periods of leadership, declining even to try to repeal the infamous Hudood laws whereby rape victims can be punished for adultery.

She should be mourned not because of what she was but because of what she symbolised. Her death was a political assassination, not an honour killing, as some have said.

Nevertheless it was a reminder of what we face. Bhutto was murdered because to her enemies she was Westernised, a traitor to her culture and an American stooge. She was murdered because she had vowed to bring secularism and democracy to Pakistan. She was murdered because she was all these things, and a woman.

“I know I am a symbol of what the so-called jihadists, Taliban and al-Qa’ida, most fear,” she wrote in her autobiography, Daughter of the East. “I am a female political leader fighting to bring modernity, communication, education and technology to Pakistan.”

Yes, fear is the right word. The fear of women, of women’s freedom, and most of all, of women’s sexuality, runs through Islamism. It is a large part of Islamist hatred of the West. “The issue of women is not marginal,” writes the Dutch scholar Ian Buruma. “It lies at the heart of Islamic occidentalism (anti-Westernism).”

It is the “deep, ignored issue”, writes Paul Berman, author of Terror and Liberalism. Why, I wonder, is it mainly men who are making these points?


Could the murder of Bhutto be enough to wake up Western women to the fact that the war being waged by the Islamists is very much about them? Could the modern Left be persuaded that the people who killed Bhutto are the ones we are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and other places across the world? Can we, in our niceness, stop telling ourselves they are justified in their hatred of us?
I think there are some women who understand the threat that's facing the world right now. They understand the caliphate and what that would mean but there are many women who haven't a clue why this fight is so important. Does anyone know what NOW has said about the assassination? Or are they too focused on "stereotyping toys" and "non-sexist car insurance?"