Thursday, December 27, 2007


There is no point to this post. This post exemplifies the narcissistic empty noise of the blogosphere (read this if you want something worthwhile). And yet, I feel compelled to note, for the record, that I am thinking about Benazir (which my fingers persist in typing Benazier), though my thoughts will illuminate nothing for anyone.

I turned on the computer to check my email perhaps an hour after she died. My homepage is the NY Times, and I gasped "oh my god, Benazir [Benazier again] was assassinated!" My cousin came over to look over my shoulder, and then she went into the living room to tell her boyfriend, who came in (to the bedroom) and started reading the news on the other laptop. I went to the Independent, and to the blog of the Pakistan Times, and there wasn't really much more news--a dozen hours later there isn't much more news, except for more people dead, and the inevitable uncertainty, which will turn, inevitably, to another, probably more horrific, certainty.

It's not that I have much love lost for Benazir. A journalist I knew was working on a biography of Benazir when she (the journalist) died a while ago, so Benazir has been on my radar screen for a long time--I think she must have been on my radar even before that, as a young woman politician, which is my kind of thing. She was no goddess savior, that's for sure, but whether she was killed by terrorists or the army (and in this case I lean toward the army, as you would too if you've read Shame and any recent Pakistan news), this is just a terrible, terrible thing.

So that was the non-contribution to the discourse that I'd arrived at, but then I started thinking about why I was so shaken up, why I scoured the internet for news when there wasn't any, why I was thinking about it all day, as I went about my vacation business, and I realized that I can't really think of assassinations that I've been so aware of. And of course that's not true: I remember when Indira Gandhi was assassinated, and Yitzhak Rabin, and, oh, lots of people, Theo van Gogh, I know there are more but I don't feel like figuring it out. Still, something about Benazir's assassination, coming as it did in the midst of political turmoil and an election, made me think about what it must have been like in the 60s--even though I have no idea what it was like--especially when Robert Kennedy was assassinated right after Martin Luther King Jr., and how it must have felt like the bottom of the world had opened up and everything was in free fall. And now I'm realizing I must have made this connection because of the book I'm reading, a memoir which begins in the 60s and lists events alongside the personal narration. And of course I've felt that sense of free fall, like we all did, on 9/11, but there's something about an assassination, about someone who could make a difference, perhaps, being alive, and then all of a sudden dead, that is just insistently horrifying.

So that's the rest of my non-contribution to the discourse.

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