Friday, December 28, 2007

Pakistan on my Mind.

I found out that Benazir Bhutto had been assisinated in, of all places, the elevator. The news flashed on one of those "captivision" televisions that are de-riguer in most high-end office buildings. I mean, god forbid, we just be in an elevator sans stimuli. I gasped and I am still gasping at the news and the photographs of (even more) turmoil that have been unleashed in that part of the world. I read about it all day yesterday, her life as the offspring of a powerful and aristocratic Kennedy-esque (by way of Pakistan) family. The streak of tragedy and corruption that ran through her life. She sounded supremely flawed, like all leaders, and, of course, terrifyingly brave almost like a character out of a novel. I read that her minders didn't want her to go into the crowd and expose herself but she was apparently unfazed and bullheaded about addressing her supporters in the flesh, so to speak. It never ceases to amaze me how almost all human beings are capable of such extreme acts of courage and cowardice.

Of course, the U.S. news is focused on how all of this will affect the "Global War on Terror". I really wish that phrase would stop being printed and repeated. It's so laughably Orwellian and utterly meaningless; an advertising slogan not a policy and printing it gives it credibility. At any rate, I did remind me how, by comparison, life here seems so, well, placid. The past (nearly) eight years of governance have been so awful and the response, by and large, has been so utterly tepid, defeated almost. I am not, by any means, suggesting that turmoil is a sign of a healthy civic life but our culture seems like it's at the almost opposite end of the extreme. I sometimes look around at my peers, my friends, and, well, myself and am reminded of that frog in boiling water metaphor/analogy i.e. put the frogs in cold water and they won't jump out, slowly boil the water and the frogs won't realize that anything is wrong until they are floating on top i.e there will be no trouble closing the lid.

Well, that's dark...maybe too dark and it is an election year afterall. And, perhaps, the extreme cultural/political amnesia we've experienced these past eight years will begin to wear off and the great American mass will realize that if they don't act now, events like the ones happenning in Pakistan - corruption, military rule, quasi-dictatorship, phony elections, politics for keeps - will become a daily reality here too.