Dec 28, 2007

We Eat Our Own.

"When a leader speaks,
that leader dies." - Living Color, Cult of Personality

I don't know a lot about South Asia, even if I write about things related to the diaspora regularly on here. I know less about Pakistan than I do India, and realize that as the news of Benazir Bhutto's death washes over the world, people with no business commenting on it will do so anyway. Still, I feel like her killing raised two quick thoughts for me:

1) It reminded me, again, of how complex global politics are, and how people can be easily mislead to think that one person, or one family, can serve either as the savior for the nation or the key architect(s) of its damning. The Bhutto family's destiny is linked with Pakistan's, in some way, but it just seems crazy the way that the Western media is playing her role and her importance out.

2) It also made me think more about how hard it is for leaders in South Asian nations to really push for change (whatever kind) without risking their lives. The history over the past 60 years has not been a pretty one, particularly in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It's no wonder that people: a) are less willing to step forward and challenge business as usual, and b) have a hard time remaining hopeful and not cynical about change and leadership. While there's still fervent support of political parties (at least in India), the view from afar may be askew. I used to think that the BJP had massive support from the people - and Modi's reelection may testify to that - but it may be just the idea of belonging to something rather than real faith in actual change.

Maybe people aren't really that supportive of any particular candidate or perspective. And maybe it's that cynicism that we confront with people in the diaspora, here in the U.S. and elsewhere, who don't have the faith in change that some of us still offer as an alternative to going along with the same old ways - whether that's regarding civil rights or anything else.

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