Daughter of Courage

Ruchira Paul in Accidental Blogger:

Screenhunter_17In my reading of numerous articles about Benazir Bhutto in the last 24 hours, I came across a common thread running through several columns by journalists who knew or had met her in person. All mention Bhutto’s remarkable and unusual physical courage. It is interesting that Indian journalists have noted this fact prominently, perhaps because they are well acquainted with the bloody nature of politics in that part of the world. Compared to most security conscious politicians, Bhutto’s disregard for her own physical safety struck the journalists as singularly brave and now in hindsight, also a bit reckless. It is possible that women leaders in male dominated societies must prove not just their political acumen but also the lack of physical fear in order to be taken seriously by their supporters as well as detractors. Elected women leaders in the west like Angela Merkel, Margaret Thatcher and any future female US president must bear heavy political burdens and exhibit unwavering resolve in times of crises.  But women like Corazon Aquino of the Philippines and Bhutto in Pakistan have to additionally walk into physically perilous situations to earn their leadership spurs.

In the event of violent and untimely death and in the spirit of de mortuis nil nisi bonum, post mortem tributes can sometimes tend toward hagiography. Benazir Bhutto was far from perfect. But the repeated references to Benazir Bhutto’s steely nerve and lack of physical cowardice is entirely credible.

More here.