Contemplating Martyrdom

“Just days before parliamentary polls in Pakistan, leading Prime Ministerial contender and anti terrorism crusader Benazir Bhutto was shot dead during an election rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. “She has been martyred,” said party official Rehman Malik. The Associated Press, citing Malik, reported that Bhutto was shot in the neck and the chest before the gunman blew himself up. ” from the news article: “Making a Martyr of Bhutto” (

I had seen the news about her assasination on the news this morning, and it shocked me, more so because one of the world’s few powerful female political leaders had been murdered. On top of that, she was an elegant woman, a powerful speaker, and one who looked like a woman — with makeup and long painted fingernails and occasionally garish jewelry. For the world, she was a moderate, one who could have helped balanced that country’s upheavel and provided comfort to the many many poor.

But, she was not — IS not — a martyr. A martyr deliberately gives up her life for the greater glory of ‘god.’ (God is in quotes because it may be for a cause or other thing of great value, not just religion. It’s more rare, but it happens.) A better word might be sacrifice, but because she was an unwilling sacrifice, I do not like it much better.

Sadly, she was mostly a victim and we — the world — isĀ  poorer for her death.

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