By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Celebrating Bhutto’s death (really)

Well, this is rather interesting. The Boston Globe runs an op-ed piece today arguing that Benazir Bhutto’s assassination is a good thing. “Despite the prevailing opinion, Benazir’s death may offer new hope for democratic values: rights, the rule of law, and law enforcement,” writes Imaduddin Ahmed.

The same piece also appears in the International Herald Tribune, which, like the Globe, is owned by the New York Times Co.

Ahmed appears to be progressive (see this, for example), and the points he makes about Bhutto’s dark side are not novel. But it’s hard to see how Bhutto’s assassination stands for anything other than the denial of rights, the rule of terrorists and a failure of law enforcement.

Maybe it would be a good thing if Bhutto had departed from the Pakistani political scene (or maybe not — I claim zero expertise). But not like this.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Seeking Web design advice


Cape businesses oppose casinos


  1. Steve

    This is pretty sickening. I tried changing some of the names and ideals around, seeing if I could equate it to something Howie Carr would write, but it just wasn’t plausible. I tried substituting Jane Swift, I tried Hillary, and neither fit. Even Howie wouldn’t be hopeful at someone’s death.This is more a Michael Savage-level rant. Can you imagine the Globe giving Savage space on their op-ed page?

  2. Don, American

    Thr New York Tims Co. is invested in death, around the world. What’s new?

  3. let's hear it for extremism everywhere!

    This feels vaguely like saying India and Pakistan should have at it with their nukes, just so they can “get past it” and have a better relationship.In a strange (and rather naive) way, it’s completely right…but man, what an ugly road to travel to get to a better place.I remember hearing about Bhutto’s assassination and seriously wondering if I was going to be able to fly home from my in-laws on New Year’s Eve because by then the riots would’ve crossed the borders and all domestic flights would’ve been grounded for safety reasons. Sounds extreme, I know. But at that moment it felt completely plausible.Still does, actually…Come to think of it, Musharraf has been mighty hard to kill in recent years, but he’s GOT to realize that the bullseye on his back just got twice as big between Bhutto’s death and his relinquishing his post of head of the military. Of course, one also wonders how long it’ll be before Ashfaq Kayani realizes he could have the whole enchilada if he bumps Musharraf off.

  4. Tim Allik

    It’s a truly deranged editorial. The fact that it ran in two New York Times Company publications is stranger still. I think I would have headlined it “The Bright Side of Assassination.”I think it’s also odd how neither the New York Times nor any major media outlet has apparently mentioned anything of Benazir Bhutto’s Nov. 2, 2007 television interview with Sir David Frost on his program on al-Jazeera, “Frost Around the World”. In the interview, Bhutto talks in detail about threats against her life. She also refers to “Sheik Omar” as the man who “murdered Osama bin Laden” – a direct quotation. Omar is facing a death sentence for the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Omar has been imprisoned since 2002.The comment apparently flew right past Frost, and he asked no follow-up questions about it. Perhaps Bhutto misspoke. But to me, it’s doubtful. In the broadcast, Bhutto pauses for a fraction of a second before clearly saying, “Osama bin Laden.” The news story here is as clear as a bell. Regardless of what you think about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts, Benazir Bhutto had something important to say about the matter before she died. Here is the Frost interview on YouTube:

  5. Harry

    A leading candidate for election and 20 others are killed in an assassination combined with a suicide bombing, and the Globe runs an Op Ed like this days later? What does this say about the quality of the editorial process on Morrissey Boulevard? Nothing good.

  6. Anonymous

    I think the op-ed is a needed balance to the “martyization” of Bhutto. No where does Ahmed condone her assassination. I don’t interpret his piece to be saying he supports her actual death, just her removal. I think he rightly points out that Bhutto provided a deceptive path to democracy. In her absence, which I think was a result of a horrific action, different paths may open up that may in fact be more democratic in the long run.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 1:05: Let’s review the record, shall we? “Despite the prevailing opinion, Benazir’s death [my emphasis] may offer new hope for democratic values.” That seems pretty clear to me.Even looking at this as cold-bloodedly as possible, it’s hard to imagine how a violent assassination could lead to anything good, even if Bhutto herself were an impediment to progress.

  8. Anonymous

    I agree with “anonymous” that the columnist pointed out many details that are lost in the martyrdom-by-assassination last week. Yes, it’s tragic and awful that she was killed. and I wish these points about her endemic corruption and elitism had come out before she was murdered. But would anyone have paid attention to it at all then? She was charming, educated and as much a political manipulator as anyone on the world stage. It’s terrible that she was killed, but it’s relevant to look more critically at her life and political legacy.

  9. Harry

    I agree, Dan. I’m no J-school prof, but isn’t this the reason why newspapers hire and pay EDITORS? Where [expletive deleted] were the Globe’s Op Ed editors when this piece sailed through?

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén