Will You Please?

Your determination is inspiring. Odes can be written on your resilience.

You are an embodiment of persistence in the face of aggression and suppression. Where many would have surrendered, you stuck to your principles.

You remind me of someone who was once my ideal – a young girl who braved deaths, exiles and imprisonments with a smile. The one who when she spoke would ignite dreams, one who when she waved at crowds could wave off their nightmares of suffering. The one who when she smiled would make us laugh just because her sincere warm smile made us believe in her resolve to change our destiny. When she hugged people, cried with them, consoled them, motivated them I would think she is the messiah!

As a twelve year old, I saw her shake the foundations of dictatorship by amassing a crowd of millions in my beloved Lahore. I had never seen democracy before that day. I did not know what democracy was. She taught a child the meaning of democracy. She made me dream of democracy and revolution. She made me fall in love with the poetry of Habib Jalib and Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

My elders said a product of feudalism cannot bring democracy but there was something in her youthful charisma and passion that made me believes in her resolve to change our fortunes.

I still recall the day when dressed in green she took the oath. How earnestly beautiful she was? How a nation had danced with dreams in eyes? How great it was being a Pakistani? She was our pride. We had shown the world we can also be democratic.

Recalling those days bring tears – of joy turned tragically sour?

If she gave me hope she taught me what is daunting despair. If she made me believe in democracy she made me wish for dictatorship too. If she taught me how national interest is far above personal interests she showed me how personal interests can ruin every national interests. If she made me dream me of power of vote she is the reason I have never voted.

She was so full of contradictions that she left a nation confused, contradicted and defeated. No wonder the nation reacted to her death by not silently but violently mourning. Was this a befitting tribute to a leader who had every chance to give her nation a perpetual peace and prosperity? Was the nation in her death telling her looted and robbed we feel – thus we resort to it?

The say bury the dead with their deeds.

Benazir Bhutto- I have tried to do it but failed. How do I bury you with your deeds when your deeds continue to affect national destiny and that too not positively?

Why did you not live up to my country’s hopes? Why did you deceive us?

Aung San Suu Kyi- your determined exuberance, your compassion for your people, your story of triumph of resolution reminds me of the young Benazir Bhutto who I thought cared for people.

Unlike her, let your triumph be your people triumph, let your decisions and actions be dictated by people’s will. Let national interest be paramount and your only genuine concern.

Let Burma not become Pakistan. Let your people not be as disillusioned and despaired as we are.

Do not test their resilience as hard as ours have been.

Let me live and die thinking democracy is a fairy tale – not a horror movie!

Will you please?




You have touched a very sensitive chord in my heart. Yes- Benazir was a symbol of hope and idol of many young Pakistanis like myself, hoping that she would be a savior and free us from the clutches of religious fundamentalist dictator..but Alas….she proved to be nothing else but yet another conductor playing the symphony orchestrated by others…with vested interests…which continue to bear fruits for people, in that scheme even today. Aung San Suu Kyi…is yet another symbol of hope for resistance against aggression and I now hope with all the strength of hope , setting aside all my cynicism……what else can you expect from an ordinary citizen of Pakistan …….that perhaps this time it is the victory of fairness, victory of people.

Great post!

Very touching account even though I personally never had any hopes attached to Benazir. Why is it so important to have democracy succeed? Do we really believe democracy to be the solution of all problems or is it because we desperately feel this is the only way we can prove ourselves to the western world?

Excellent article.I am the same age as Benazir and went to Convent just like her and do agree what she did was extremely bold,courageous,especially when she was not even raised to do something like this.
Sad part is she did not acknowledge some of the good things she did and never talked about them.
What I did not understand why she did not want to work on laws for women and made the white duppatta such a strong part of her clothing.
Overall she sacrificed herself for the Country,and the hard work to keep coming back up each time.Thanks Afra.

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