BENAZIR : Farewell to Pakistan's CORY
directly following the footsteps
of our own
President Corazon Aquino,
two other women became symbols of democracy
in their countries, and is so doing,
became icons of freedom around the world.
Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma (now Myanmar)
Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.
They shared very similar histories:
Both their fathers were their nations' leaders,
and both men died by the gun.
Both daughters were forced into exile,
and both were educated at Oxford.
Both returned to their countries in 1988,
and both led revitalized opposition parties
to landslide wins in parliamentary elections.
In 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi was prevented from assuming
the office of Prime Minister by Burma's military junta.
She has been under house arrest for the past 17 years.
Benazir Bhutto served as Prime Minister of Pakistan
from 1988 to 1990, and again from 1993 to 1996.
Just two months ago, she began a political comeback
in her tumultuous country that was fast descending into chaos.
She was assassinated by a suicide bomber on December 27.
The picture below was taken
just moments before the tragedy,
one final look at a true paragon of courage.
Benazir was back once again with her people,
and sadly, this time, it was for good.
Her life taken much too soon,
but certainly, her death will resonate
in her native Pakistan, and all over the world,
for generations to come.
This tragedy brings me back to the late 1980s,
an era when it felt really good to be Pinoy,
perhaps the Philippines' proudest,
most influential moments ever on the world stage.
We've plummeted downwards since then,
going from the shining example that was Cory
back to Imeldific levels of hubris and corruption,
and I hope that Benazir's sacrifice will remind
some of our politicians that public service
is not all about personal avarice.
It's the Season of Hope, after all.
One can dream.