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people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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Benazir Bhutto
children of dune - leto 1
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. -- CNN

In The Canadian Press:

Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister and leader of a rival opposition party, rushed to the hospital and addressed the crowd.

"Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death," Sharif said. "Don't feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers."

Senator Babar Awan, Bhutto's lawyer, said, "The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred."

I'm aware that hyperbole is common and almost necessary for any decent speech, but for some reason, I keep stopping at martyred and feeling deeply, deeply nervous. "Shining light", "tragedy", "assassination", "expired", "murdered", strong words, but not quite as loaded with history and power, with edges of religious fevor spliced with promises of revenge, not on the perpetrators (general), but the rulers, specific.

People kill for ideas all the time, but they'll damn well thrown themselves on top of bombs for the concept of a martyr.

Also odd change in that wording on those depending on source. Hmm.

ETA: Forgot. Clear explanation of context by miss_porcupine and serabut here and ileliberte here.

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In the context of Musharref's declaration of marshall law in all but name, and Bhutto's decision to return *after* the country plunged into political turmoil, I can somewhat understand the amount of hyperbole. Whether Bhutto is depicted as a savior or a politician without credibility (the ongoing accusations of cronyism and misappropriation of government funds) depends in large part on the stance of the speaker.

Sadly, I've been expecting something like this ever since she returned to the country. It's been a bad year for them.


What actually weirded me out was an article when I googled--the same terminology was used in an article regarding the death of three soldiers in Kashmir.


It's very--something. I'm just not sure what yet.

That is indeed disturbing language.

oh sorry! I missed answering!

The 'rulers' bit was--unnerving a little.

Considering she was wiped out by Islamic extremists for not going along with them, 'martyred' isn't such a strange word and it fits the context of her death. She was murdered for failing to renounce her beliefs (democracy, secularism, modernity), which, by any definition, is martyrdom.

Sharif, Bhutto, and even Musharraf are about as secular as you're going to get in a country where half of the (very powerful) army and ISI are working in open sympathy with al-Qaeda. Pakistan is a hotbed of honor killings, an exporter of radicalism, and a safe harbor for terrorists.

Not so much strange as--hmm. Randomly googling after I thought about it, it shows it being used in the place of killed, murdered, assassinated, died in the line of duty. Granted, Islamic countries mix their religion in more thoroughly than the US does on any level.

Well, to offer a cultural Muslim pov, fwiw (according to my own flawed understanding: am raised a Muslim, but crucially, not from a South Asian Muslim culture), to use the word 'martyr' at this sense is pretty much turning the table on the attackers. They're basically saying that her death is the most exalted death of all (all this can be seen in tangible ways: for example, if she is officially termed to have died a 'syuhada'/'martyr', for her funeral rites, her body doesn't need to go through ritual purification, as it is already considered 'pure'), and that implies, in the end, she won.

I have a feeling I'm not conveying this very well. I also happen to come from a Muslim culture where these things are so very largely in the abstract as well. YMMV

*points above* I think miss_porcupine phrased it much better.

Contextually, "martyred" works. She died in pursuit of a cause of value or belief system she valued, to the point she was willing to risk her life, and in the end did.

However, situationally, powder keg, meet match. This will be a catalyst for ... something.


Yeah. I'm wondering that too. Though I was wondering the same thing with Myanmar as well since the monks protested.

Hmm. I know it's not unique that there's unrest in many places at the same time, since some of the unrest has never stopped. But it's still--it feels almost overwhelming in the last few months.

I'm not surprised at all that she was killed. But I do think the martyr thing is about a deeper issue; the terminology isn't being randomly used, and in context, these folks feel it's appropriate. She was murdered because she opposed Muslim extremists; there's a lovely catch-all phrase, 'martyr to the cause,' which allows a mix of the religious and secular overtones. 'of freedom' is a frequently appended phrase, and I do think 'martyr to the cause of freedom' applies here.

*nod* I'm not disagreeing. I just wasn't sure what kind of context that has in that country; said in America, where we're (nominally) secular, it would have an automatic secular translation. With Pakistan's union of politics and religion, I couldn't quite work out if it was a purely political use of religious-martyr, actual link to religion, or a secular term for them in this context.

Out of interest, how do you feel about the use of the word 'martyr' in reference to Martin Luther King? Or in reference to Yitzhak Rabin?

Not trying to be perverse here - I do understand the sense of 'ooooooh shit', and am thanking my lucky stars that my friend (who's been living in Pakistan for the past 3 years) has now returned to the UK - she had plenty of stress and excitement while she was there, but goodness knows what all this is going to lead to. Hell, the expert guy that the Beeb were interviewing after the news broke seemed to think that the odds were pretty good that the Taliban-influenced extremist crazyheads were going to start having a real impact on the middleclass liberal types, and that it could all be a real seachange. Which - not a cheering prospect.

So, yeah - I'd say that I find this "we will take revenge on the rulers" talk more disturbing than the use of the word 'martyr', because I think that's the appropriate word to use of someone who is murdered for their beliefs.

In America, where we're (relatively) secular, I translate to the secular sense without a problem. It's more problematic (mentally) to me to make a translation in a country whose politics *are* the religion as well, so I couldn't make a cultural translation very clearly--was it political rhetoric only, a cross religious-political, secular, etc.

And thrown up right after "revenge of rulers" was a blink moment for me of huh.

What interested me immediately was that the 'surgeon confirmed she was a martyr'. 0.o How does one assess the remains so as to discover martyrdom? Additionally, I join you in hmmmm.

You know, between CNN and BBC, I could literally do nothing else today but read on this and still not hit everything.

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