Review: Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West

cvr_reconciliation-islam-democracy-and-the-west-by-benazir-bhuttoReconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West, by Benazir Bhutto

MY RATING: 3/5 Stars

FTC NOTICE: Purchased Book, 2016 Library Thing Santa Thing

RELATED MOVIE(S): Bhutto (2008) Trailer (IMDB)

REVIEW: “I return to Pakistan after eight years abroad on October 18, 2007, and was greeted in Karachi by crowds estimated by Sindhi press and party officials to be up to three million people. It was a moment I have dreamt of for so many years. I was overwhelmed by emotion as I touched the land of my birth and saw the love of the people. It was a love I returned with all my heart and soul.  Politics started out as a duty for me. Over the years of pain, suffering, sacrifice, and separation, of young men and women tortured and killed, it had become an all-consuming passion” (218). An equal level of commitment resulted in “Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West,” becoming the last book written by the first-ever, female prime minister of a Muslim country; her name was Benazir Bhutto.

Reconciliation” was divided into six chapters with clearly defined elements: Islam’s saga, democratic ideals, Pakistan’s internal strife and dichotomous relations with the United States (who she repeatedly asserted as a nation pursuing arbitrary democracy), “clash of civilizations”, the need for a changed vocabulary, and fear of her nation being disintegrated from within. She successfully argued that “to understand Pakistani politics, an understanding of Pakistan’s provinces and their characteristics is necessary” (158). Over time, the reader could recognize that the author became stuck in a political quagmire; and, despite the fact that Bhutto needed the USA, she seemed to dedicate a good portion of her book to rant against her greatest ally.

Overall, I recognized that “Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West,” served as a plea for dialogue, understanding, change, help and recognition. Unfortunately, this book’s preachy and academic approach caused me to skim some of the material. Sometimes I felt like the author was speaking down to the reader; yet, fragments reflected how she wrote so beautifully, so passionately, that you could visualize where she was and feel what Bhutto felt in that moment. It set my expectations for the rest of the piece. Ultimately, the writings could not maintain a significant quantity of that communication style to reflect a higher star rating.


Review: Getting Away with Murder: Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan

cvr_getting-away-with-murder-benazir-bhuttos-assassination-and-the-politics-of-pakistanGetting Away with Murder: Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan by Heraldo Muñoz

MY RATING: 4/5 Stars

FTC NOTICE: Library Book

REVIEW: Benazir Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, addressed the United Nations with the goal of encouraging it to create an investigation into his wife’s murder. Heraldo Munoz, a Chilean journalist, lived in a country with seemingly no intense political nor economic interest in Pakistan. His work revealed a compelling set of credentials, inclusive of having “presided over the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council during 2003 and 2004” (16), which may have ultimately explained why he received “a request from the (UN) Secretary General…to lead a commission to investigate the assassination Pakistan’s former prime minister Benazir Bhutto” (15).

“WHAT WE KNEW about the day of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination before initiating our investigation was confusing and contradictory. There were disagreements about basic facts and much controversy about the assassin or assassins, the cause of death, the former prime minister’s entourage, and what the behavior of the police had been” (31). The aforementioned existed as wide-spread knowledge; but, Getting Away with Murder: Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan served to share details surrounding this historically significant event. The author also delved into Pakistan’s (and the Bhutto family’s) history, US-Pakistan relations, Pakistan’s relationships with its neighbors, changes of leadership, evolution of the Taliban, plus the roles of religion and the military.

Getting Away with Murder achieved all of the author’s stated goals. I found the piece to be a compellingly-written and highly-insightful read that could have been completed in a single day. Unfortunately, post-investigation content did not maintain an equal level of cohesiveness and relevance to the book’s preceding chapters; so, my interest level waned a little bit.