Like you, I am devastated by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. She stood as one of the very few woman leaders with the political power to make lasting change on behalf of women, families and humanity at large, especially in this charged political environment.
After losing her father and brothers to military extremists, Bhutto continued to believe in the democratic process, and continued to draw strength from her belief as a young woman that she could, in fact, become Prime Minister of her nation.
While in office, Benazir Bhutto brought electricity to the countryside of Pakistan and built schools all over the country. She made hunger, housing, and health care her top priorities, and spoke with determination about continuing to modernize Pakistan. While she was clearly not without controversy, her intellectual brilliance, passionate pursuit of human rights, and fierce optimism will be her enduring legacy.
I deeply hope that her death will not be in vain, and that leaders and cultural workers everywhere will be emboldened to follow her lead of unwavering faith in the good of humanity in the face of tremendous evidence to the contrary.
I also hope that in the coming reflections on her life, the fact that Bhutto was a woman is not overlooked or downplayed. Her assassination is a clear sign of mounting aggression toward women leaders who believe in a humanitarian --and not purely militaristic-- response to unfolding events.
I hope that female leaders everywhere will use this opportunity to continue to articulate and further the struggle for the global empowerment of women. Bhutto's assassination marks a critical moment, not only for the stability of the modern world, but for the safety of women at large.
I send love and continued hope to Benazir Bhutto's children and extended family, and to the women, men and children of Pakistan. And of course, to all of you.