‘Pakistan: the Aftermath’

‘Pakistan: the Aftermath’ by Tariq Ali for Counterpunch, December 31, 2007

“Arranged marriages can be a messy business. Designed principally as a means of accumulating wealth, circumventing undesirable flirtations or transcending clandestine love affairs, they often don’t work. Where both parties are known to loathe each other, only a rash parent, desensitised by the thought of short-term gain, will continue with the process knowing full well that it will end in misery and possibly violence. That this is equally true in political life became clear in the recent attempt by Washington to tie Benazir Bhutto to Pervez Musharraf. The single, strong parent in this case was a desperate state department–with John Negroponte as the ghoulish go-between and Gordon Brown as the blushing bridesmaid—fearful that if it did not push this through both parties might soon be too old for recycling.”

I wrote this opening paragraph in a lengthy essay for the London Review of Books earlier this month. That the violence would come so soon afterwards took me aback. The first shock of Benazir Bhutto’s killing is now receding and it’s necessary to evaluate the likely outcome dispassionately, avoiding the piety that occupies so much space in the global media. Virtually everything being written or shown on television screens is specious and designed to avoid discussing the real issues at stake. read more

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