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Bhutto's Assassination Shocks LA Pakistani Community

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Yesterday's tragic assassination of Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has shocked and angered the world and the tide of emotion is strong in LA's community of Pakistani-Americans.

The Daily News reports that many in LA knew Bhutto was in danger, but still found the news shocking. Others saw this as an obvious progression in the tragic line of assassinations and events that have plagued Bhutto's family. Many believe that power is at the root of her death:

"Her father was assassinated and so were two brothers - her whole family has been wiped out just like the Kennedys," said Los Angeles Pakistani-American businessman Yaqub Dada, a longtime personal friend of the Bhutto family. "Why? Only God knows the truth, but, basically, everything is related to power and nothing else."

A few local Pakistani-Americans even expressed frustration at Bhutto's own lack of awareness about how the safety and gun-culture in Pakistan has changed in recent years and hinted that she was part of her own undoing, "Despite Bhutto's intelligence and sophistication, she was a victim of hubris - the belief that her charisma, popularity and political ego protected her." Most, however, preferred to focus instead on who Bhutto was and why she inspired so many. Amy Wilentz has
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a powerfully moving op-ed piece in today's LA Times that focuses on the complicated woman she's known for several years. Similarly, Bhutto's charismatic life and the hope she brought to millions of Pakistanis was remembered yesterday through tears and shared memories:
Qazi, a 15-year-old student at Granada Hills Charter School, said she was impressed to learn Bhutto had been her country's first woman prime minister, as well as the world's first woman Muslim leader. "She was really determined to do something good for her country," said Qazi.

Local Pakistani-Americans are strongly divided on what Bhutto's death means for the future of Pakistan, with many feeling the hope for democracy has died. Time will tell if the optimism Bhutto inspired will find a new opposition leader to bring democracy to the country she fought so hard to change.

Photo by art es ana via Flickr