Bhutto’s autobiography, Daughter of Destiny (published in 1988 as Daughter of the East), tells a completely unique story. Bhutto was the first woman prime minister of a Muslim country (Pakistan), and she first went through years of struggle, including years of solitary confinement, before she could be an example of democracy.
Much of her autobiography was written prior to 1988, before she was elected prime minister. She says she wrote it “to set down the record of the brutal Martial Law regime of General Zia ul-Haq” (page 374). The remainder of her book shares how she was briefly allowed to serve the country and restore some democratic freedoms before a dictatorship again gained control of the country.
Despite all the drama with which Bhutto wrote, for much of the time I was reading, I fundamentally didn’t understand the import of resisting the regime. From my couch in the USA, it seemed to be an unnecessary, violent political struggle. Then I read a letter Bhutto received from a political prisoner:
I prefer to be hanged than live under the oppressor. To give in is not our principle. We are not ready to call a donkey a horse, or black or white, out of fear of Martial Law. (page 276)
I finally understood a little bit what it meant to live under a dictator: it meant denying what you know to be true because you’re threatened.
That type of understanding is why I read about the histories of other cultures. I feel I cannot relate at all: I live in a peaceful country and have my entire life. Bhutto’s story is one of a country that had been (relatively) peaceful her entire life (for she was born into an independent Pakistan), until a military dictator took over the democratically elected government and established military rule.
Benazir Bhutto shares her passion for Pakistan, the people of Pakistan, and democracy in her autobiography. I only wish it were better told: Daughter of Destiny had serious flaws that made it a frustrating read. (more…)
I can finally recommend something related to the Three Cups of Tea story.
Remember how I hated listening to the audiobook of Three Cups of Tea, which felt like a journalistic report despite being called a memoir? My mother loved Three Cups of Tea and thought it was wonderful, so I enlisted her help in writing my post for Rebecca Reads: I shared a Counterpoint post, with each of us writing our thoughts of the book.
Long story short: The issue of my “hating” Three Cups of Tea was revived last week by someone who wasn’t so happy with my very scathing review. Hate, apparently, is too strong a word, considering Greg Mortenson is in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize. (FYI, apparently more than 100 people are nominated each year.) Despite that, I still thought that the character described in the book is not a likeable person: he’s a bit too flighty for me to trust with my money. Besides, the book dragged along with horribly unnecessary details. I had to reiterate to my visitor that I have no intention of rereading Three Cups of Tea, but if the story were completely rewritten I may revisit the issue. (I said, “If Greg’s story is rewritten by a different author in a completely revamped structure, I may consider revisiting it.”)
Well, it has been rewritten. Twice. (more…)
I disliked Three Cups of Tea; my mother loved it. Read our counterpoints. (more…)
I am not very familiar with the political situation before, during, and after World War II. But after reading the best speeches of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, I am impressed that his powerful, confident speeches were a deciding factor in the perseverance of the United Kingdom through the trying times of World War II. I loved reading his political speeches: though my situation is different, his powerful words buoy me. (more…)
As I mentioned recently, I minored in “International Studies” in college. I took courses in political history, U.S. international relations, anthropology, and sociology. I also took one economics class, but I don’t recall a thing about it. My minor was too broad, because I don’t remember very much, and it’s only been five years. I also didn’t read well.
When people started mentioning magazines they read for Weekly Geeks, I realized that I used to read The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and other political newspapers and magazines on a regular basis. Since graduation, I haven’t read them. But I greatly enjoyed political subjects: Why don’t I make time to read those things? (more…)