2007 was a year with so many important events to think and discuss but I entered the new year with something very ordinary disturbing me; the sacrifice of a teenager.
It is ordinary because we are sacrificing them daily. They are being sacrificed by goverments, states, religions, ideologies, beliefs and even by their own parents' hands. Many enter their teens with lost childhoods in poverty, hunger, abuse and wars, and ended lost in life. They are already in the agenda of our minds as well as international human rights organisations.
This particular teenager is rather privileged. He is given a name meaning "unique" / "without any equal".
He spent his life in richness, at the luxury of big cities around the world. He is described as a keen sportsman, enjoying cricket, shooting, horse-riding and Taekwondo. He is in the middle of his wonderful education at Oxford.
His mother was describing her own teens at 16, when she attended to Harvard University as; "I cried and cried and cried because I had never walked to classes in my life before, I'd always been driven to school in a car and picked up in a car, and here I had to walk and walk and walk. It was cold, bitterly cold, and I hated it ... but it forced me to grow up." It shouldn't be much different for him.
When Bilawal Bhutto Zardari made his first public appearance before the world, his father announced the boy would from now on be known by his mother's name - Bhutto. Bilawal found himself inheriting one of the most celebrated and cursed names in politics only 3 days after his mother's assassination.
He had borned at the year Soviets begin Perestroika and withdraw from Afghanistan after 8 year long war, Saddam government carried out the Halabja chemical attack on Kurds and ended the war with Iran which costed a million lives. Mordechai Vanunu who sentenced to 18 years in prison for disclosing Israel's nuclear program at the same year already get out of prison. Saddam who was supported by US at the time of his birth, executed only a year before his mother's assassination.
It was the year father Bush became the President of US and his mother became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. It is ironic that the son Bush is still in power while Bilawal is preparing to take his mother's place.
He was at the family home in Dubai for the winter break from university when he learned his mother's death. He is chosen as the chairman of the Pakistan People's Party in a few days, with his father's support and mother's will. It is a party founded and always led by a Bhutto. So his father decided to change his name immediately to Bhutto Zardari.
His mother was 25 when her father executed and 34 when she begin leading the PPP. He is only 19 facing his mother's assassination, at the beginning of his education. His mother had an arranged marriage for the sake of her political activities. God knows what kind of arrangements are waiting him.
Bilawal cannot run for office until he is 25. He will be used by his father and PPP as an image and heir to political dynasty. Will he be a tool of nepotism without his own will? A tool for his father's greed? Will he be able to become a healthy man with such a family inheritance, what he had to live and will live with the threats to his life and under strict protection? Time will show.
Carl Jung says; "Nothing has a stronger influence on their children than the unlived lives of their parents."
I am not sure if there is a name given to family wide political greed. It is reported that Mumtaz Bhutto, head of the Bhutto tribe is against Zardari's rise using his son; "Zardari is an illiterate man. He has no political background or experience. He will not be able to conduct himself as the same level as Benazir,
most unfortunate," he announces; "He is a Zardari (Bileval), you can't just change it like that. The mantle should have passed to a Bhutto, because it came into existence and survived on the name and sweat and blood of the Bhutto family."
Not only Pakistan is in deep feudal conflicts as a country but those feudal tribes have their own inner conflicts too. Benazir fall in conflicts with other family members including her own brothers. It is still a mystery if she had a role in her own brother's assassination.
Conflicts inherited in the family beside their bloody fate. Bilewal is not the only one from the new generation. For now there is Fatima Bhutto (Murtaza Bhutto's daughter) who is a poet and political writer at the age of 25, and known with her strong critics to her aunt. Her brother Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Junior is only 18 yet.
She is described as clever and impassioned. Some consider this young beautiful Columbia graduate as possible heir to the Bhutto political dynasty. She didn't entered politics and even her step-mother's party, a splinter from Bhutto's PPP-SB (Shaheed Bhutto). She was already considered as a thread to Benazir's political future while she was still alive.
After Benazir returned to Pakistan, surviving a suicide bombing, Fatima criticized her aunt, referring her as "Mrs Zardari" and accused bearing the responsibility for all deaths and injuries, named her as "the most dangerous woman in Pakistan". But still traumatized with her aunt's assassination she wrote; "Honestly, I am at a loss. I am compounded in a state of shock... I have yet to bury a family member who has died a natural death," recalling her father, who was shot, her uncle Shahnawaz who was poisoned, and her aunt Benazir, assassinated, "This isn't about me, it's about those whom we have lost. It's about the graveyard ... that is just too full".
Whether it is because she is 6 years older than Bilewal, or lived a harder life, or she had a good education and interested in politics for a time... or whither it is because her eyes shines with intelligence, she is certainly clever in her interviews; "I don't believe my name automatically qualifies me, or makes me the best person. In a country like Pakistan where is politics is often an art form of the elite, and it's often very dynastic, it's hard to explain to people why I don't think it's a birthright. But no, I'm not going to run for elections this January or February whenever Musharraf claims its going to happen. I'd only do it if I felt I could make a positive difference. But I feel like writing is best for now."
Fatima already announced how wise she is saying she wants to"learn the ropes before climbing the electoral ladder". Nowadays, at least, all 3 of them Fatima, Bilaval and Zulfikar Junior told not to give any interviews by the family. Zulfikar Junior has the moral protection of mother Ghinwa, not even letting mentioning his name as the heir of dynasty. Though he must be the real and only heir according to the feudal and Islamic understanding of the family.
Bilawal put on the altar of politics to sacrifice by his father. Who may now when the gods will claim his life or if it is already gone.
Ever body discuss Pakistan's future, I can't keep my self thinking Bilawal's. And remembering the poem of Khalil Gibran;
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.