There something selfish about how we Americans approach the world, manifesting it through our own experiences and memories. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto seems to be no exception. I can almost see the gunman in the grassy knoll as reporters and analysts throw out allusions and comparisons to the JFK assassination.

Manan Ahmed’s last post drives this home:

The American blogosphere seems obsessed with figuring out how she died …

Yes, it’s so American. And as he points out, it’s not the time to engage far flung speculations. It’s not that the story is unfolding, but that it has caused waves of reaction that are stories of their own, present in our comments and thoughts in only the most facile way. A change has occurred, leaving Manan’s friend uneasy:

As events have unfolded since December 27 it is definitley not just spontaneous reaction of Benazir’s death; it is a well orchestrated move for anarchy and to destabilze the country.

I am selfish enough to grasp onto this: to see the assassination as a pretext greater violence. Bhutto’s assassination is not Kennedy, but Jaurès! Rather than an isolated event, it is a step toward the unleashing of hostility and resentment that has already been brewing. (see also: Rabin, Habyarimana)

I’m not entirely alone making this comparison. Bernard Dugué found the similarities in how political enemies have been demonized shocking. “They killed Bhutto” sounds so much like “they killed Jaurès.”

C’est un fanatique nationaliste qui assassina Jaurès et un fanatique islamiste qui a tué Benazir. Mais le pluriel s’impose. Il faut dire « Ils ».

It was a nationalist fanatic who killed Jaurès and an Islamist fanatic who killed Bhutto. But the plural imposes itself. We must say “they.”

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