“Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West” by Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto, wrote Reconciliation: Islam and Democracy back in 2009 few months before she was assassinated. The book mainly explores the complicated history existing between the West and the Middle East. She makes use of the book to lay out her Islamic vision which according to her has been hijacked by extremists. The author proceeds to trace the origin of the terrorism prevailing across the globe. However, it is often hazardous to bridge the gap between the belief and the practice. To be precise, although Benazir is often castigated due to her failed attempt to keep her promises, she leaves behind a testament of her strong beliefs. All in all, the entire book amounts to a particular prescriptive diagnosis of the ailment of the Islamic body.
The opening pages of Bhutto’s Reconciliation provide disquieting experiences. It begins by describing her jubilation homecoming on October 18, 2007, which was followed by carnage. The books go ahead to avail details of her suicide attack which are horrific enough according to their context. However, in this section, Bhutto recounts her final months in Pakistan in gripping detail. She avails a bold agenda meant to stem the issue regarding Islamic radicalism and find out the tolerance and justice values that are comprised at the heart of her religion. Following the heart-stopping section of the October 18th description, we encounter another part which is written in a more scholarly tone.
In respect to this, Bhutto provides a defense to the Islamic religion against the outsiders and those within, who terms it as a religion that supports violence and inculcates fear. Therefore, in a more vigorous riposte to the latter, it is evident that she quotes verses from the Quran, which advocate for peace, democracy and those that forbid acts of violence. For instance, she exclaims “Allah tells us over and over again through the Quran,that he created people of different views and perspectives to see the world in different ways and that diversity is good” (185). Nonetheless, the author proceeds to elaborate that the Islam religion is not only compatible with democracy but is also written in such a way that its message provides empowerment to the people. But while she goes ahead to defend Islam religion, at no time does she waver in the constancy of her message regarding the increased need to criticize and change the world surrounding Muslim.
The point here lies in the fact it is evident that on various occasions, she points the rate at which the Muslims condemn the acts of violence by the West. She mentions that on the contrary, Ummah- the Muslim’s global community remains dumb concerning the acts of violence among the Muslims in Iraq, Darfur, and Afghanistan. Bhutto proceeds with another chapter that highlights the issue of democracy and Islam. In this section, she lays out questions concerning the political histories of various Muslim nations in a succinctness that at times borders on patchiness. It is evident that she associates religion rather than politics to the failure of the majority of the democracy in most of the nations. She then proceeds to mention that in most of the cases, the West has in one way or another played a vital role in the undermined democracy of having supported dictators.
In the same section, she mentions that justice cannot be fully developed overnight unless there is a fine line between autocracy and democracy. Ton affirms on her argument she states “democracy is defined not only by elections but by the democratic governance that should follow” (191). She says that the essential aspects of democracy are not primarily determined by free and fair elections but rather extend to protection of political rights those in political opposition and the judicial independence. In a nutshell, we may be tempted to think that her death leads to undermining her belief in the possibilities. However, it seems more relevant to keep the high Reconciliation spirit to conclude that there are various ways of countering those that use violence. For this reason, it beats logic to wait until tomorrow to do it.
Bhutto,, Benazir. Reconciliation: Islam And Democracy. 2009.