Four years ago today, Benazir Bhutto, the first woman ever elected to lead a Muslim state, was assassinated; an al-Qaeda minion claimed responsibility, but few, in and out of Pakistan, seemed to believe him.
That very day, a picture of Bhutto turned up in my browser cache, and I filed it away; I stumbled across it again last night while scrounging for Rule 5 material. I was reluctant to use it, not entirely sure that it was genuine.
Eventually I found an image from a newspaper in Montenegro that used the photo, but I was still a bit uneasy.
Then this showed up in a tab:
We can see where Benazir’s head was at here. She’s 18 and makes a small effort to wear a tunic but the flip in her hair and the “Free to Be You and Me” feel of her bell-bottomed outfit say more about the West than the East. It’s like she’s doing California doing India. Mrs Gandhi’s hair says she has better things to do than henna and primp. And Zulfiqar’s suit clearly echoes his time studying at Oxford. In other words: western and secular.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, of course, was Benazir’s dad, then the President of Pakistan.
Which brings me back to this photo, which surely dates to her period of self-exile in Dubai, from 1998 until the fall of 2007, when she thought she’d struck a deal with Pervez Musharraf. In Dubai, perhaps, you can get away with this:
Which means she was somewhere between 45 and 53, and that particular set of numbers was finally what persuaded me to run the photo: she was within a few months of my age.