this is an email i got this morning. all the links mentioned you will find here at codepink alert. however, we should not forget that mrs bhutto, at a point, was accused of corruption, too...
Our hearts and thoughts are with the Pakistani people as they mourn the death of Benazir Bhutto. We extend our deep sorrow to her family and the millions of supporters who for decades have seen the Bhutto family as a source of inspiration. We also extend our condolences to the families of the other Pakistanis who were killed in this heinous crime.
We at CODEPINK were in touch with the former Prime Minister when we were writing our book Stop the Next War Now. In fact, Bhutto graciously contributed an essay that was a plea to counter extremism and "a clash of civilizations that can lead to Armageddon, where there will be no winners on earth."
If Bhutto's death proves anything, it is the utter failure of Musharraf's regime and the utter failure of the Bush administration's policy of supporting Musharraf. Pakistani civil society has long been calling for Musharraf to resign. Now leaders like former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have added their voice to that call, publicly holding Musharraf responsible for Bhutto's death and demanding he step down.
CODEPINK agrees that Musharraf is the biggest obstacle facing a democratic Pakistan today. He is not capable of either fighting extremists or building a society that respects the rule of law. CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin and activist Tighe Barry recently had a taste of his dictatorial ways when they were kidnapped and carjacked at gunpoint by government agents, and then deported for supporting the pro-democracy movement. Click here for a piece by Medea Benjamin on Bhutto's death.
The US government must use this time to radically change its policy towards Pakistan. The Bush administration has been a staunch supporter of Musharraf, providing his regime with over $10 billion in financial aid since 2001. Musharraf's use of US funds to crack down on the country's democratic forces has led to growing anti-American sentiments among the nation's moderate, secular forces. Please click here to sign our petition calling on the U.S. government to withhold assistance until Musharraf steps down and a caretaker government restores the independent judiciary, lifts restrictions on the press and sets up the conditions for fair elections.
We should also begin to focus our attention on one of the key underlying causes for the growth of extremism in Pakistan: the extreme poverty that persists, especially in the tribal areas where al-Qaeda is most active.
Benazir Bhutto spoke about this in the essay she wrote for our book. Her words were poignant then, and are even more poignant upon her death:
"The neglect of rising poverty against the background of religious extremism can only complicate an already difficult world situation. The war against terrorism is primarily perceived as a war based on the use of force. However, economics has its own force, as does the desperation of families who cannot feed themselves.
"Militancy and greed cannot become the defining images of a new century that began with much hope. We must refocus our energy on promoting the values of democracy, accountability, broad-based government, and institutions that can respond to people's very real and very urgent needs."
Whether in Pakistan or in our home countries, we can pay tribute to Benazir Bhutto by dedicating ourselves to building a world based on tolerance, cooperation and fulfilling the urgent needs of the human family-which are the pillars of a more peaceful world.
Dana, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Ileana, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Rae, and Tighe