Saturday, February 9, 2008
Colleagues, friends remember Bhutto
By Lauren Garrison
NEW HAVEN — Friends and colleagues of slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto remembered her at a memorial service at Yale University’s Dwight Memorial Chapel Friday as a shrewd and passionate politician, a strong-willed and outspoken woman and a courageous champion of democracy.
Many of the speakers at the service had known Bhutto for decades and recalled for the audience sides of Bhutto not familiar to the public.
Yolanda Kodrzycki, a senior economist and policy adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and a college friend of Bhutto’s at Harvard, reminded the audience that in her younger days, Bhutto was not known by her given first name. Instead, everybody called her “Pinkie.” Pinkie was not a celebrity when she came to Harvard, said Kodrzycki, but she became known for always speaking her mind, even when her viewpoint was unpopular. And, said Kodrzycki, Pinkie “expressed her views most staunchly when defending her country and her father,” former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Kodrzycki also remembered Pinkie as outspoken on her friends’ choice of suitors. One time, she tried to play matchmaker for Kodrzycki.
Linda Birde Francke spoke fondly of the time she spent collaborating with Bhutto on her 1989 autobiography, “Daughter of Destiny,” work they often did late at night, sprawled on Bhutto’s bed. Once during Ramadan, when Bhutto was prohibited from campaigning, she decided to give Francke a makeover, and painted her fingernails and toenails. Prior to that, said Francke, Bhutto would apologize for Francke’s “no-nonsense appearance” when introducing her to friends.
Another time, Francke took Bhutto along to an aerobics class because Bhutto was always complaining she didn’t get enough exercise. Midway through the class, Bhutto stopped participating and sat down on the floor. When the instructor asked if she was all right, she said she was fine but had read that one should do 20 minutes of exercise a day. She had now done her 20 minutes, she said.
Bhutto was always “wonderful and generous and outgoing,” said Francke. She was also a compulsive e-mailer and called her Blackberry mobile device her “Crackberry.”
Peter Galbraith, shown above, bottom, another Harvard friend of Bhutto’s who later worked with her when he served as U.S. ambassador to Croatia, described the “poise, charisma, judgment and courage” Bhutto showed when faced with obstacle after obstacle in her political work in Pakistan. Ultimately, he said, Bhutto’s two terms as prime minister of the country were “disappointing” and she achieved few of her “ambitious goals,” which he attributed largely to the power of an “entrenched military unwilling to live with democracy” in Pakistan.
Despite these failings, Anne Fadiman, the Francis Writer-in-Residence at Yale, said her friend, Bhutto, “resembled a modern politician less than she resembled a Homeric warrior.”
Owen Fiss, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale, said Bhutto possessed “a steely courage upon which every democracy depends.”
Her assassination is “a democratic tragedy” in that it leaves the Pakistan Peoples Party without an effective leader, he said, but more importantly because it reminds all other aspiring political leaders “how deadly the vocation of politics can truly be.”
Lauren Garrison can be reached at 789-5614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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