New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern paid homage to former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in an address at Harvard University.
“In June 1989, the Prime Minister of Pakistan stood on this spot and delivered the commencement address titled ‘Democratic nations must unite‘. She spoke about her journey, the importance of citizenry, representative government, human rights, and democracy,” said Jacinda while talking about Benazir.
“I met Benazir Bhutto in Geneva in June of 2007. We both attended a conference that drew together progressive parties from around the world. Just seven months, later she was assassinated.”
“There will be opinions and differing perspectives written about all of us as political leaders. Two things that history will not contest about Benazir Bhutto: she was the first Muslim female Prime Minister elected in an Islamic country, when a woman in power was a rare thing. She was also the first to give birth in office.”
“The second and only other leader to have given birth in office almost 30 years later was me,” added the New Zealand prime minister.
During the address she also revealed that her daughter, Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, was born on Benazir’s birthday, i.e. June 21.
Ardern borrowed words from Benazir Bhutto’s1989 Harvard Commencement address, “We must realise that democracy… can be fragile.”
“I read those words as I sat in my office in Wellington, New Zealand. A world away from Pakistan. And while the reasons that gave rise for her words then were vastly different, they still ring true.”
“Democracy can be fragile,” said Ardern.
“This imperfect but precious way that we organise ourselves, that has been created to give equal voice to the weak and to the strong, that is designed to help drive consensus — it is fragile.”
“For years it feels as though we have assumed that the fragility of democracy was determined by duration. That somehow the strength of your democracy was like a marriage – the longer you’d been in it, the more likely it was to stick.”
Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman shared the video and wrote, “Thank u Prime Minister Ardern.”
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