Benazir Bhutto and Pakistani Politics

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto, Former Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, was assassinated today after a political rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Over a dozen of her supporters were killed and many more were injured. At least one of the attackers is dead. More details are still being gathered.

I am amazed at the level of violence and hatred brooding in the hearts of men bringing them to commit such evil. I join with others in condemning this cowardly act. There is little strength in violence.

My wife and I first heard Ms. Bhutto at a speaking engagement eight years ago. At the time Bhutto was living in exile as the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Her remarks were impressive. She spoke of the politics of personal destruction, the double standards between men and women, and the plight of those in Pakistan not knowing when the next elections will take place or if there will be elections.

She was pleased to tell us that there were no honor killings (The parents of a woman killing her for dishonoring the family) under her administration in Pakistan. She told us that the same organization that carried out the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, attempted to assassinate her. Little did we know that band of criminals would become a household name three years later.                                 

Two things she told us stand out in my mind today:

Your responsibilities to life are greater than your own wantings

In times of crisis, it is your caring for others that is your greatest strength

I do not know the details of Ms. Bhutto’s administration or the intricacies of her controversies, but I know that the winds of life can carry us into paths we have not chosen and today she has paid the ultimate price for choosing to speak out and return to Pakistan.

May the Pakistani people overcome this attack and not let it be fuel for continued destruction.

Learning and Pandemic Readiness

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This is an update toFlu Pandemic: Compliance or Readiness” posted in February.

As of November 12, 2007 the World Health Organization has confirmed 335 cases of H5N1 in humans. Nearly two thirds of those infected have died (206 deaths). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is funding pandemic planning activities across the nation, yet for many organizations this is not a priority. It’s not even on the back burner.   

Imagine all organizations (vendors, customers, utilities, etc.) experiencing 35% absenteeism (35% is the projection). In that environment, our current model of “just in time” economics will not succeed.

Organizations need to develop contingency plans by trouble shooting to identify options for a successful strategy. Training professionals need to be at the core of this endeavor. Will your team be ready to deliver a life saving message when the time arrives? For a high level overview for the issue, watch Scott McPherson and Elliott Masie’s discussion, Learning and Pandemic Readiness recorded at The MASIE Center’s Learning 2007 this past October.  

These particular plans may not need to be put into action (Although an epidemiologists friend at the CDC says it’s only a matter of time before a pandemic strikes). It may not be bird flu that hits us, but as Dwight D. Eisenhower said, In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.