The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto's Assassination and Democracy in Pakistan

As all the world knows, Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, has been assassinated. I am not about to write an obituary, for others have done that, but I am going to comment on the wider meaning of this event.

Pakistan is a troubled country, that much is clear. It teeters on the brink of chaos. President Musharraf, who has been much criticized, has great difficulties ahead, in holding his nation together. That much is clear. However, tragic though it is for Benazir Bhutto's family and her party, the PPP (Pakistan People's Party), it has much wider implications for the prospects of democracy in Pakistan.

Already Nawaz Sharif, her political rival, and fellow opposition leader, has said his party will not run in the elections on January 8th. This is the first sign of the effects of this assassination. Politicians are human. They have hopes, fears and ambitions - and all of them, I am sure, have a deep-seated wish to live. Seeing a fellow politician murdered like this, simply for holding views not liked by the murderer will have a truly chilling effect on democracy in Pakistan. Would you, as a politician, like to say what you truly think and feel and campaign for what you truly believe in, if the consequence would be your own death - and the death of many others near you? Many people would falter at such a decision. They would do as Sharif has done: announce publicly that he will not run. I don't know the fullness of his decision making - but surely the fact that running could mean his own assassination no doubt has a great influence.

People of talent and gift, people who could contribute to the building of the Pakistani nation will remember what happened to Benazir Bhutto - and when they come to decide on what they would like to do with their lives, many who might otherwise have chosen to enter politics, may decide otherwise and choose to lead quieter, less influential lives. For what benefit is there in leading a life of influence if the penalty is death?

Ultimately, the long term future of Pakistan will suffer from this assassination rather more than people might anticipate. Relatively few people will be brave enough (or foolhardy enough) to challenge the status quo. Relatively few people will wish to upset the people, as yet undeclared, who prove to be behind this attack. Relatively few people will be truly free to engage in politics. In consequence, every Pakistani will be the poorer for it. A nation of 165 million people has lost a lot more than one charismatic political leader - they may have lost democracy itself.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and no months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and five months, and Tiarnan, twenty-two months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 2:37 PM 


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