At the Harvard University Commencement on 26th May, 2022, New Zealand’s prime minister took the stage at Harvard University to speak to graduates. She is one the most popular leader around the world and the whole world listens to her. She also won standing ovations for her government’s gun control laws, diversity and decriminalization of abortion.
Developing her theme of trying to combat online extremists such as the recent attacks, Ardern connected the problem to the defence of democracy.
One of the inspiring moment of PM Jacinda Arden speech was when she emphasized the need for democratic systems and informed debate. She remembered Benazir Bhutto’s 1989 speech at the university, in which she mentioned the “fragility of democracy.”
“I met Benazir Bhutto in Geneva in June of 2007. We both attended a conference that drew together progressive parties from around the world. Seven months later she was assassinated,” Ardern said in her commencement address. “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.”
Ardern said about Bhutto’s own 1989 commencement address at Harvard entitled “Democratic nations must unite.” “She said part way through her speech in 1989 the following: ‘We must realise that democracy can be fragile’,” Ardern said. “Now 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.”
Benazir Bhutto not only was first elected Prime Minister but also the first Muslim political leader who struggled against dictatorship in her country Pakistan for so long. She was the most progressive face of Pakistan. An inspiration not only for women but men too.
Benazir Bhutto son, Bilawal Bhutto the current foreign minister of Pakistan, responded with these words in a grateful tone to PM Arden: The mindset that assassinated shaheed Benazir Bhutto must know their mission failed. You assassinated a women, a mother, a leader. You canot assassinate her vision, her ideology or memory. She continues to inspire & guide us from her grave. Benazir Bhutto lives.”