Songs of Blood and Sword – Fatima Bhutto’s Upcoming Book
Songs of Blood and Sword is the title of Fatima Bhutto’s upcoming book. The subtitle of the book reads, ‘A daughter’s Memoir’. I think the book would be interesting for that would be the first time someone as close as a daughter would write about a man who had been always dubbed as a ‘terrorist’, ‘a non-serious politician’, ‘a villain’ and what not.
Fatima shared a close bond with her father. One can feel the love and pining in an anthology of her poems titled Whispers of the Desert (that was published when she was 15) and also when she used to write a column A Hundred Beats for The News International, she wrote down a detailed account of that fateful day when her father got assassinated. She was home with her kid brother waiting for their father to return to play a game of basketball with them but their world turned upside down when Murtaza Bhutto got killed in a fake encounter outside his Karachi residence. It’s been almost 14 years to that day and the bereaved family still awaits justice.
I remember once I had mailed her asking what she had to say regarding the sensational revelations in Raja Anwar’s book The Terrorist Prince about Murtaza Bhutto. She replied that his book was mostly based on hearsay as the author himself was jailed in Afghanistan at that time and then she added that Anwar didn’t publish the book when Murtaza was alive tells a lot about his integrity. At that time the author was living in exile in Germany and published the book after Murtaza’s assassination. Both those points carried weight. I have read The Terrorist Prince and though it is a fast paced book that set the conspiracy theorist drooling I too found it based on the continuous hearsay – the author frequently quotes others (without actually witnessing the incident) and also that book has a sensational tone while any serious and authentic history book should be exclusive of such sensationalism.
Those were the days when Fatima used to stay in touch with her readers. She did reply to several of my emails, especially the ones where I had raised valid points regarding the content in her articles. She doesn’t reply to emails now. I don’t know whether she doesn’t find it worthwhile or is it that replying is a time consuming job. She wrote in her article titled Frequently Asked Questions published in The News International on September 2nd 2007:
When I started writing this column just about a year ago, I made a decision to put my email address at the bottom of my article. It isn’t a phantom address or a lonely inbox that I created specifically for this column; it’s my only email address. I am the only with access to it and I do my best to read and reply to all the letters I receive.
Then she further quotes some FAQs and her replies like:
FAQ 1: I’ve read some of your articles online and wanted to write and ask you what you do?
Uh. This. This is what I do. It’s not a nine to five job but it’s my job. I write. It’s not exactly strenuous but it’s what I love to do and it takes up a lot of my time, thank you very much.
FAQ 4: Seriously though, if you won’t give me your cell number, could we at least make friendship?
In the end she writes:
And by the way that’s not me on Orkut either.
I remember someone had created her fake account on Orkut and had thousands of friends. I never added her!
The fact that the book has been authored by Fatima Bhutto is enough to make me excited. I have read many political and personal memoirs before but not by a writer as young as her. The other thing I appreciate about her is that she doesn’t get involved in the mud-slinging so typical of the politics in the sub-continent. I have no idea if that is her virtue or weakness but her anguish is always subtle and sarcastic that not many people tend to understand anyway.
I would try to get hold of that book as soon as it comes out. These days she is promoting her book. She tweets @fbhutto. It took me some time to come to terms with the fact that it was the ‘real’ Fatima given the nature of her tweets. I do her like tweets sometimes such as when she tweeted: Sabeen just mentioned a couple & said happiness was in sight for them. ‘Divorce?’ I asked. Silence. No, they’re getting married she said. I just loved the sarcasm. Similarly, she expressed her dislike for Facebook: If it was a choice between world peace or me joining Facebook, the world would burn. I couldn’t agree MORE with Fatima on that one. Let the world burn, I’m better off Facebook!