In an article published by Newsweek, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been praised as the real heroine of the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis.
The leaders of neighbouring countries, Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi are currently at the center of media attention across the globe.
The lives of the two leaders bear striking similarities, the article said. Both were born during the turbulent 1940s, during the first dash to independence for many Asian nations.
Both of their fathers, Gen Aung San and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are regarded as the founding fathers of their respective nations and both were assassinated by political rivals.
Sheikh Hasina and Suu Kyi spent a part of their lives in Delhi. Suu Kyi was in Delhi as a student in the 1960s, and Sheikh Hasina was in exile there, after the assassination of her father and most of his family members in 1975.
Suu Kyi has a much larger following in the West, since she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her campaign to restore democracy in Myanmar.
According to the article, “the lady of Dhaka” may not translate as readily for Western consumption as “the lady of Yangon,” but the Rohingya crisis is undoubtedly Sheikh Hasina’s moment.
Sheikh Hasina has shown greater compassion than many leaders from larger and richer countries, by accepting thousands of Rohingya refugees in a poor and densely populated country, the article said.
The article ended with a quote from Sheikh Hasina herself: “Bangladesh is not a rich country, but we have a big heart.”