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Getting the Bangladesh story right

  • Published at 11:00 pm February 22nd, 2020

First World lawmakers who enjoy access to wide audiences need to take far more care 

Bangladesh may have its problems, but to categorize it as a “rogue state” is quite simply inaccurate and unacceptable. 

That the statement would come from Rupa Huq, one of four MPs in the UK of Bangladeshi origin, is even more disheartening and worrisome. 

Furthermore, drawing parallels between the situation in Bangladesh and that in either Palestine or Kashmir is so far wide of the mark that it barely merits a response. 

Bafflingly, Ms Huq has even questioned the identification of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the Father of the Nation, an utterly uncontroversial nomenclature, that no historian or political scientist anywhere in the world would take issue with.

Since Ms Huq considers herself “an MP for [the] whole wide world Bangladeshi diaspora,” it behooves her to educate herself a little about her country of supposed representation and to provide a fairer picture of it.

Nor is Ms Huq the only politician abroad to disparage Bangladesh of late. 

US Senator Chuck Grassley, in a recent op-ed he penned for Fox News, banded Bangladesh together with Russia and Sudan as countries whose citizens “face persecution for faith and religious beliefs” -- a statement that is profoundly misleading and unfair.

Bangladesh certainly has its problems, but statements such as these made by prominent foreign lawmakers do more harm than good, and can help to derail international public opinion in an unhelpful manner.

Bangladesh is not perfect. But we do strive to be a good global citizen. For instance, while our own resources are stretched thin, we have sheltered a million Rohingya within our borders, and are trying mightily to do the right thing, while many more affluent nations have stood by doing next to nothing in comparison. 

Nearly five decades ago, Bangladesh emerged from the ashes of a long war, and has faced an uphill battle on many fronts. However, it has made remarkable progress on many fronts, even if much remains to be done.  

First World lawmakers who enjoy access to wide audiences need to take far more care before issuing slipshod and harmful comments about a nation that, despite its flaws, is also getting so much right.