Update: 30 September, 2017 15:58 PM
Is Suu Kyi the real heroine of the Rohingya crisis?

Is Suu Kyi the real heroine of the Rohingya crisis?

Sadanand Dhume is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He writes a column over the ongoing Rohingya crisis in Asia published in the Newsweek on September 29.

The Daily Kaler Kantho took the column and published unchanged for its readers…

In my Wall Street Journal column this week, I contrast the leaders of two neighboring countries in the news lately — Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina.

Though Ms. Suu Kyi is far better known in the West than Ms. Hasina, the two leaders’ lives bear striking similarities. Both were born in the turbulent 1940s, during the first flush of independence for many postcolonial Asian nations.

Their fathers — Gen. Aung San and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman — are regarded as the founding fathers of their nations. Political rivals assassinated both of them.

An additional piece of trivia: Both leaders spent a part of their lives in Delhi, Suu Kyi as a student in the 1960s, and Hasina in exile after the 1975 murder of her father and much of his family.

Of the two, the soft-spoken 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 to her country, Suu Kyi has symbolized quiet determination against great odds. Her fluent English and cosmopolitan image have not hurt.

By contrast, Hasina, despite being born into a prominent family herself, has never been part of her country’s Anglophone elite. After interviewing her last week in New York, I asked her to sign a copy of her father’s unfinished memoir for me. She wrote her name in elegantly lettered Bengali.

But though “the lady of Dhaka” may not translate as readily for Western consumption as “the lady of Yangon,” the Rohingya crisis is undoubtedly Hasina’s moment.

By accepting a large number of refugees in her poor and densely populated land, Hasina has shown greater compassion than many leaders from larger and richer countries. As Hasina said to me, “Bangladesh is not a rich country, but we have a big heart.”

সম্পাদক : ইমদাদুল হক মিলন,
নির্বাহী সম্পাদক : মোস্তফা কামাল,
ইস্ট ওয়েস্ট মিডিয়া গ্রুপ লিমিটেডের পক্ষে ময়নাল হোসেন চৌধুরী কর্তৃক প্লট-৩৭১/এ, ব্লক-ডি, বসুন্ধরা, বারিধারা থেকে প্রকাশিত এবং প্লট-সি/৫২, ব্লক-কে, বসুন্ধরা, খিলক্ষেত, বাড্ডা, ঢাকা-১২২৯ থেকে মুদ্রিত।
বার্তা ও সম্পাদকীয় বিভাগ : বসুন্ধরা আবাসিক এলাকা, প্লট-৩৭১/এ, ব্লক-ডি, বারিধারা, ঢাকা-১২২৯। পিএবিএক্স : ০২৮৪০২৩৭২-৭৫, ফ্যাক্স : ৮৪০২৩৬৮-৯, বিজ্ঞাপন ফোন : ৮১৫৮০১২, ৮৪০২০৪৮, বিজ্ঞাপন ফ্যাক্স : ৮১৫৮৮৬২, ৮৪০২০৪৭। E-mail : [email protected]