The world fell in love with a slender young woman leader the minute she arrived on our tv screens after the most horrific killing spree ever seen on video. The inhuman madness of a man who behaved as if he was in a video game was followed by the appearance of a woman clad in compassion.
She embraced us all in her simple intuitive style of leadership. The woman kept her femininity while showing the strength of an Amazonian warrior.
It took her only ten days to change gun laws in her country.
Jacinda Arden, went from an unknown PM of a small island to become a beacon of hope for women & voters the world over. Excitedly people from all over the world started googling her & discovering her rather unusual rise to the highest office in New Zealand.
Did young Jacinda herself imagine that she would go from being a researcher in the PM’s office to become one of the most admired world leaders the world has produced?
Following the Christchurch incident, one could have expected a divided community, street protests, radicalisation but the miraculous ease with which this woman handled a catastrophic situation surprised us all. What surprised me personally was how accepting Muslims all over the world were of her, despite her personal life preferences which are not exactly something that they would approve of. From the minute Ardern came into office she has been making history.
From being the youngest female Prime Minister to only the 2nd Prime Minister to give birth while in office (the first one happened to be the first Muslim female Prime Minister in the world, Benazir Bhutto) Ardern is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable or not for a woman at work.
While women MPs in Pakistan & England complain to me how they have no arrangements for their young children in Parliament, Jacinda decided to take her baby to the U.N session & who could stop her. Just a week ago she lead her party to the biggest win Labour has had for fifty years. Her victory speech was like her leadership style simple yet effective. She started off with a couple of sentences in her native language Te Reo Maori & then said simply “Thank You”.
The world is now debating whether her brand of politics of kindness can work in other countries too. It is mind baffling to me why should we even be discussing this! It isn’t rocket science to figure out that being sincere & strong can win over people. How is doing the best by your public so hard to understand for our political scientists?
It comes as no surprise to me that those heads of state who showed strong leadership & clarity of mind pre covid managed to manoeuvre their countries out of the pandemic with minimum loss of life as a result of quick & strong decision making ability.
No surprises again that the strongest contenders for the throne through Corona were two women leaders. Both Jacinda Ardern & Angela Merkel have a consistent performance record. Jacinda leads the scoreboard as she has stuck to her manifesto that her government would give focused strong & empathetic leadership.
For the U.S & the UK, the leaders of Western democracies, it’s this recent departure from traditional compassion & empathy that has shocked the world. Be it the “hostile environment” immigration policy of the Conservatives in the UK or the dreams of building a Mexican wall by Trump it gives out a depressing signal to those in developing countries who have aspirations of bringing western democratic values to their societies.
It appears that those values are rapidly fading from the west too. The egotistical ranting on Twitter or TV shows & the relative ease in insulting opponents & foreign cultures is setting a poor example for those who see the U.S president as the man who rules the world. We can see mini-me versions of Trump cropping up in countries miles away.
Trump giving these characters a pat on the back & his “special friend” status gives an endorsement no one is comfortable with. The problem with the self-obsession that Trump obviously has meant that it leaves little room for focusing on the important decisions a president must take.
The self protection strategy meant that he could not effectively protect U.S citizens or his election campaign from Corona. Those who know Biden personally say he is down to earth & personable. That might be why he comes across slightly nervous in the Presidential debates. Perhaps it’s time male candidates show us their kind tolerant side & stop rising to the bait the loud brash ones have set. A little bit of kindness, as they say, goes a long way…..perhaps as far as the Oval Office.
A visionary woman who has never capitulated on matters that are against basic human rights and morality. She is a strong proponent of sustainable improvement in Pakistan through education, engagement, inspiration, innovation and empowerment opportunities for all (especially the youth).
Reham Khan an internationally recognised personality within the Media, Journalism & Broadcasting industry (particularly in Pakistan, United Kingdom, and India) Reham Khan is a single parent & a human rights activist who is considered a leading voice against child abuse & early marriage. Khan is also a film producer with her debut film “Janaan” a box office hit in Pakistan & the first Pakistani Film to make it to the top ten films in the UK.
She is also the author of the most controversial book coming out of Pakistan in recent years in which she took on the incoming government head-on & faced death threats for her brave expose of Pakistani elite society & politics. She is an odd case of One Right versus the Many Wrongs happening in our society today. She is described as the survivor with a smile.