New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern Image Credit: AFP

Hope Ardern will be back

Jacinda Arden surprised the world with her shock announcement of stepping down as the Prime Minister of New Zealand ("New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern gives the world a lesson in humility", Gulf News, January 20). It is hard to imagine a politician who would be willing to step down when they realise they don’t have enough in them to lead. People still prefer Ardern to be Prime Minister, but she is human, after all. She didn’t give up on her responsibilities, she just believes someone else could do a better job now. Ardern’s departure is also a mental health check warning to other politicians who cling to their positions despite the exhaustive battle against COVID-19 and other pressures of leadership.

A leader like her is a dream of every country; empathetic, young, and charismatic. One of the best example of her empathy was when she stood with the Muslims, wearing a hijab, to support the victims of the Christchurch attack. The country sent a strong message by standing united in grief after the mass shootings that shocked the world. Never before have we seen a Prime Minister who is so modest and well-connected to citizens through social media and live feeds. She is a role model who has shown the world how to balance work and family despite being the head of a country. She was kind but tough.

She can’t be blamed for stepping down, and she has done her job as a leader, partner, mother, and human being who supported people in distress.

Ardern is a strong representative of female leaders who have displayed tremendous courage to lead a nation in this misogynistic world. As a woman, she has shattered records by becoming the youngest female head in 2017 and delivering her baby while in office. She was tough on the COVID-19 virus protocols, and though people would blame her for overdoing it, she did her best to reduce deaths. Unfortunately, she had to pay the price for her strict measures during the pandemic, but she did everything possible to protect her people. Though her reputation was mixed among her countrymen, the majority of the people outside New Zealand approved of her leadership skills. She also silenced guns through significant gun control legislation. Unfortunately, #Jacindamania has lost its steam, but one can hope Ardern will be back, stronger and wiser, to lead her country to greater heights.

From Mr Praveen Sreekanthalal


New Zealand’s Ardern leaves behind a legacy

The write-up on the surprise resignation of the New Zealand Prime Minister in the Gulf News was very engaging (“New Zealand’s Ardern leaves legacy of kindness, disappointments”, Gulf News, January 19). Here is the youngest Prime Minister of a country giving up the highest post and probably her political career itself of her own volition, declaring that she had “no more in the tank”. She then describes leadership qualities – “kind but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused” and finally, “You can be your own kind of leader – one who knows when it is time to go”. The last sentence is the most interesting. A leader who knows when it is time to go. Does anyone know of a leader like that in recent times? Anyone who admitted they had done all they could for the country, and the tank is now empty? I have heard of leaders who leave only when they die or get thrown out. Even at 90, their tanks are full when Jacinda, at 37, says she can’t do anymore, not because she is incapable, but because she is giving way to new leadership with fresh ideas and different visions. Arden, unlike other politicians, brought compassion and courage to the forefront of leadership. To go in a hijab to the Muslim community and pacify them the way she did itself is enough to demonstrate her courage. However we define and interpret democracy, ultimately, the face of administration is the leader. And if the leader is compassionate, the people will have peace and prosperity. No one votes for the ideology; they only elect leaders who they think can do good for them. That is the example Jacinda Ardern – Be kind to the people, do whatever you can for them, for social harmony and well-being. Do not invest in a lifelong political career and bow out when the going is good.

From Mr Mukundan Kandath


India, Egypt strategic partnership

The visit of the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to India as the chief guest of honour on the 74th Republic Day marked a beautiful gesture of relations between India and Arab countries. It is a momentous visit, both high in terms of symbolism and substance, as India and Egypt, two of the world’s oldest civilisations, share excellent relations from ancient times marked by the strong, traditional and civilisational ties over centuries, contributing towards peace and development in the Arab world. The visit of the president of Egypt will further boost friendship, trade, cooperation, and investments.

From Mr Ramesh G Jethwani


Cricket: India v New Zealand

Kudos to the Indian team, especially the openers Rohit Sharma (also known as ‘Hitman’) and Subham Gill, who stitched a record opening partnership of 212 runs against the New Zealand team to lay a firm foundation in the final ODI (One day International) match at Indore. The consistent form of Gill and the return of Hitman to form augurs well for our team in the coming months. However, our middle order is fragile and struggling. Once again, it was the all-rounder Hardik Pandya, whose knock enabled our team to set a daunting target of 386 runs.

Hats off to the young and emerging New Zealand team, who fought tooth and nail to achieve the impossible target. Devon Convey’s century and his crucial partnership with Henry Nicholls and Daryl Mitchell enabled them to get almost 300 runs. Thanks to the opening spell of Shradul Thakur and, later on, Kuldeep Yadav, who spoiled the Kiwi flight to victory. It was a well-fought series victory for the Men in Blue (Indian team), who won the series in style and climbed to World Number 1 ranking in ODI. Well done, team India.

From Mr Vinay Mahadevan


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