by Allison Furlong
As I walked through the customs line at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh – ankles newly covered in fly bites I just acquired while in a queue for my visa on arrival – I experienced a taste of what would become normal during my 5 day stint in Bangladesh.
“Miss, you look very much like Angelina Jolie,” said the customs officer.
Indeed, I thought. The resemblance is uncanny, no doubt.
As I walked through the streets of Dhaka, I begin to experience, on a somewhat comparable scale, what Ms. Jolie must endure on a daily basis. I received stares, smiled for dozens of photos and even held children in my arms like a young Justin Trudeau on the campaign trail. Why me? I thought. Well, because I have white skin, green eyes and I’m somewhat of a giraffe in their country.
I just so happened to be roaming the streets of Dhaka on December 16th, 2014 – Bangladesh’s Victory Day – which commemorates their country’s 43 year separation from Pakistan in 1971. The Bangladesh Liberation War resulted in East Pakistan and India fighting one of the most violent wars of the 20th century against Bangladesh. Lasting over nine months, it led to the fleeing of 10 million refugees and the killing of 3 million people.
With such a tumultuous war behind them, you can only imagine how big of a celebration they were having in the streets. And I was there. And a local newspaper was there. And they took my photo. And they fabricated almost an entire news article. I’ll
strikethrough what I didn’t say or do:
Salute to Bangladesh`
Allison Furlong talking with risingbd.com. Photo: Niaz Mahmud
Staff Correspondent: Bangladesh and its people won the heart of Allison Furlong, a citizen of Canada, who came here in her first visit and is overwhelmed by the hospitality of Bangladeshi people.
“Salute to Bangladesh,” she said to express her appreciation to the people and the country
As millions of Bangladeshis came at the historic Suhrawardi Uddyan in the capital for singing national anthem marking the country’s 44th Victory Day,
Allison Furlong, also came with them to participate in the national ceremony. She also sang the national anthem with millions of Bangladeshi people.
After participating in the programme Furlong expressed her feelings about visiting Bangladesh and its national ceremony.
“It’s my first time in Bangladesh and I am completely blown away by the hospitality of Bangladeshi people,” Furlong said.
The Canadian national also said, “I studied the history of Bangladesh, its people are more non-communal and they are conscious and know to honour their war heroes. It is more than that I studied about Bangladesh.” She also expressed her interest to invest here in Bangladesh.
So, yeah. I had my 15 minutes of semi-fabricated fame. But all jokes aside, the kindness of Bangladeshis did not go unnoticed. And I certainly didn’t go unnoticed to them!