Saturday, April 7, 2012

Yunus Victim or Villain of Bangladesh Government

Poverty is a curse, which existed from times immemorial and the noble efforts of the Nobles of the Human Race to eradicate it, has never stopped, either; But unfortunately poverty has become the part and parcel of Human Race and is there to stay thriving, no matter what the Humans do to eradicate it.

Poverty is cruel and makes its own history at its own timing and choosing. Dr. Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, the Noble prize winning anti-poverty crusader, became its latest victim last year, when the Bangladesh Government decided to remove him from the helm of the largest poverty alleviation bank in the World – Grameen Bank. Litigation was launched against his removal in the courts, but the battle was legally lost. The Political leadership at the highest levels of the Government of Bangladesh is somehow averse to the idea of Dr. Yunus performing any role in Grameen Bank and its sister organizations.

The battle between Dr. Yunus and the government of Bangladesh does not end there; rather it is still ongoing and is being fought in different capitals of the World. Bangladesh government tried unsuccessfully to convince the International supporters of Dr. Yunus to shed their support for him. Domestically the conflict and the news surfaced, when, 9 newly elected Directors of Grameen Bank Board, representing 75 percent shareholders of the Bank, in their first Board Meeting on March 19, 2012, unanimously recommended, that Dr. Yunus should lead the search committee for the New Managing Director of the bank.

It is reported, that the outgoing 9 members of the Board of Directors of Grameen Bank, who left office in January 2012, after completing their three-year tenure, in their 93rd Board Meeting on July 26, 2011 also recommended to include Dr. Yunus, as the chair of the new search committee for the Managing Director. But Khondaker Muzammel Huq, Chairman of the Board, has reportedly said, that there is no scope to make Dr. Yunus the head of the search committee, in the light of the Supreme Court verdict, which said the Dr. Yunus continued in the office of the Managing Director of Grameen Bank, unlawfully for more than 10 years.

The issue came to fore again, as per The Daily Star of April 4, 2012, after a sudden burst from the Finance Minister AMA Muhith, highlighting the government position of not making Dr. Yunus the chief of the selection committee, although the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983, that governs the microfinance organization, empowers the Board to form such Committee.

Dr. Yunus has done proud to the country by winning the Noble Prize, not the first Bengali, but the First Bangladeshi to do so. He has many achievements to his credit, but he is human and to err is human, therefore it is normal, that he made a few mistakes down the road also. Dr. Yunus enjoys tremendous respect in different capitals of the World irrespective of which school of thought is in power in those countries. He has been welcomed in many a parliament and elected chambers of the different countries of the World and honored with plaudits. Americans and Europeans in particular and numerous other countries and world leaders speak almost in one voice in his support in respect of Grameen Bank complexities and in support of his various noble initiatives and projects worldwide.

Dr. Yunus is a man who cannot be written off or belittled by the efforts of a few elected politicians, whose tenure last till the next verdict of the eligible voters. Dr. Yunus wants to make "poverty history", but in turn poverty is giving him the opportunity to make history out of himself and his contributions to the eradication of poverty. Bravo Dr. Yunus. He has been elected/selected to the noble heights and is supposed to stay there forever irrespective of what the Bangladesh political elite want or dictate.

He made the uncanny mistake of venturing into the uncharted and choppy sea of Bangladeshi politics immediately after winning the Noble Prize. It is reported, that it was not his decision, rather the miffed third forces comprising a section of the intellectuals and civil society elites convinced him, that his newly earned noble capital had the powers to topple the two clan political system in Bangladesh. It was a mistake, well made as Dr. Yunus himself confessed, using a famous Bengali line later, that the "balds don't go under the wood-apple tree the second time". Besides, the utterings of Dr. Yunus on many occasions later confirmed his non-political desires. The political hierarchy of the ruling Awami League is not the least inclined to accept his defenses.

Another joke making rounds in Bangladesh is that the Noble Peace Prize is something that can be bought or earned through maneuverings and can be had by the political heavyweights with family lineage and peace and progress related achievements. The history of Noble Peace Prize winning candidates doesn't go to prove the above "joke", rather it is given to people with outstanding contributions towards the establishment and winning of peace through singular or multilateral approach.

This peaceful looking battle with the Noble Peace Laureate is not going to take the Bangladeshi government anywhere, rather it is hurting the country in manners and means unimaginable. Bangladesh government should have used Dr. Yunus as a bargaining chip with the international community, especially the American and European supporters of Dr. Yunus in winning concessions for the country and furthering the political cause of the government in power. There is still time for the government to realize the consequences of hurting the international sentiments, which initially looked favorably to its rise to political power again in Bangladesh after the 1/11 debacle.

Peace is a process which needs to be initiated from any platform or sector, and the sole purpose should be to promote peace among mankind as a whole, without any pride and prejudice. This writer and WeeklyBlitz thinks, that it is time for the Political elites of Awami League to make peace with Dr. Yunus. Making peace with Dr. Yunus will definitely earn the government the desired credits towards noble achievements of earning the future Nobles for Bangladesh.

Whatever Bangladesh Government finally does in respect of Dr. Yunus, they will not be able to make him either a victim or a villain, because he is none and cannot be made into any, because he enjoys the status at noble heights, where victims or villains have no place at all.