Sunday, September 9, 2012

Myanmar: The Global War On Islam

The June e thnic and religious violence in the northwest ( Rakhine State, the northwestern coast just south of Bangladesh) caused an uproar in Moslem countries, with calls for retribution against Myanmar for allowing it to happen. Long simmering tensions between the Moslem migrants from Bangladesh and the native Buddhists erupted into widespread fighting two months ago after some Rohingya men were accused of raping a Buddhist woman. Weeks of violence followed. This caused over a thousand casualties, most of them Moslem and thousands of buildings destroyed. This has displaced nearly 100,000 people (about 75 percent Moslem).

The Moslems and Buddhists have never gotten along and there’s always been some tension. Until recently, the military government suppressed any open talk of these tensions. But since the elections last year, there’s been more freedom of the press and that has included more public discussion by Buddhists about how much they dislike the Rohingyas.

Rakhine State has a population of 3.8 million, with about 800,000 of them Moslems, mostly Rohingyas. These are Bengalis, or people from Bengal (now Bangladesh) who began migrating to Burma during the 19th century. At that time the British colonial government ran Bangladesh and Burma, and allowed this movement, even though the Buddhist Burmese opposed it. Britain recognized the problem too late, but the Bengali Moslems were still in Burma when Britain gave up its South Asian colonies after World War II (1939-45).

Bangladesh has refused to take these Moslems back as Bangladeshis, and the Rohingya have come to consider themselves a separate group. Burma never let the Rohingya become citizens, which helped stoke tensions between the Moslems and Buddhists. Bangladesh has long had too many people, and illegal migration to neighboring areas (mainly India) has been a growing problem. In the 1990s, an outbreak of violence led to over a quarter million Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh. Some 28,000 are in refugee camps in Bangladesh, another 200,000 live outside the camps in Bangladesh and some are in Thailand, where they are considered economic migrants, and thus illegal.

This year Bangladesh changed its refugee policy and refused to accept any more Rohingya, considering the refugee camps an unfair burden caused by Burmese refusal to absorb the Rohingya already in their territory. This has led to Burma creating heavily guarded camps for these displaced Rohingya. Aid workers call these camps prisons, but the Burmese want to limit the movement of Rohingya who now consider themselves at war with Buddhists. But only about ten percent of the Rohingya have been forced from their homes. The rest live in (usually segregated) villages and neighborhoods throughout Rakhine State.

Hindus, Christians or Buddhists in this region have bad memories of Moslems, who have been around for over a thousand years as invaders and violent religious bigots. These memories are sustained by the current wave of Islamic terrorism around the world and within the region. The UN is trying to get Burma to absorb the Rohingya, but the Burmese believe that absorption is not practical and these Moslems must move to a Moslem country (preferably Bangladesh, where they came from.) The Burmese resent the UN interference and have arrested some aid workers who are helping the Rohingya.

The Burmese police and army are accused of doing little to halt the violence, and often taking the side of rioting Buddhist civilians. Because of this, Burma has agreed to investigate the violence and is under international pressure to allow the Rohingya to stay and become citizens. But the Burmese government is under domestic pressure to take a hard line on the Rohingya, who are seen as alien invaders, even though most of them have lived in Burma for generations. This situation is quite common in the region. There are many more, most of them quite recent, illegal Bangladeshi migrants in India, where frequent outbreaks of violence with Indians do not get a lot of international attention because the Indians involved are often Moslems. There is a similar situation in Iran and Pakistan, where millions of unwelcome Afghan refugees (from the 1980s Russian invasion) refuse to leave. China and Thailand have thousands of unwelcome Burmese refugees from the tribal rebellions in rural Burma. China has recently forced many of the refugees back into Burma, while Thailand threatens to do so. In neither of these cases is religion an issue. But when the illegal migrants are Moslem and the people they are displacing are infidels (non-Moslem) the Islamic world considers any resistance to be part of the global “war on Islam.”

At the moment, the Burmese want the Rohingya restricted to guarded camps. The Moslem world calls these camps prisons, but the Burmese public sees allowing the Rohingya to go free as leading to eventual establishment of a separatist Moslem territory in Rakhine State. The Burmese note the eight years of Islamic terror in southern Thailand and the Islamic terrorist problem in India. Most Burmese see themselves as victims of Moslem aggression and invasion, but the Moslem world sees Burma as making war on Moslems. The rest of the world calls for an end to violence and some kind of justice. The problem is that the Burmese Buddhists and the world’s Moslems have a very different concept of justice in this case.

August 23, 2012: The government freed six of the twelve foreign aid workers it had arrested in June and accused of helping to promote the violence.

August 20, 2012: The government has eliminated direct censorship. That is, publications no longer have to submit material to government censors before they print it. But there is still censorship. Various old (from the period of military rule) laws still allow the government to shut down publications believed to be causing trouble. Government officials decide what “trouble” means in each situation. You still need government permission to create a new publication.

August 19, 2012: The government announced the creation of a commission to investigate the recent (June) violence between Buddhists and Moslems ( Rohingya) in the northwest. The commission will attempt to come up with recommendations that will satisfy foreign (mainly Moslem) critics. Moslem nations want to be free to operate aid efforts among the Rohingya without Burmese supervision. The Burmese are reluctant to do this because so many Islamic charities are fronts for Islamic terrorist organizations. Several large Islamic terrorist groups (Taliban, al Qaeda) have already declared war on Burma and called for all other Moslems to join in.

August 18, 2012: In the north (Kachin state) there was a brief gun battle between soldiers and armed members of the ABSDF (All Burma Students’ Democratic Front). There were no injuries. The ABSDF consists of rebel Burmese from the south who have established bases in the Kachin tribal territories and allied themselves with Kachin rebels. This particular clash was apparently an accident, as soldiers guarding a supply convoy to an isolated army base through they might be ambushed.

August 14, 2012: There was another outbreak of ethnic violence in Rakhine State, leaving three dead and over a dozen wounded.

August 5, 2012: There was another outbreak of violence in Rakhine State, where over 300 homes of Rohingya were burned and over 3,000 people forced to flee the Buddhist attacks.

August 2, 2012: Security forces seized 1.4 million amphetamine pills and 116 kilometers (255 pounds) of heroin last month. The drug gangs are becoming more active in the north and most of their production is headed for China. This has led to a join Burma-China police taskforce to go after drug gangs that are operating on both sides of the border. The drug gangs are controlled by tribal rebel groups and the income supports the tribal armies that the government has been fighting for generations. Despite current peace deals, the recent growth of drug production up north indicates that the tribes (or at least some warlords) intend to maintain their private armies.

August 1, 2012: Bangladesh ordered three foreign aid groups to stop work among Rohingya refugees along the Burma border. Bangladesh considers the Rohingya, who were originally from Bangladesh, to be Burmese (because the Rohingya have been in Burma for generations.)


Nobel Prize for Mujib or Sheikh Hasina (!)

Nobel committee is actively considering bestowing Nobel Peace Prize to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her outstanding contributions in restoring peace thus making an end to decade-old armed conflicts within the Chittagong Hill Tract areas, the Eastern districts in Bangladesh, as the committee is unable conferring the posthumous prize to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, for his outstanding leadership, sacrifice, contribution and dedication in liberating the country in 1971. It is learnt from sources that the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was proposed by a number of world leaders right after the birth of the nation. Amongst the nominators, India's former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi strongly recommended bestowing Nobel Peace Prize to Mujib, being a "heroic leader" of South Asia, after Mahatma Gandhi, though Nobel Committee never considered Mahatma Gandhi as a candidate for this prestigious prize, which had later drawn harsh criticism in the world. Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) has become the strongest symbol of non-violence in the 20th century. It is widely held – in retrospect – that the Indian national leader should have been the very man to be selected for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was nominated several times, but was never awarded the prize.

Though nobody had ever been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously under the impression that the prize cannot go to any individual, who is not alive, some of the strong recommenders of the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said, according to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation in force at that time, the Nobel Prizes could, under certain circumstances, be awarded posthumously.

They say, Mahatma Gandhi was not given the prize because, according to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, he "did not belong to an organisation, he left no property behind and no will; who should receive the Prize money", while the case of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is totally different. He is the founder of Bangladesh Awami League and has 'Bangabandhu Foundation', which could receive the Prize money, if he is offered the Nobel Peace Prize.

The supporters of Bangabandhu also strongly suggest the Nobel Peace Prize committee to remove the "curse" of not offering the prize to Mahatma Gandhi but "honouring" another "great hero of the Indian sub-continent".

The admirers of Mujib strongly believe that it is the right time for the Nobel Prize Committee to consider either Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or his daughter Sheikh Hasina for the Peace Prize, thus showing proper respect to the millions of Bangla speaking populations in Bangladesh, India and the world.

Questioning the reason behind never taking the case of Mohandas Gandhi as the nominee of Nobel Peace Prize, critics ask - was the horizon of the Norwegian Nobel Committee too narrow. Were the committee members unable to appreciate the struggle for freedom among non-European peoples? Or were the Norwegian committee members perhaps afraid to make a prize award which might be detrimental to the relationship between their own country (Norway) and Great Britain?

Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before he was murdered in January 1948. The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee; when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi". However, the committee has never commented on the speculations as to why Gandhi was not awarded the prize, and until recently the sources which might shed some light on the matter were unavailable.

Among those who strongly admired Gandhi were the members of a network of pro-Gandhi "Friends of India" associations which had been established in Europe and the USA in the early 1930s. The Friends of India represented different lines of thought. The religious among them admired Gandhi for his piety. Others, anti-militarists and political radicals, were sympathetic to his philosophy of non-violence and supported him as an opponent of imperialism.

In 1937 a member of the Norwegian Storting (Parliament), Ole Colbjørnsen (Labour Party), nominated Gandhi for that year's Nobel Peace Prize, and he was duly selected as one of thirteen candidates on the Norwegian Nobel Committee's short list. Colbjørnsen did not himself write the motivation for Gandhi's nomination; it was written by leading women of the Norwegian branch of "Friends of India", and its wording was of course as positive as could be expected.

The committee's adviser, professor Jacob Worm-Müller, who wrote a report on Gandhi, was much more critical. On the one hand, he fully understood the general admiration for Gandhi as a person: "He is, undoubtedly, a good, noble and ascetic person – a prominent man who is deservedly honoured and loved by the masses of India." On the other hand, when considering Gandhi as a political leader, the Norwegian professor's description was less favourable. There are, he wrote, "sharp turns in his policies, which can hardly be satisfactorily explained by his followers. (...) He is a freedom fighter and a dictator, an idealist and a nationalist. He is frequently a Christ, but then, suddenly, an ordinary politician."

Gandhi had many critics in the international peace movement. The Nobel Committee adviser referred to these critics in maintaining that he was not consistently pacifist, that he should have known that some of his non-violent campaigns towards the British would degenerate into violence and terror. This was something that had happened during the first Non-Cooperation Campaign in 1920-1921, e.g. when a crowd in Chauri Chaura, the United Provinces, attacked a police station, killed many of the policemen and then set fire to the police station.

A frequent criticism from non-Indians was also that Gandhi was too much of an Indian nationalist. In his report, Professor Worm-Müller expressed his own doubts as to whether Gandhi's ideals were meant to be universal or primarily Indian: "One might say that it is significant that his well-known struggle in South Africa was on behalf of the Indians only, and not of the blacks whose living conditions were even worse."

The name of the 1937 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate was to be Lord Cecil of Chelwood. We do not know whether the Norwegian Nobel Committee seriously considered awarding the Peace Prize to Gandhi that year, but it seems rather unlikely. Ole Colbjørnsen renominated him both in 1938 and in 1939, but ten years were to pass before Gandhi made the committee's short list again.

Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace. The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. Each prize consists of a medal, personal diploma, and a cash award.

In 1947 the nominations of Gandhi came by telegram from India, via the Norwegian Foreign Office. The nominators were B.G. Kher, Prime Minister of Bombay, Govindh Bhallabh Panth, Premier of United Provinces, and Mavalankar, the President of the Indian Legislative Assembly. Their arguments in support of his candidacy were written in telegram style, like the one from Govind Bhallabh Panth: "Recommend for this year Nobel Prize Mahatma Gandhi architect of the Indian nation the greatest living exponent of the moral order and the most effective champion of world peace today." There were to be six names on the Nobel Committee's short list, Mohandas Gandhi was one of them.

The Nobel Committee's adviser, the historian Jens Arup Seip, wrote a new report which is primarily an account of Gandhi's role in Indian political history after 1937. "The following ten years," Seip wrote, "from 1937 up to 1947, led to the event which for Gandhi and his movement was at the same time the greatest victory and the worst defeat – India's independence and India's partition." The report describes how Gandhi acted in the three different, but mutually related conflicts which the Indian National Congress had to handle in the last decade before independence: the struggle between the Indians and the British; the question of India's participation in the Second World War; and, finally, the conflict between Hindu and Muslim communities. In all these matters, Gandhi had consistently followed his own principles of non-violence.

The Seip report was not critical towards Gandhi in the same way as the report written by Worm-Müller ten years earlier. It was rather favourable, yet not explicitly supportive. Seip also wrote briefly on the ongoing separation of India and the new Muslim state, Pakistan, and concluded – rather prematurely it would seem today: "It is generally considered, as expressed for example in The Times of 15 August 1947, that if 'the gigantic surgical operation' constituted by the partition of India, has not led to bloodshed of much larger dimensions, Gandhi's teachings, the efforts of his followers and his own presence, should get a substantial part of the credit."

Having read the report, the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee must have felt rather updated on the last phase of the Indian struggle for independence. However, the Nobel Peace Prize had never been awarded for that sort of struggle. The committee members also had to consider the following issues: Should Gandhi be selected for being a symbol of non-violence, and what political effects could be expected if the Peace Prize was awarded to the most prominent Indian leader – relations between India and Pakistan were far from developing peacefully during the autumn of 1947?

From the diary of committee chairman Gunnar Jahn, we now know that when the members were to make their decision on October 30, 1947, two acting committee members, the Christian conservative Herman Smitt Ingebretsen and the Christian liberal Christian Oftedal spoke in favour of Gandhi. One year earlier, they had strongly favoured John Mott, the YMCA leader. It seems that they generally preferred candidates who could serve as moral and religious symbols in a world threatened by social and ideological conflicts. However, in 1947 they were not able to convince the three other members. The Labour politician Martin Tranmæl was very reluctant to award the Prize to Gandhi in the midst of the Indian-Pakistani conflict, and former Foreign Minister Birger Braadland agreed with Tranmæl. Gandhi was, they thought, too strongly committed to one of the belligerents. In addition both Tranmæl and Jahn had learnt that, one month earlier, at a prayer-meeting, Gandhi had made a statement which indicated that he had given up his consistent rejection of war. Based on a telegram from Reuters, The Times, on September 27, 1947, under the headline "Mr. Gandhi on 'war' with Pakistan" reported:

"Mr. Gandhi told his prayer meeting to-night that, though he had always opposed all warfare, if there was no other way of securing justice from Pakistan and if Pakistan persistently refused to see its proved error and continued to minimise it, the Indian Union Government would have to go to war against it. No one wanted war, but he could never advise anyone to put up with injustice. If all Hindus were annihilated for a just cause he would not mind. If there was war, the Hindus in Pakistan could not be fifth columnists. If their loyalty lay not with Pakistan they should leave it. Similarly Muslims whose loyalty was with Pakistan should not stay in the Indian Union."

Gandhi had immediately stated that the report was correct, but incomplete. At the meeting he had added that he himself had not changed his mind and that "he had no place in a new order where they wanted an army, a navy, an air force and what not".

Both Jahn and Tranmæl knew that the first report had not been complete, but they had become very doubtful. Jahn in his diary quoted himself as saying: "While it is true that he (Gandhi) is the greatest personality among the nominees – plenty of good things could be said about him – we should remember that he is not only an apostle for peace; he is first and foremost a patriot. (...) Moreover, we have to bear in mind that Gandhi is not naive. He is an excellent jurist and a lawyer." It seems that the Committee Chairman suspected Gandhi's statement one month earlier to be a deliberate step to deter Pakistani aggression. Three of five members thus being against awarding the 1947 Prize to Gandhi, the Committee unanimously decided to award it to the Quakers.

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948, two days before the closing date for that year's Nobel Peace Prize nominations. The Committee received six letters of nomination naming Gandhi; among the nominators were the Quakers and Emily Greene Balch, former Laureates. For the third time Gandhi came on the Committee's short list – this time the list only included three names – and Committee adviser Seip wrote a report on Gandhi's activities during the last five months of his life. He concluded that Gandhi, through his course of life, had put his profound mark on an ethical and political attitude which would prevail as a norm for a large number of people both inside and outside India: "In this respect Gandhi can only be compared to the founders of religions."

Nobody had ever been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously. But according to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation in force at that time, the Nobel Prizes could, under certain circumstances, be awarded posthumously. Thus it was possible to give Gandhi the prize. However, Gandhi did not belong to an organisation, he left no property behind and no will; who should receive the Prize money? The Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, August Schou, asked another of the Committee's advisers, lawyer Ole Torleif Røed, to consider the practical consequences if the Committee were to award the Prize posthumously. Røed suggested a number of possible solutions for general application. Subsequently, he asked the Swedish prize-awarding institutions for their opinion. The answers were negative; posthumous awards, they thought, should not take place unless the laureate died after the Committee's decision had been made.

On November 18, 1948, the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to make no award that year on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate". Chairman Gunnar Jahn wrote in his diary: "To me it seems beyond doubt that a posthumous award would be contrary to the intentions of the testator." According to the chairman, three of his colleagues agreed in the end, only Mr. Oftedal was in favour of a posthumous award to Gandhi.

Later, there have been speculations that the committee members could have had another deceased peace worker than Gandhi in mind when they declared that there was "no suitable living candidate", namely the Swedish UN envoy to Palestine, Count Bernadotte, who was murdered in September 1948. Today, this can be ruled out; Bernadotte had not been nominated in 1948. Thus it seems reasonable to assume that Gandhi would have been invited to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize had he been alive one more year.

Each year the respective Nobel Committees send individual invitations to thousands of members of academies, university professors, and scientists from numerous countries, previous Nobel Laureates, members of parliamentary assemblies and others, asking them to submit candidates for the Nobel Prizes for the coming year. These nominators are chosen in such a way that as many countries and universities as possible are represented over time.

Name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came onto lime light of some of the former Nobel Prize laureates following publication of his biography. While non-Bengali laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize are admiring the "greatest contribution" of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, unfortunately enough, none of the Bangla speaking former laureates are pressing the idea in favor of Mujib, which is seen by many as extreme narrowness.

 Note: References for this article are taken from the official website of Nobel Prize with gratitude.

When will the drama of demonising Yunus end?

Soon after my August 13 article, “Prime Minister’s BBC interview and Grameen Bank” was published, I have been receiving email comments about Professor Yunus — mostly irrelevant to my article. Obviously, these people are driven by the mindset to delegitimise Yunus’s name and fame at home and abroad following the vitriolic demagogueries of their gurus.

Did they succeed? No; not outside their clique. They are now engaged in a witch hunt — investigating Yunus’s tax and salary history. But to their growing frustrations, the more they are trying to disparage Yunus’s, the more praise-worthy attention he draws.

Well, they are politickers they can brush off all scandals and indignities as they did with the 2010 stock market looting; the lingering global scale humiliation surrounding the Padma Bridge funding shenanigans. They brushed off Suranjit Sengupta’s alleged rail gate scandal. They will soon brush off adviser Syed Modasser Ali’s alleged involvement in Sonali Bank’s mega scale money looting — letting him go unscathed the same way they are trying to protect another adviser Mashiur Rahman. How else can anyone claim, “My government does not involve in corruption”(Hasina’s July 27 BBC) . But they will not let up on Yunus whose only fault is his refusal to take his hats off before this government.

The comments I have received from various readers can be substituted with a single email as though they all came from one reader both in contents and diatribes. The email reads (abridged by ignoring capricious statements to economise space):

Whether Dr. Yunus is a “bloodsucker or not” is a different chapter. He is caught at a cross-road of politics since he himself invited with his over ambition and over confidence without taking note of the pulse and music of politics in our contexts. Ask yourself first, why he showed interest in digging and upholding the infamous ‘Minus Two Formula’, which was a direct threat to democratic order and principles. Hasina and Khaleda might not be liked by the people in general. What are the democratic ways to say goodbye to them? Should not Dr Yunus build a political party now to prove his credibility and acceptability to the people in Bangladesh?

Ask those admirers of Dr Yunus why he has not yet visited National Memorial at Savar and Shaheed Minar at the city? There are more than hundred Nobel Peace Laureates, dead or alive, but nobody misused the honour in the manner Dr Yunus did. “The most interesting features of Dr Yunus’ character is that he all the time likes to move with and around the power wielders in international politics. He is neither for Bangladesh nor for the poor. He is rather out and out for the vested purposes of those who are nursing and gearing him from behind.”
Obviously, some of these and many other fudge comments not presented here could not have come from logically cognitive mind. Unfortunately, such shallow thinking and corrosive diatribes are very common among Yunus’s adversaries. Micro-credit in some form has been operating in 60 countries across the globe and that is why he travels a lot and became a global celebrity.

I do not see any conflicts with winning a Nobel Peace Prize and trying to establish a political party. How does that constitute dishonouring “Nobel Peace award”? May be he thought he could serve the poor and the country better by bringing some sanity in politics. What is wrong with that? Is there any evidence of Yunus being the architect or promoter of the much gossiped “minus two formula”. As far as I know, it was a mere chatter of the time (2008) and Yunus was apparently caught in the cross-currents of that nasty and unhealthy atmosphere.

How can anyone argue with people who think Yunus is not for Bangladesh and question his patriotism given that he dedicated his entire professional life for the cause of helping the destitute rural people of Bangladesh? We must believe that no human (except Prophets) are created flawless and Yunus is no exception.

Visiting the Shaheed Minar and the National Memorial as a criterion to judge Yunus’s patriotism was also raised by others like Awami Leaguer Mohammad Hanif. In a recent ATN Bangla talk show, I watched Col (rtd) Jafar Imam Bir, Bkm (former minister under both Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad) asking for clarification of the issue (by phone call) from the former minister Firoz Rashid – one of the participants of that show.

When I called Jafar Imam and asked what prompted him to raise this issue, he emphatically rejected judging anyone’s patriotism with visitations of these memorials. Many freedom fighters recently asked him for his clarification of this issue and that is what prompted him to raise it with the talk show participants. Jafar Iman further added that he did not mean to undermine Yunu’s patriotism in any way or his image and the contributions he made to the cause of poverty reductions at home and beyond.

It is an irony that Yunus’s well-wishers had to produce pictures of his past visits (Nur Jahan Begum, BG director) to these memorials and flash on television screen. It is now clear that he visited both memorials on his own chosen time but not for public display of his tribute to the martyrs.

Numerous corrupt politicians, civil servants, money launderers, tax evaders, stock market looters, bank loan defaulters, land grabbers, murderers, food adulterers, human rights violators, smugglers, and so on, visit Shaheed Minar, and National Memorial on various occasions – especially on December 16 and February 21 to commemorate the victory day and the language movement day respectively. Are they more patriotic just because they visit these memorials?

Now that the Hasina administration has completed the ousting of Yunus from Grameen Bank affairs by passing the amended Grameen Bank ordinance 2012, should not he be left alone and save the country from further embarrassments? And for GB borrowers, the government initiate the following to vindicate Hasina’s ascribing of Yunus as “blood sucker of the poor”:

Bring down the interest rates on GB loans from 35%, 40% or 45% to well below the commercial bank rates of 21 per cent or less (say 10% or so or even 0.0%). It should be noted that GB’s interest rate was never over 20% and the rates from 35% to 45 % was quoted by Hasina in her July 27 BBC interview.

Write off all outstanding interest payments accrued from loans charged at interest rates higher than 20%. That way GB borrowers will joyously celebrate Yunus’s removal and Hasina will be vindicated for her dispersing remarks,

Better yet would be to write off both outstanding principal and interest accrued to all borrowers and start a new beginning with the new MD. This will be politically the most prudent thing to do before the 2013 national elections – guaranteeing the 8.4 million GB women borrowers’ votes.

Professor Yunus’s detractors have nothing good to say about him except nonsensical platitudes. 

Unquestionably, it will be hard to find another Nobel Peace Laureate who remained as influential and continue climbing the ladder of celebrity status as Yunus has been since winning the Prize in 2006. His name and fame recognitions outside his country are enormous. And that may be his Achilles’ heel – believe it or not.

BY :   Abdullah A Dewan.  (The writer, formerly a Physicist and Nuclear Engineer, is a Senior Fellow at the Policy Research Institute, Dhaka and Professor of Economics at Eastern Michigan University, USA.)