For the past few weeks I’ve been following talk that Nobel Laureate Mohamed Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and the guy who mostly started the micro-credit revolution, was under pressure to retire. The talk is that this was due to conflicts with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a former supporter who became a bitter opponent after Yunus considered setting up a political party in 2007. Various news sources now report that the Bangladeshi government has ordered Grameen Bank to retire Yunus.
Yunus is one of my heroes. IMHO the Nobel Committee doesn’t always, or even mostly, get it right with the Nobel Peace Prize: the Prize has been given for political reasons to a number of undeserving hacks over the years. However, Yunus was a counterexample — a thoroughly decent and incredibly creative person whose life and work are absolutely deserving of this recognition. If you don’t know about him, and about micro-credit and the changes it has made in some of the poorest parts of the world, Google “Yunus”, “Grameen Bank”, and “micro-credit”.
I don’t know a great deal about Prime Minister Hasina, but this situation does not leave me with a good impression of her intelligence or character. Personality conflicts are inevitable between strong-willed characters such as those who win most Nobel prizes or end up running countries. But the leader of a country does not have to take opposition personally, and absolutely does not have to attempt to destroy a man who is doing this much good! :(