Friday, March 11, 2011

A Good Man

Everyone has faults, but some people shine brightly enough that we can forgive them for theirs. Personally, I'd say Prof Yunus is one of those people, and I'd say a metric ton of folk, ordinary and high-powered alike, would agree with me. Consider his story: an economics professor so moved by famine and the plight of the poor that he forged a banking institution for them basically from scratch. And he had help, as he freely admits in Banker to the Poor. Others were enthused by his ideas. And so we should be! He said, sure, charity is nice, but why don't we give the poor the tools they need to stand on their own two feet? Let's give them credit, and trust in their abilities and determination to pay back their loans. Let's give them dignity. For founding Grameen Bank, the Philippines honored him with the Ramon Magsaysay Award ("Magsaysay is my guy!"), a full 12 years before the Nobel Committee decided he was Super enough to get their Prize.

The common perception here is that the ousting of Prof Yunus as Managing Director of Grameen is a one-woman rampage of revenge. Apparently, the current Prime Minister is the one deserving of the Nobel Prize. At least, that's what her loyal followers are saying. How canny of her to go silent after she launched the first attack with her "sucking the blood from the poor" speech! She may not be a stateswoman, but she's a politician for sure. And, since she's let her people do all the attacking, in the future she can throw them under the bus and claim that she didn't know they'd go so far. Brava! Brava! World, beware a woman scorned.

Prof Yunus was kind and gracious when I said goodbye to him before leaving the office. Yesterday was my last day at the Centre. If you can judge people by their handshake, then Sir (we usually call him "sir," or DMY -- Dr. Muhammad Yunus) is an Awesome Human Being. I'd say it's the best goodbye handshake I've ever had. It's not the most memorable, though -- that distinction belongs to an Englishwoman who almost crushed my hand at our first meeting. Urgh...

Anyway, since my little blog is SIKROT -- you haven't told anyone, have you? -- I'm almost certain I won't be killed/tear gassed at the human chain tomorrow, at least not for what I've been writing. But if something happens, everything goes to Mark. Just kidding. Except not really. Ha ha ha... (trails off weakly)