The essence of Nobel Peace Prize & Dr. Yunus

Mannatul Mowla

Mannatul Mowla

Photo: Mosammat Taslima Begum (left), representing Grameen Bank, and Muhammad Yunus pose with their Nobel Peace Prize Medals and Diplomas.Copyright © The Norwegian Nobel Institute 2006, Photo: Ken Opprann.

Though other categories of Nobel Prize have acceptability, Nobel Peace Prize is a highly controversial award. Though some genuine peace makers like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi were awarded the Prize from time to time in order to maintain its acceptability, on most occasions this award was accorded to the people who implement westerners’ (especially American) agendas. The Nobel Peace Prize should be renamed as Nobel Political Prize because politics is the main consideration for selecting its recipients.

Mahatma Gandhi was nominated by the Nobel peace committee in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before his death in January 1948, but he never won the Nobel Peace Prize. However, Henry Kissinger, one of the staunchest supporters of the atrocities committed on Vietnamese during Vietnam war and Bangladeshis during our great independence struggle, was awarded with Nobel Piece (not peace) prize. Similarly, Shimon Peres, the former Prime Minister of Israel, who carried out whole sale killings of innocent Palestinians, got that piece prize. American President Barak Obama got piece prize just within few months upon his taking oath as President though he made virtually no progress in peace making. This year Nobel Piece Prize has been accorded to European Union amid Europe’s worst financial crisis since WWII and social unrest.

Only Bangladeshi who has won Nobel Prize is Dr. Yunus for his contribution to micro financing. However, Dr.Yunus was not the pioneer of the microcredit. According to Wikipedia, “Ideas relating to microcredit can be found at various times in modern history. Jonathan Swift inspired the Irish Loan Funds of the 18th and 19th centuries. In the mid-19th century, Individualist anarchist Lysander Spooner wrote about the benefits of numerous small loans for entrepreneurial activities to the poor as a way to alleviate poverty. At about the same time, but independently to Spooner, Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first cooperative lending banks to support farmers in rural Germany. In the 1950s, Akhtar Hameed Khan began distributing group-oriented credit in East Pakistan. Khan used the Comilla Model, in which credit is distributed through community-based initiatives.” So he was not qualified to be nominated for Economics category. So he was awarded piece prize instead.

The question is how Dr. Yunus contributed in making peace?

1. He did not negotiate any peace agreement in any conflict zone and thus helped establish peace.
2. The pretext of awarding Dr. Yunus piece prize is that through microcredit he made rural women self-sufficient and brought them out of poverty. But is the real scenario on the ground so? It is known that Dr. Yunus’s micro financing organization Grammen Bank charged exorbitant high interest rate which made many people lose few pennies they had beforehand. Being unable to repay their debt along interest, many women committed suicide and some were forced into prostitution to repay their dues.
3. If Dr. Yunus’s micro credit is so effective, then why so many young ladies migrated to Dhaka & other big cities where they toil so much in garment industries only to make Tk.3000 to 5000 (equivalent to USD 38 to 63) a month? Why so many people go abroad, especially in middle east to work so hard? Are all these people so stupid?
4. Is there any country in the world which got out of poverty through micro credit?

It is evident that Dr. Yunus’s story about poverty eradication is nothing but fallacy.

Some great leaders of the world like Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Deng Xiaoping of China etc. brought their people out of poverty through economic developments but they were never nominated for that piece prize.
It has been crystal clear that those who serve westerner’s interest become eligible for the piece prize. Mikhail Gorbachev won the piece prize since he dismantled the Soviet empire but Mahatma Gandhi failed to receive it since he dismantled British Empire.

The reason for awarding Dr. Yunus piece prize was exposed during 1/11 government. As per this gentleman’s prescription the undemocratic, military-backed government clung onto power unconstitutionally for 2 years and during this period he tried to form a political party with the patronage of state machineries. However, people of Bangladesh vehemently rejected this man’s political ideology of opportunism.

Of course some social parasites (hired intellectuals) are saying that by criticizing Dr. Yunus’s action and questioning his justification for getting Nobel, the government is damaging the ‘image’ of Bangladesh. However, so-called ‘peace prize’ hardly brings honor for any country. Rather it often brings disgrace for the recipient’s country because it indicates that there is a great puppet (betrayer like Mikhail Gorbachev) of foreign powers in that country. China felt embarrassed when Liu Xiaobo won Nobel in 2010.

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