Jon Krause

Grameen vs. Bangladesh

In Bangladesh's feud between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Mohammed Yunus, the founder of the microloan-making Grameen Bank, Yunus, with help from the US, is being portrayed as a victim of political persecution. But the truth is considerably more complicated.

HONG KONGThe feud in Bangladesh between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Mohammed Yunus, the founder of the microloan-making Grameen Bank and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is being portrayed as a modern-day replay of the famous battle between the wicked Kauravas and the virtuous Pandavas in the Indian epic, the Mahabharata.

The suggestion is that a vindictive prime minister is playing politics in punishing the saintly Yunus, the man who pioneered microfinance, for having threatened to enter politics. Sheikh Hasina is even being compared to Russia’s Vladimir Putin in his campaign against the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

But the Grameen case is more complicated, and carries a moral contrary to what Yunus’s well-managed public-relations campaign suggests.

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