Stop the smear campaign against Professor Yunus

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Open Letter

We, non-resident Bangladeshis and friends of Bangladesh, are very concerned at the seemingly orchestrated smear campaign against Professor Muhammad Yunus.
The latest criticism of Prof. Yunus and Grameen Bank started when a Norwegian documentary alleged that funds were diverted from the bank to other parts of the Grameen Group. Following subsequent review, Norwegian government officials found no indication that this was done for unintended purposes, or that the bank had engaged in corrupt practices or embezzled funds.
We feel that the latest criticisms of the micro-finance concept cannot be blamed on Prof. Yunus either. The initial success that the micro-finance concept generated, has created an unregulated commercial industry with some companies abusing and misusing the concept, simply for profit. Prof. Yunus himself has said that these are a complete detour, and nothing but a deviation from the micro-finance mission.
Prof. Yunus has spent almost his entire life working tirelessly for the poor of Bangladesh. His work has touched the lives of the poorest of the poor in every part of the society. Over the last few years the same model has been replicated in dozens of countries all over the world with similar positive results. Everyone is now aware of the role of micro-finance in the empowerment of women. For his selfless work, he has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace prize and numerous other awards.
When the rest of the world thinks of Bangladesh, typically the image is negative. Prof. Yunus and his work is one of the few exceptions. Any NRB can attest to the fact that his work has brought tremendous prestige to Bangladesh in the eye of the world. Those of us who are living outside Bangladesh feel proud of him and our country of origin.
Naturally it hurts to see what some are doing to tarnish his image. They may not be aware that this not only tarnishes his image, but the image of Bangladesh. Of course, we understand that it is perfectly acceptable to debate the merits of micro-finance, so long it is done through civilized discussions and with hard facts. If an NGO or the Government of Bangladesh has a better idea compared to micro-finance, they are free to introduce it and let the ideas compete freely in the market place.
We sincerely hope that the Government of Bangladesh and its leaders will take necessary action to stop this smear campaign and give Prof. Yunus the respect he deserves, as the rest of the world has done.

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