Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Trial Of Muhammad Yunus

The political vendetta in Bangladesh by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina against Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus could be understood as a modern-day replay of the famous conflict between Pope Urban VIII and Galileo Galilei. Pope Urban VIII put 70- year-old Galileo in prison in 1632 for condemning and rejecting Ptolemy's geocentric model, which was adopted by the early Christian Church. In the same spirit, Sheikh Hasina who labelled Yunus as a " blood sucker of poor people"— unleashed her propaganda machine to remove Yunus from Grameen—and used every means to justify her decision. Why did Pope Urban VIII insult the father of astronomy? Because Galileo rejected the accepted Christian Church view, that the earth is the centre of the universe, and that all other celestial objects orbit around it. Why has Hasina insulted the father of microcredit? In 2007 , Yunus criticized Hasina, accusing her of corruption.    In a letter to Johannes Kepler in 1632 , Galileo wrote: My Dear Kepler, What would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope?  Will the next generation also misunderstand me as Pope Urban has?    Well, the next generation did not misunderstand Galileo at all. Instead, they criticized Pope Urban VIII, calling him a fool who failed to see the truth and praised Galileo for his contribution to modern science. In 1758 , for example, the Catholic Church dropped the general prohibition against Galileo's books rejecting geocentrism and advocating heliocentrism. On February 15 , 1990 , in a speech delivered at La Sapienza University in Rome, Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) declared to accept Galileo's Heliocentrism.    Like Galileo, Yunus wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton, in 2011 : My Dear Mrs. Clinton, Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called me a "blood Sucker of Poor People" for helping poor people through Grameen. She removed me from the Grameen Bank for defending 8.3 million poor women. However, I still decided to forgive her, for she knows not what she does. The big question is whether the next generation will misunderstand me the way Ms. Hasina has?    As mentioned earlier, history was on Galileo's side. The Catholic Church adopted his scientific theory—Heliocentrism. In fact, the State of the Vatican City admitted that Pope Urban VIII was just a fool. Will the people of Bangladesh do the same?