Bangladeshi and international media are a buzz glorifying Grameen Bank’s scandalous founder Mohammed Yunus for his latest “achievement” of getting Olympic Laurel trophy from the International Olympic Committee.
According to Wikipedia, the Olympic Laurel is a distinction awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to honor those who have “made significant achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport”. It was introduced in 2016 to implement part of recommendation 26 of Olympic Agenda 2020, and will be presented during the opening ceremony of each Olympic Games. IOC President Thomas Bach stated that the award reconnects the Olympics the ideals and values of the Ancient Olympic Games. The trophy features a laurel wreath and the Olympic rings which are made out of Fairmined Gold and the base is a stone from Ancient Olympia.
According to International Olympic Committee, this trophy went to Kenyan track and field athlete Kipchoge Hezekiah Keino in 2016 and Belgian sports administrator and former president of the Olympic Committee, Jacques Jean Marie Rogge. The first recipient of Olympic Laurel, Kipchoge Hezekiah Keino also served as the chairman of Kenyan Olympic Committee until September 29, 2017 and is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. He was among the first in a long line of successful middle, and long-distance runners to come from the country and has helped and inspired many of his fellow countrymen and women to become the athletics force that they are today. In 2012, he was one of 24 athletes inducted as inaugural members of the IAAF Hall of Fame.
On the other hand, Jacques Jean Marie Rogge is a noted athlete in Belgium. He was a 16-time Belgian national champion in rugby and a one-time yachting world champion. He also competed in the Finn class of sailing on three Summer Olympic Games; in 1968, 1972 and 1976. In October 2016, The British School of Brussels named their new Sports Center in honor of Jacques Jean Marie Rogge.
Rogge served as president of the Belgian Olympic Committee from 1989 to 1992, and as president of the European Olympic Committees from 1989 to 2001. He became a member of the International Olympic Committee in 1991 and joined its executive board in 1998. He was knighted in 1992, and in 2002 made a count in the Belgian nobility by King Albert II of Monaco. When Rogge stepped down as President of the International Olympic Committee, he was awarded by his successor a gold Olympic Order.
Meaning, the recipients of Olympic Laurel in 2016 and 2018 have their contributions in the field of sports. In this case, anyone can ask, what was the reasons behind International Olympic Committee’s decision in awarding Mohammed Yunus? Certainly, he has no contributions in the field of sports, while his claims of successes as the founder of Grameen Bank are disputed.
The euphoria generated by the media after Yunus won the Nobel Prize got dissipated following reports appeared in Blitz as well as some other media outlets in Bangladesh and abroad – highlighting high interest rates charged by the Grameen Bank, tough payment schedules and inhuman recovery methods leading to miseries including suicides committed by the poor loan defaulters.
For years, international community has been made to believe that Mohammad Yunus was lending money to rural poor people in Bangladesh, especially woman, as a very comfortable and low interest. This was what Yunus had told everyone while receiving fund for his blood-sucking venture. In most cases, Yunus was getting interest-free fund or fund with a very nominal annual interest. According to media reports, the highest amount of annual interest on any foreign loan that Grameen Bank had received was 3 percent. Moreover, a major segment of the foreign loans or grants received by Grameen Bank were extremely low or free from any interest. But Yunus was lending money to poor people at a rate ranging between 40-70 percent per year! For this reason, Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League had rightly termed Yunus as bloodsucker of the poor.
The bloodsucking show of Dr Muhammad Yunus was exposed by Blitz in 2011 through a number of investigative reports. Prior to publication of the reports, our reporters were sent to Jobra village in Chattogram, which was claimed to be the model “success story” of Yunus and his Grameen Bank. Our reporters interacted with the villagers and collected information as well as photographs, to expose the lies of Yunus.
It may be mentioned here that, Mohammad Yunus projected a documentary film on woman’s fortune at the Nobel Prize awarding ceremony in Oslo, Norway on October 13, 2006, through which he had falsely claimed his success story. The documentary mainly focused on the first borrower of Grameen Bank, Sufia Begum [also spelled as Sufiya Begum], showing her as owning a two-stotey building after rising from miserable condition.
But in reality, our reports had exposed the real condition of Sufia Begum. Although Yunus and Grameen Bank claimed to have helped her in erecting her own building, in reality, she was living in dire economic condition in an almost broken hut, with other members of her family. The building which Yunus and Grameen Bank was showing as Sufia’s in their documentary films was actually owned by an individual named Jabel Hussain, an expatriate Bangladeshi in Dubai.
The owner Jabel Hussain had, from Dubai, instructed his relatives in Bangladesh to sue Yunus and Grameen bank if his two storey house is again shown as Sufia’s in future. There had never been any response or comment or statement from Yunus and his Grameen Bank though the Blitz report was read by hundreds and thousands of people from around the world.
Furthermore, Nurun Nahar, the youngest daughter of Sufia Begum told Blitz reporters that though Mohammad Yunus earned name, fame and even Nobel Prize, her mother being the first borrower of microcredit scheme could not change her life and had to lead a miserable life. She said, Sufia Begum took loan to start a cane business but found her trapped in a vicious circle of loan and interest. Later, she was compelled to take loan from different sources to repay Grameen Bank.
It may be mentioned here that, at personal efforts of Bill and Hillary Clinton, bloodsucker Yunus was given highest civilian medal in the US by President Barack Obama. And now, possibly Clintons and several influential figures in the Capitol Hill have exerted influence in getting their “loving Yunus” the latest Olympic Laurel trophy. On receiving the trophy, Yunus may broadly smile in front of cameras to prove again, how “great” he is. But in the reality, by giving the Olympic Laurel trophy to a non-sports personality, International Olympic Committee has certainly tarnished its own image, while the world has now possibly understood, Nobel Peace Prize or all of those prestigious awards from the US administration were just the result of heavy political influence.
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