Chances are you’ll never read this because you don’t get online. In fact, you stay as far away from computers as I am away from you now. But I don’t know how to talk to you in a way that will “make” you understand. And I need to get out what I have to say because it’s eating me up inside to not say it.
First of all, this letter isn’t meant to hurt you or to upset you. It’s meant more to say things that you declined to listen over telephone despite my best of efforts. And neither mum nor Ronju would help me out to convey my message to you. I totally understand their helplessness but not surprised at all.
I wanted to tell you why it is once in a lifetime opportunity for you to restore the honour and dignity of a person like Dr.Yunus. I hope you can recall my goose bump feelings after meeting Dr.Yunus in 2007 in the corridor of US Capitol Hill. I told you how proud I felt when I saw, in my own eyes, not less than half a dozen US Senators were waiting for about an hour to meet none other than our Dr.Yunus. As I told it many times, but could not resist saying it again, US Senators are the modern day Monarch. One US Senator is way more influential than a King or a Monarch in the Gulf. Our Presidents and Prime Minister find it hard, despite using all the privileges of a Head of State, to get to meet a single Senator when they visit USA. (Sheikh Hasian came two times in the USA since became Prime Minister but could not manage to meet one single senator!)
I told you, by coincidence, it was me, who, Dr.Yunus, whispered to tell the Aide of Senator Hillary (Yes, she was senator then), that it will take another 15/20 minutes before he could wrap the hearings. In case you forgot, Dr.Yunus was attending Senate Finance Committee’s Hearings on Trade Preference and Least Developed Country on May 16, 2007 as a witness. I think you can still find out the letter that I wrote you giving the details of my encounter. I wrote you the names of all those Senators-Late Senator Robert Kennedy, Senator Joe Biden (now Vice President), Senator Hillary Clinton (now secretary of state), Senator John McCain (former Presdientil candidate), Senator Charles Schummer and Senator Bob Casey. (Although not a regular note keeper, I duly noted these names in my diary in far more greater details than my infamous incident of visiting you with Lucy). I also told you how Chairman Senator Max Baucus and Ranking Member Senator Charles Grassly broke protocol when they came down to Witness Table to pay regards to our Yunus. Could you, Baba, tell me who else would give us a moment like this in our lifetime?
I could not resist reminding you another goose bump evoking memory. It was on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 when Dr. Yunus spoke at George Washington University, Washington DC to launch his book World Without Poverty. In an auditorium which hold over a thousand people, I failed to get a seat although I was there about an hour early. I don’t have any memory as inspiring as this one where I have seen thousands of Americans were listening to one of our fellow Bangladeshi in pin drop silence. Not only they listened to his lecture with awe and humility, they queued up as soon as the Q & A session finished to collect a signed copy of Dr.Yunus’s book. It was past mid-night when Dr.Yunus signed last copy of his book costing US$25.00 each in addition to US$15.00 as admission fee. I can tell you Baba Dr.Yunus could live rest of his life like our erstwhile Zaminders if he wants using the royalties and earnings from his lecture and royalties from his book. And of course, you heard how Presidents of China, Japan, Peru, Mexico etc were in a race, each with their own private/chartered flights to get him in their country as guest speaker.
Baba, among my many failings, you always appreciated my sentiment for the country and my ability to see things apolitically. I don’t know how many people in Bangladesh support the removal of Dr.Yunus, but I haven’t come across one singly non-resident Bangladeshi who is supportive of this move. How can they be? Here in the USA, we are known more by the name of Dr.Yunus, than any other things. And I can tell you, Baba, among those NRBs there are good number who are supporter of the government but at pain to see the way our best son of the country is being treated.
I told you several times, how foolishly we refrained from using such an asset like Dr.Yunus to be a good will Ambassador for Bangladesh around the globe. Just think Baba, had we availed his good will we could have gotten duty free access of our garments to USA long before.
If a man of the reputation of Dr. Yunus, who could muster the US secretary of state to make a personal call to our Prime Minister on his behalf, can be treated with such contempt, what lies ahead for us? God forbid, if US President also follow up on the reactions thus far expressed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, all nonresident Bangladeshis in the USA should be scared.
Baba, I know in your legal exercise it matters little whether or not Dr.Yunus is the only Bangladeshi who has had the rare distinction of attending leading US TV programmes like Oprah Winfrey Show , Jon Stewart Show, News hour with Jim Lehrer, Charlie Rose Show, C-SPAN, CNN, MSNBC etc. I can tell you, Baba, a President as popular as Obama could not manage to cover the number of networks that our “Yunus” did. I know it matters little to you to know that a simple google search for Yunus produce almost ten times more hits that what our Prime Minister Hasina. [To be precise in less than o.9 second Yunus produced about 18,500,000 results while Prime Minister “Hasina” produced 1,860,000 results (0.15 seconds) ]
But Baba, even if you dispel my submission as mere emotional baggage, but how would you not consider:
What harm it will cause to the country or for that matter to Grameen Bank if Dr.Yunus were to continue as its Managing Director or even in an Advisory capacity if the majority owner/share holder of the bank wants him there.
A person who established this bank with his own sweat and blood would be forced to leave in such an ignominious manner when the fact remains he is no harm to anyone but to a handful of political egoists.
Why the court is so precariously listening to the most dormant owner-Government-but not to the major share holders-26 thousand workforce and 8 million borrowers – of the bank.
Why would not court take into cognizance the failed attempt of the government to remove Dr.Yunus through a Board Room vote on 02 March 2011. (on the day, the government appointed chair Muzammel Huq spring a surprise motion, supported by a letter from the finance ministry, seeking to remove Dr.Yunus from his position of managing director on the grounds of age. But this motion was voted down by all other members of the board including the two other government appointees and nine women borrowers.)
Why would not court invoke its inherent authority, what you so ably applied in case of Journalist Mahamudur Rahman, to consider Attorney General’s public statement as the motive of this case. Attorney General made it clear when he said publicly that if anyone is eligible to get Noble Peace Prize in Bangladesh it is Sheikh Hasina and Shantu Larma.
Whether or not age is a factor should be decided by the Grameen share holders not by the government. (By the way Baba, your favourite Judge Antonin Scalia of US Supreme Court is now aged 75, while Judge Ms Ruth Bader Ginsburg is aged &000000000000007700000077 and Anthony Kennedy is aged 74. If age is not a matter for them, why it should be the single most criterion Dr.Yunus.)
Baba, you always advised us to be upright, remain vertical. Now would you please care to listen if we, all the people of Bangladesh and global community, barring a few egoists, urge you to act vertically too. So many times, you explained your preference for what you call doctrine of vertical stare decisis. I just want you to follow up with what you preached thus far.
Let me conclude you with what Lucy told me when she read Joy’s letter. She said what kind of people we are where people like Joy prevails while Dr. Yunus is trodden to the lowest zenith. You are aware she knew Joy back from her days in Texas.
Lastly, would you Baba, care to read, once again, Judge Posner’s fascinating book How Judges Think . I thank Afzal Uncle for allowing me the privilege of carrying this book for you. Had I read this book five years earlier than I did, I would have chosen Law as my major to your liking. This book, as I understood, illustrated in layman’s term “how dreadful it is when the right judge judges wrong. I don’t want to see you in that club.
I thought long and hard before writing this letter, but knowing the chances of you reading it were so slim, and knowing that even writing down what I’m feeling will help me release my frustration, I wrote it.
I guess that’s all I want to tell you now, Baba. I know this will probably hurt or upset you. That was NOT my intention. I’m kind of scared that I won’t find the courage to tell you to your face what I’ve told you here. I hope that this doesn’t destroy our relationship. We’ve been able to disagree before and still remain father/son. I hope that can continue.
I love you, Baba
A request to my fellow members of Judge’s family:
Please make a copy of this letter and make sure your it reaches to your father or mother. Make it sure to let them know how the society would treat us if we fail to stop this miscarriage of justice. We are already close to becoming ostracized by the society, but if we could not stop this we may have to prepare our own funeral. No matter how hard we try, given the cultural trend, we don’t have a way out to avoid the onslaught of societal humiliation if our parents continue to act for the government, but not the people.