Global press sings Yunus song |
A poverty-stricken nation, natural disasters, corruption, political violence and recent terrorism by Islamist militants are regular issues about Bangladesh that are projected to the international media. But, Friday and yesterday was different.
Media across the globe proudly delivered the news of Dr Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
The New York Times ran a report under the headline 'Bangladesh Banker to the Poor Win Nobel Peace Prize'. It says the prize is for grassroots efforts to lift millions out of poverty that earned Yunus the nickname of 'banker to the poor'.
It describes Yunus as inventor of microcredit and said the system has been copied in more than 100 nations from the United States to Uganda.
Another story of the same newspaper headlined 'Banker to the poor who helps Bangladesh's neediest' said Yunus's philosophy is to help the poor help themselves: give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but only by teaching him how to fish do you feed him for life, the report read.
International Herald Tribune carried the headline "Bangladesh Nobel Peace Prize winner calls award 'great news' for his homeland." It lauded Yunus's effort and said his microcredit finance programmes have helped improve the lives of millions of poor people.
The Guardian says Yunus and the Grameen Bank emerged as the surprise winners of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for their pioneering work in lending to the poor.
It quotes the Nobel committee and said: "Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries. Across cultures and civilisations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development."
The Times Online, UK ran a story headlined 'Banker who lends to the poor wins Nobel Peace Prize'. It termed Yunus the inspirational economist who helped to lift millions of his fellow Bangladeshis from poverty through a pioneering scheme that lends tiny amounts of money to the very poorest of borrowers.
Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries.
Another story in The Times headlines 'A truly inspiring choice for Nobel Peace Prize'. The Times also gave a biography of Yunus depicting his inspiration in forming the Grameen Bank.
The Grameen Bank presents a very different approach. It was not dreamt up by a faraway western aid agency. It is tried and tested; it is a business solution, which comes from the grassroots.
Grameen shows us the poor and the destitute not as pitiable charity cases condemned to their lot but as thwarted entrepreneurs who just lack the means to improve their families' lives. It is a profoundly optimistic view of human nature. With this inspired choice, the Nobel Committee has lit a path that could lead to the eradication of poverty in our time.
The Washington Post reports Yunus was something of a surprise winner in a large field of nominees that included diplomats who brokered peace deals in hotspots like Indonesia's troubled Aceh province and global celebrities like U2 lead singer and development advocate Bono.
But in awarding the $1.36 million prize to the Vanderbilt University-trained economist, the committee said his work showed that "Even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development."
Predictably, all Indian dailies yesterday front-paged the news of Nobel Peace Prize going to Yunus and Grameen Bank and some of them wrote commentaries on this. A few newspapers also reprinted his interview given four to six years back, our New Delhi correspondent reports.
The Indian Express newspaper in its editorial said "by awarding this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Yunus and the Grameen Bank, the prize committee has attempted a new definition of what constitutes peace. Yunus has brought banking to some of the poorest people in one of the poorest nations of the world. This in itself is cause enough for celebration."
"As an alternative system of credit, the Grameen Bank has been able to provide a lifeline to millions, especially women in rural Bangladesh," it added.
The daily, however, said the Grameen Bank has a 'few problems' and questions have been raised about the use to which such microcredit was put.
The Editor of Business Standard newspaper TN Ninan, in a commentary, said, "The Nobel Peace Prize does not usually go to a businessman but Muhammad Yunus is a money lender with a difference."
"The idea that Yunus pioneered three decades ago is now well on its way to becoming mainstream," he added.
The awarding of Nobel prize to Yunus and his Grameen Bank "is not any less salutary for being long overdue. There are real life stories that leave a lump in the throat for the sheer audacity and grand sweep of the lives that they change. Yunus' creation in Bangladesh and his popularisation of what has come to be known as microcredit is one of these," The Financial Express said in its editorial.
The Star Online of Malaysia says 'Bangladeshi microcredit pioneer and his bank win Nobel Peace Prize'. It says the prize is given for their work in advancing economic and social opportunities for the poor that has helped millions lift themselves from crushing poverty.
Yunus has drawn praise for developing and advancing microcredit, not just in Bangladesh, but across Asia, Africa and into the Middle East, which has been credited with helping poor women to advance their lives and pull them out of poverty.
The Mail and The Guardian Online headlines "Bangladesh banker to the poor win Nobel Peace Prize' and the story goes on say the prize is for grassroots efforts to lift millions out of poverty that earned him the nickname 'banker to the poor."
It quotes Former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, whose own International Crisis Group had been tipped as a possible winner this year, saying, "Yunus was an outstanding choice. It's one of those inspirational, groundbreaking innovations that only come along every now and again, and I think it's highly appropriate and I congratulate him."
The ABC Radio of Australia said Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded have won the Nobel Peace Prize 'for their efforts to create economic and social development from below'.
The Australian read 'Credit for poor earns banker Nobel prize'.
The Houston Chronicle read 'Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize for their pioneering use of tiny, seemingly insignificant loans -- microcredit -- to lift millions out of poverty'.
A Norwegian online news portal, the Aftenposten, says the Norwegian Nobel Committee surprised many by awarding this year's Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus, and has shown a new sense of creativity in linking peace, or the lack thereof, to poverty. Many in Norway were calling the award a victory for the fight against poverty.
The Edinburgh evening news says the Nobel Peace Prize goes to Bangladeshi bank pioneer. It goes on to say Yunus has drawn praise for advancing microcredit, which has been credited with helping poor women to advance their lives and get out of poverty.