Pray for Bangladesh
Many readers of this blog are aware that I was scheduled to visit Bangladesh beginning this Saturday to work with Professor Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Laureate and founder of Grameen Bank, on his new book.
Sadly, those plans are now on hold--hopefully for just a short time--because of civil unrest in Bangladesh.
In the runup to national elections that were scheduled for January 22, the two leading parties had been battling over control of the voting process. Street demonstrations and strikes had resulted in violence, hundreds of injuries and tens of deaths. Travel within the capital of Dhaka as well as in the surrounding countryside was difficult.
Events came to a head yesterday, Thursday, when the interim president Iajuddin Ahmed announced a national state of emergency, imposed a nighttime curfew on cities throughout Bangladesh, postponed the election, and then resigned his role as head of the government.
The next steps are in the hands of the two leading parties (which are really coalitions of many smaller parties, one right of center, one left of center). They must work together to agree on a new timetable for elections and, hopefully, a voting process that will produce credible results.
Now is a good time to pray for the people of Bangladesh, including, of course, Muhammad Yunus, his many colleagues at Grameen Bank, and the millions of poor people they serve.
Today (Friday) the situation may be starting to stabilize. The curfew has been lifted and a respected economist, central banker Fakhruddin Ahmed, has been named as the new government administrator. (Professor Yunus was reportedly invited to join the government, but declined, as he has done in the past.) The streets of Dhaka supposedly look normal, filled with cars and pedestrians. However, the official state of emergency remains in force, and no new date for elections has yet been set. I'll keep you posted.
Tags: Bangladesh, unrest, election, Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank