Wednesday, June 20, 2007

3rd letter from Prof. Yunus

Dear citizens,
Regards to you all. I have written to you twice earlier. I wrote the first letter on February 11 seeking your opinions whether I should join politics. I wrote the second letter on February 22 declaring the decision to join politics and form a political party following your encouragements. I also told you that the probable name for the party would be 'Nagorik Shakti'. This time, in my third letter, I write to you to inform you that I have decided to stand aside my efforts to form a political party.Encouraged by your supports and motivated by the hope of creating a new political stream, I took the decision to join politics. By taking this decision, I was ready to put all my life's works behind me to enter a new life and I enthusiastically started the work to form a political party. As the first step in forming a party, I started the process of building a strong organising team. The plan was to introduce the team to everyone after the ban on indoor politics is withdrawn and move forward with the formation of the party. But, despite my all-out efforts I could not create a team that can boost my confidence. In the light of the experience I have gained from this process, I think, I will not be successful even if I wait for a longer period. So, I have taken the decision to stand aside by accepting the reality that it is correct not to go any further down the path.
A great sense of hope has prevailed in the country following the declaration of the state of emergency and the formation of a new caretaker government. New doors have been opened in the political arena. A new opportunity has been created to bury the hostile, divisive and conflict-centric politics by creating a political stream under the new leadership to take the country's economy forward. Everyone has understood that these opportunities do not come always. Everyone in this country feels that the impossible can be made possible through the innovations if good political will, competent leadership and good governance can be ensured.
I decided to join politics in this perspective. We had a single dream: to create a corruption-free political stream that is unified, consensual, empathetic, peaceful, secular, and committed to radical economic growth; a dream to turn the country into a self-assured nation by freeing the people from conflict, distrust and disappointment. We all know where we have to go. When we know the destination, we can try our best to reach -- I took my initiatives with this belief.
You have responded to my call by sending many letters, faxes, emails, and sms to support my initiative. You have given advices by sending letters to newspapers. You have also given your suggestions in newspaper post-editorials and television discussions. A number of you have informed me after you have formed preparatory teams in your areas. A number of expatriates have informed me after forming their committees. Young people both here and from overseas have voluntarily come forward to give their time and talent. I am grateful to all of you. I am extremely sorry to stand aside politics after giving you the hope. I have taken this decision early so that your further disappointment does not increase from my delay.
I dedicated all my strength towards forming a party. As part of the first step, I concentrated on forming an organisational team. I wanted to create it in such a way so that it creates confidence in people and it can generate massive political force even though it is a new party.
After I announced that I would form a party, people known or unknown to me, politicians, and people who aren't politicians but are interested in politics contacted me. I urged them to join the party. I also contacted people who did not contact me but whom I thought would strengthen the party with their presence. When I was on foreign trips, I daily contacted several people. The people who were working on my behalf towards forming a party also continued in maintaining contacts with them.
Through this communication process, one thing became clearer that those who were encouraging me will not join politics themselves and will not give public support because of their own problems. And those who are in political parties will not leave their parties, at least, now. They might join later if the political situation changes. After all calculations, I realised that nothing much is being accumulated. So, whom will I form the strong team with?
I went ahead with creating the party by not breaking my pledge not to veer from the components required to build a political party that is transparent, corruption-free and successful. I went forward with the approach that I thought would be best to establish a new political path. From working on this, it became increasingly clear to me that the people who I needed with me to present a strong and bright alternative to the people, will not be with me. Some of them are involved with political parties, some of them who are not in politics but are enthusiastic about it. They all want a new political path to be established and they are enthusiastic about changing the country's political culture. But, I could not bring them with me. Those who initially showed encouragement, I saw that they are becoming less and less encouraging.
That is when I started to question myself -- should I keep going or should I stall the process and wait? Or should I completely stop the initiative to form a party? I opposed the formation of a weak party. Instead of trying to create a new political arena with a weak party, let us wait for someone else to make the effort and succeed.
I am trying. Those who were with me from wherever they were are also trying. We are again presenting the need for a new political stream through our efforts. Now, someone else has to come forward to fill this void. I hope they become immensely successful.
This country is at the doorstep of great potential. The next five years are a very important period for us. This is the time of change. It is the time to make big political and economic decisions and implement those decisions. It is the time to make Bangladesh the hub for regional commerce and communication by taking advantage of our geo-strategic location by linking with regional transport systems and establishing the deep seaport. Our country is filled with the rich coal and gas reserves in a world thirsty for energy. It is the time to use these vast mineral resources for the country's development. It is the time to make Bangladesh the best country in using information technology. It is the time to build the country's human resources and make it resources for the nation and the world by establishing a global standard of education and training. It is the time to ensure that the remittance from non-resident Bangladeshis are used productively and link their skills and money to the country's development. It is the time to strengthen local government.
The time has come to shift the nation's economic and political gears. The nation's spirit is ready to graduate to far higher levels. What is needed now is the creation of a new political party and leadership who can properly and skilfully do this.
We should not fail in our duty to change the political and economic situation.
I express my deep and sincere gratitude and thanks to everyone who gave me their love and compassion despite my faults and limitations.

Muhammad Yunus
May 3, 2007

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