18 August, 2019

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Barack Obama Talks About The 13th Amendment

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

Meanwhile In A Parallel Universe Called Humility; Barack Obama Talks About The 13th Amendment

When Trayvon Martin (black) was shot dead by Mark Zimmerman (white) in February 2012, I said ‘If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon’.  A few days ago, when Zimmerman was found innocent of any wrongdoing, I told the nation to engage in soul searching. I said that that the jury has spoken, meaning that we have to respect the decision. Then I said, ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago’.  I have searched my soul, especially about race relations.  Here’s what I found.

We talk big.  We act small.  We layer lie over truth and sprinkle glitter over it.  Then we show the magnificent fiction to a world we believe is gullible. We praise Abraham Lincoln and do multiple versions of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech.  We think we are so clever, so classless and so free but I often wonder whether we are peasants or whether we are slaves.

Just this morning I read something from the other side of the world.  The Chair of an EU delegation to Sri Lanka, Jean Lambert, after enumerating the positives of reconstruction and democratization, opined that trust building among communities needs to be worked on.  It took me back to 1865.  That was when slavery was abolished, through the 13th Amendment to our constitution.  When it was passed by Congress on January 13, a Trayvon Martin of that time might have smiled.  He might have cheered and felt truly free when it was ratified on December 6 the same year.

No one is smiling now.  No one is cheering.  Well, not the blacks anyway.  I asked myself ‘have we reconciled?’  I asked myself what moral authority do I have and do my officials in the State Department have to comment on Sri Lanka’s post-conflict reconciliation process and progress therein.  It is almost 150 years since the 13th Amendment was passed.  The fact that I, a black man, is President might give the impression that our race relations are cheer-worthy.  The truth is that Trayvon Martin’s killing was not an outlier.  There have been Trayvon Martin’s before and there will be Trayvon Martins in the futher.  Zimmermans too.  So too double standards for whites and blacks.  If there was an outlier, that’s man, Barack Obama, and maybe this is because it was felt that I was white inside. Maybe I am.  I know how to use words. That helps.

I also wondered, in my soul searching exercise, whether we preach democracy, peace, tolerance, co-existence and talk about the values that make America great and bomb those countries which we believe are not as virtuous as us only to cover up.  I remembered how we vilify our enemies or rather those who will not submit to us and asked myself if we do this because of a deep sense of national inadequacy.

It’s almost 150 years ladies and gentlemen.  We thought we had fixed race-relations and related problems for good.  The truth, I am compelled to acknowledge, is that we are not clever, we are not classless, we are not free of racism and we are as divided along lines of color as we were back then.

I am, as I said, an outlier.  I thought about it a lot.  Soul-searched. We are not a nation. I mean we are not the nation we claim to be.  We are a lie.  I am a lie.  And out-lying one another seems to be an integral part of our national ethos, if such a thing actually exists.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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    Malinda – I’m still waiting for your ‘Parallel Universe’ take on the Rajapakses’ governance.

    As you say, ” And out-lying one another seems to be an integral part of our national ethos, if such a thing actually exists.”

    Now ain’t that the truth – in our little ‘universe’!!!

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      He Accepted That He is a Lie.

      So no need any explanation to verify.

      We have to accept that he is lie and He Lies.

      HE AND HE LIED ALSO.

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      Meanwhile In A Parallel Universe Called ‘No Jilmart Just Democracy’…Malinda Seneviratne is abducted in a white van and vanishes from the face of this earth for exposing the killings, corruption, nepotism, thuggery, rape and skullduggery that takes place under the government of the PakshaRajas’ in the funny little island called Lunket Sri. :)

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    Being the MARA pakkaliya you are, we wonder whether you possess any traces of a “soul” despite your “soul searching” dribble. This US shooting may be an isolated incident, may be the jury did not have sufficient evidence to arrive at a “guilty” verdict. Does Milinda know of all the evidence and factors that involved and produced before the jury? This paid dollar crow employed by the regime is in the lookout for the slightest of incident that takes place in those democratic countries that have an iota of conflict with the norms of “good governance and principles” enshrined in those countries and then creates a huge uproar here scathing the administration of those countries! Milinda the poor menial of the regime, mind your own rafter in your eyes before you find faults with the tiny grit in theirs. What do you say about the BBS, Ravana, Sinhala Ravaya, Hela Urumaya, Wimal Weerawansa et al bastards who are arousing and inflaming racist, religious and social hatred and disharmony in the country backed and in collusion with the Rajapaksha regime? Racism, violence and extrajudicial killings is not the state policy of US but is so with Rajapaksha regime and what is your explanation of it? The DIG has committed a large number of killings on the orders of the highest in the Rajapaksha regime for political, personal and extortionist purposes and what do you say about those things? The Kudu Duminda is the cat’s paw of the regime’s drug mafia and do you know of a single country in the world where its leaders engage in selling drugs to its own people? Don’t try to sing byla to us stupid fool because no one believes you! If US has flaws in their policies and implementations the people of that country will take care of it, but what is important is you and your regime do not pay heed to the appalling violations of human rights and good governance that US, UN and other democratic countries and bodies are repeatedly pointing out and criticizing as being committed by your regime. Just do what they say and you will be all right!

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      Sumith:
      You really need to see a mental specialist for wasting time on this, the ultimate fraud in the Sri Lankan media.
      Only some demented person would expect decency from Malinda Seneviratne either in word or deed!

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    So Malinda you want Obama to say “we are as divided along lines of color as we were back then”? Do you honestly think America has not made progress on the racial issue for the last 150 years? What have you been smoking dude?
    Obama in his speech about the Trayvon Martin issue gives so many examples of how the racial issue still exists in the USA. Try and read Obama’s speech on the issue here.http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/19/politics/obama-zimmerman/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_allpolitics+(RSS%3A+Politics))
    Your writing belittles the efforts of the likes of Lincolns/Martin Luther Kings and the countless other blacks and whites who worked tirelessly taking great risks to improve things to where it is now. For the same reason though it will appeal to the Sri Lankan gallery who want to rid themselves the guilt of not making any effort to create a more equitable Sri Lanka for all people. But your populist journalism will come at great cost to the nation as it will promote inertia among the civic minded people which is all that is required for bigots to thrive. Because it is that guilt that would otherwise drive the civic minded people to strive for a more equitable society.

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      DK:
      When you say,”But your populist journalism will come at great cost to the nation as it will promote inertia among the civic minded people which is all that is required for bigots to thrive,” you make it sound as if this Editor-in-Chief of a paper owned by a member of the Rajapassa family is capable of better. Come on, man, give your head a shake because what you are proposing is like putting Colonel Sanders INSIDE the chicken coop and expecting him to practice vegetarianism.

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    Meanwhile in an opposite universe to the one the author writes about; The thirteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution paved the way to, albeit almost 150 years later, the election of an African-American President of the United States of America. More importantly, it was the first step taken to accord equality in principle to a race of people previously considered non-human. The U.S. Congress, dominated by Americans of European lineage, took that step in humility almost 150 years ago.

    Today, Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese dominated Parliament has to decide whether it will take a step in humility and let Provincial Councils function with the full powers of the thirteenth amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution or whether it will take a step in arrogance and amend it. If Parliament does amend it, the they would be helping to justify Tamil claims that they are second class citizens in Sri Lanka.

    The thirteenth amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution is not the magic bullet that will solve all Sri Lankan Tamil grievances but its implementation will be a significant first step in recognizing them as equal citizens.

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    Malinda, you ate in insult to your institutions of education and your school itself! With your education, do you really have to become a fascist regime stooge? I love Sinhala literary tradition, music and our country too…having served in the war with a distinguished record and no allegations ..but I refuse to go against my conscience! This government deserves accolades of exotic flowers for their determined completion of the civil war. This does not however grant them immunity, impunity nor an open licence to plunder, maraude and ruin the order and harmony we cherish.

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      He is just a disgrace for anyone who would not respect the current regime.

      Among the many who would not support MR are the educated masses in the country. I ask myself not once several dozens of time sofar whether these kind of writers are at all blind ?

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    All this talk would not stop Obama from unleashing drone attacks on Pakistani Civilians. USA will continue to create fundamentalism all over the world and erase civilizations from the face of the earth. Words that do not translate into actions are going to be just that, mere words. They are not going to change anything. I doubt if he means any of it.

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    When can we have a Tamil president saying such words? 150-60 = 90 yrs hence?

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      We could have nearly had one ,,a ggod one ,,,Kadirgamar. Problem is this system of preferential voting will only allow racists to survive . Tamil leaders are are no more National leaders , They are minority leaders . Muslim leaders are no more National leaders , They are minority leaders . Unless we change the system , there will be no National leaders coming out from Minorities . Let us Join hands to abolish Preferential Voting System . Let the merits have a say . Let people like Bad-Ud-Deen Mohammad ,Ponnambalam Ramanathan breed on the grounds of National Politics , Not Minority Politics.

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        I agree. But it should be only national politics, not minority, neither majority. At the moment under the executive presidiency there is only one leader and no other. EP to will have to be abolished.

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        i believe mano ganesan would be an excellent choice for presidency

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    Malinda is spinning out at a tangent as usual. The determinations in this case was by a jury, whose selection process was influenced by the defence attorney and the prosecution.

    In Sri Lanka its the state that discriminates, where the majority tribe has seized control of the state, which is abused to intimidate and harass minorities. The activities of the army in Jaffna is a good example as they build buddhist temples but not churches and mosques.

    Often Sinhalese don’t see the wood from the trees and pontificate like the blind leading the blind….

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      well cant expect much from chaps like hi who sing for their rick packet can we Dushy? not unless they are bought over with a Biriyani by someone else heheheeheheh ;-)

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      Both Christinity and Islam are foreign religions. How did all these mega Churches and thousands of mosques came to Sri Lanka ?

      Is that discrimination ?

      What happened to the so many buddhist temples in the North or East. Even when Somawathi Area was destroyed by Muslims where were you, Reading the bible ?

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        This guy is an idiot and think Buddhism is not imported. What a rascal he is.

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    Milinda my man. see what you have done.

    Why do you pick on a small aberration, and make it a big issue to upset our Yankeephiles. .

    After all it was a White fella, discharging his Fire Arm in self defence.Isn’t it?

    What would you know better than the learned American jury?.

    How can you forget the great work they do in promoting HR,Democracy,and Alleviation of poverty in the Mid East, South Asia and Africa?..

    Did n’t you hear or read that only as late as last week that the good people from the US Embassy were pounding the dirt tracks in Killinochchi and Nanthikadal, , distributing sort of how to vote cards and educating the ex captives on reconcliation?

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      Sumane, tighten your loin cloth because the muck is following you!

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        Sumansekera (LEELA) will have a lot to tighten when the people who lost money come after him!

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      K.A. Sumanasekera aka Leela, aka The Realtor:
      Did you ever check on the “ethnicity” of Zimmerman? Despite the sound of his name you will find that he is HISPANIC!
      Strange the mistakes that the camp followers of racists keep making. But then Lokka like, Pandankaraya alike, no? Everyone is a Sinhala Yodaya or a Demala/White/Whatever you choose rotter, no?

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    Dushy Ranetunge, your comment was spot on. Thanks for the light…makes sense. People like Malinda are no better than the Gnasaras and Billy Gotas… They are fanatics unchecked. Malinda speaks to a foreign journalist on video…his attitude towards the guest certainly does not give a good impression of our countrymen!

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    difference is there was a trial,no messy cover up,Zimmerman didn’t go to prison hospital etc
    As an editor you would need to be skeptical at the least,not overtly aligned to one side.
    Now,if you edited a comic mag I’d understand but isn’t the Nation trying to position itself as serious readable mainstream news content?

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    If Barrack Obama talked about the 13th emandment, certainly he does not why it was inserted there.

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    Mahindapala &this man are. …….

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    I am amused here. Any moderate thinker with no political agenda would be.

    It took 150 years for America to come up with a system that will acquit a Zimmerman over the killing of a Martin and people thing its made progress? This is laughable.

    Some of the people who responded to this article with invective laden missives must clearly understand that the Americans fought two wars overseas recently “to bring about democracy” and, 10-15 years after their termination are still struggling to get any kind of system democratic or otherwise going in those places of recent conflict. Yet, they want Sri Lanka to do so in 4?

    I am cracking up not only at the thinking of the American lobby in global geopolitics but more so on the irrationality of those who respond to this article.

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    @Moderate
    When US forces are known to rape (Osaka,Iraq etc)kill,there is a inevitable process.
    Zimmerman,a white got off (for now)OJ Simpson got off too for killing his wife (white)and partner,but,today after re-trial he’s in jail for 30 years.
    Best to reflect if any of this is possible here,and then crack,crack.

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    Malinda,

    Like most commentators you make the classic mistake and indicate Barack Obama as black. Barack Obama is not black but of mixed parentage.

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    Malinda

    How did you manage to get the job of Chief Editor. Did you buy your way in. You must have

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    Malinda

    How did you get the job of Chief Editor. Did you buy your way in. You must have

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