By Tisaranee Gunasekara –
“…the issues you fought the election on resonated far beyond the borders of the USA. With your election…we look forward to a new world order based on the principles of the sovereign equality of all nations and non-interference in the internal affairs of nation states.” ~ Mahinda Rajapaksa’s message to Donald Trump[i]
“Our message is that Americans should draft a policy not to take away the independence and sovereignty of other nations.” ~ Afghan Taleban’s message to Donald Trump[ii]
Donald Trump’s victory is a beacon of hope to extremists of every stripe, from the Ku Klux Klan to Marine Le Pen, from Islamic extremists and Hindu nationalists to our very own Bodu Bala Sena. Reflected in Mr. Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America great again, they see the shape of their own lost paradises, a white-only Shangri la, a Hindu Raj, a Sinhala-Buddhist Kingdom, a Caliphate… Mr. Trump’s victory demonstrates the possibility of what every radical reactionary dreams of – a new national order in which the dominant racial/ethnic/religious group has special rights and the ‘Other’ can exist only on terms of explicit and structural inequality; and a new world order in which dominant groups are allowed to oppress minorities, subjugate women, exploit workers, dispossess peasants, destroy environment and act as tyrannically as they want to within their own national borders.
Mr. Trump’s victory heralds a new Zeitgeist, one pivoted on fear and hate of the ‘Other’ and embodying all the worst impulses of the human mind. It speaks not to the best in us, but the worst in us. It lends wings to the fears we fear to articulate and the hates we hate to express. It renders normal what is truly abnormal and makes possible that which should never happen. It cleaves to the parochial and abhors the mere idea of the universal, including universal franchise.
When Maithripala Sirisena won the 2015 Presidential election, the pro-Rajapaksa camp derided his victory and his presidency as ‘not-quite-legitimate’. Mr. Rajapaksa had won more Sinhala votes than Mr. Sirisena, and in the eyes of Sinhala-supremacists, that made him the real winner of the presidential election. The underlying argument was a profoundly anti-democratic one – Sri Lanka is a Sinhala land and Sinhala votes should have a greater weight in deciding the country’s ruler; any victorious candidate who fails to obtain a majority of Sinhala votes is not a legitimate president but a usurper.
It was a similar vein of racial resentment Donald Trump tapped into. He depicted the election as the last chance for white Americans to take their country back. His nomination as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party and his open and unabashed embrace of an atavistic vision of America turned the US election into a head-on battle between the cosmopolitan, open-minded side of human psyche (which is as old as civilisation and enabled it) and its older tribal half. As a commentator for Slate said, “Trump forged a politics of white tribalism and white people embraced it.”[iii]
For the first time in a long time, the sole super power is led by a man who has no problem with overt white racism, who regards the non-white people of the world as unequal beings undeserving of equality or even common respect. A closer look at Mr. Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric demonstrates this attitude. He is not against immigration per se or even illegal immigration per se; his current wife began her life in the United States by breaking immigration laws. His opponents decried this as a sign of hypocrisy, but his supporters shrugged it away, just as they shrugged away his racism and his misogyny, his tax-dodging and his vulgarity, his ignorance and his lack of compassion. They knew better. His problem – and their problem – is not with all immigrants, but with immigrants who are racially different, the non-white immigrants mostly from the Third World. When Mr. Trump said he wanted to make American great again, what he meant was he wanted to make America white again.
And every extremist everywhere, who wants to destroy the present and build on its ruins a future which is the replica of some imaginary past, is cheering.
Economic Injustice Breeds Reaction
Brexit was warning sign, but the first churnings of the tidal wave of retrogression which swept the orange-haired tycoon to victory began in Maghreb and the Middle East. The tragic failure of the Arab Spring not only killed hope for progress in the Arab world; it also opened a path to relevance for radical reaction in Europe and elsewhere.
In Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen, the future warred against a politically and religiously stultified past, and lost. The bewildering series of wars which engulfed the region – and the spectacular growth of the IS – ignited a massive refugee crisis. As millions fled their war-ravaged homelands to Europe, the European ultra-right gained a new lease of life. Immigration shifted from a fringe obsession to a winning issue, xenophobia became a legitimate and respectable way of expressing patriotism and the hitherto inconceivable started to become all too hideously possible.
The victory of left-wing Syriza in Greece presented the only realistic chance of staving off the onslaught of the radical right, but that possibility was killed by the neo-liberal fundamentalists governing Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who led the EU operation to undermine Athens’ progressive experiment, is now suffering the consequences of her own success. The downward path which began with Brexit is likely to end with her political demise, together with the demise of her goal of an inclusive Europe.
History warns us, time and again, that demagogues flourish in economies which are broken, economies which manifestly fail large swathes of ordinary people. Economics played a major role in the failure of the Arab Spring. Economics also played a major role in igniting anti-immigrant hysteria across Europe and enabling Brexit to score an unexpected victory. Donald Trump’s demagoguery would not have succeeded to the degree it did, had American economic recovery been a little more equal, a little less skewed in favour of the 1%. Mr. Trump, who inherited his first million from his father, whose business practices are notoriously anti-labour, who used a legal loophole to get out of paying taxes close to a billion dollars, was able to cast himself in the unlikely role of the saviour of the white working class because there was no competition from his rivals. Race was the lynchpin of his winning bloc, but economics played a key role in forging that lynch pin.
Commenting on the electoral disaster which befell his country, astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson said that the task for the next four years is to make America smart again[iv]. Donald Trump did outperform Hillary Clinton among the less educated and the wilfully ignorant (such as climate-change deniers and evolution-deniers), according to exit polls. A more intelligent and aware electorate is necessary to keep other Trumps out of power. That is necessary. But the starting point should be the acceptance of a historically validated fact – inclusive politics cannot be sustained without inclusive economics. Economic inequality is the greatest enemy of political equality. Trying to promote political progress in a context of reactionary economics which create huge income gaps between the rich and the rest is like running a marathon with one leg.
In the US, the economy of 1% enabled the rise and the triumph of Donald Trump. That he too is a member of that 1% was not relevant; that is how demagoguery works. The only way to prevent that disastrous outcome in other lands is for progressive political parties and forces to place economic inclusivity on par with political inclusivity.
Sri Lanka, Vulnerable
Sri Lankan probably marks the last victory of the global democratic wave, the final beneficiary of a politically progressive Zeitgeist. But no victory is eternal. And in this über-globalised world, no country can isolate itself from the ideological tentacles of the incoming Zeitgeist.
Donald Trump’s victory in and of itself cannot bring about a Rajapaksa resurgence, but it enhances that possibility considerably. Not because Mr. Trump would help the Rajapaksas; we can be very certain that Mr. Trump wouldn’t be able to tell Mr. Rajapaksa and Mr. Musevini apart or find Sri Lanka on a world map. But his victory renders legitimacy to those who hate progress and yearn to return to some ideal past, to those who seek salvation through a racial/religious project led by a strong leader. As a spokesman for the Syrian Jihadist group Jabhat Fatah-al-Sham, Hamza al-Karibi tweeted jubilantly, “Trump’s victory is a powerful slap to those promoting the benefits of democratic mechanisms.”[v]
In Sri Lanka, the myth of rich Tamils, rich Muslims and rich Christians preying on poor Sinhalese and poor Buddhists is probably as old as the Dharmapala-phenomenon. That pernicious lie has remained deeply engrained, in part because no political party has challenged it. On the contrary, almost all political parties have tried to use that myth to their electoral advantage time and again. That lie will be a fundament in the Rajapaksa project to regain power. But it will resonate with the Sinhala majority only if the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration fails to deliver at least a modicum of economic justice.
The signs so far are not very encouraging. The VAT hikes indicate that this government too prefers to take the easy path of increasing indirect taxes, thereby imposing an even greater share of the burden of recovery on the poor and the middle classes. The new budget provides some marginal relief by reducing the taxes on several essential consumer items. But the budget also illustrates the government’s lack of an economic vision. This critical absence has prevented the government from abandoning the Rajapaksa strategy of massive physical infrastructure projects which bring negligible benefits to the ordinary people.
Promising million jobs doesn’t deliver million jobs. The government needs to encourage industries capable of creating employment opportunities which tally with the human resource base we have. The construction industry – including the government funded physical infrastructure projects – is no longer capable of that. So unemployment will not be dented and youth unemployment in particular will continue to remain at its current dangerously high level while more Chinese and Indian labour will have to be allowed in, to fulfil the short term demands of the construction industry.
The budget underscores that the government has failed to develop a clear path to save the existing export industries or to develop new ones. There is nothing akin to the 200 Garment Factories Programme, which created the best kind of private-public partnership and encouraged economic activity which led to job creation and income generation at village level. Handing over thousands of acres to Chinese investors in Hambantota is not development. It will worsen the living problems of the people – including the exacerbation of human-elephant conflict. So will the continuation of the Rajapaksa craze of building highways.
A government with an economic vision and cohesive goals will not penalise and discourage national savings through re-imposed taxes. A government which has a modicum of economic reason will not give free tabs to A Level students while hiking the costs of using internet. A government which has an iota of political sense will not undertake the building of the world’s tallest Christmas Tree in the world while destroying the livelihoods of a substantial segment of people in the Catholic belt via intensified dredging and sand mining.
“The taxes including a recent value added tax on health care is likely to test the popularity of the administration which has also been wracked by high profile corruption scandals…”[vi] warned a commentator. The budget is not a development budget but a money-making budget. The money made primarily via more indirect taxes will be spent on glitzy infrastructure projects and silly handouts (such as the bursary to student monks).
That is a path to economic and political disaster. At its end awaits the Rajapaksas.
sach / November 13, 2016
Every one knows Hilary is anti Sri Lankan , only a Sri Lanka hater would rejoice at the victory of Hilary. The claims that Trump is racist or MR is racist is hollow drivel by the masquerading ‘liberals’
Vanguard / November 13, 2016
You do not need so many words to disguise hate of Mahinda Rajapakse dont waste everyones time just say it.
Dr. Rajasingham Narendran / November 13, 2016
This budget is better described as a ‘ Pick Pockets Budget’. It takes away more than it gives in deft sleight of hand moves. Thieves are getting away, while we are being milked dry.
Kumar R. / November 13, 2016
Didn’t you advocate in the post war years that the Diaspora should divert their remittances away from “family and friends” and instead direct them to Gota and MR for their needs.
When exactly did you learn the skills to out “thieves”?
Should you have not at least apologized to the Diaspora for your blunder?
Ansar / November 13, 2016
Don’t worry Tissaranee, MY3 will hand over our beautiful country back to MARA, THE MOST BRUTE AND MURDEROUS FAMILY on a platter. Donald Trump’s victory is only an icing of the cake.
He handed over partially, on the day he made that suicidal speech to protect the MURDERERS AND PLUNDERERS. The rest will be done by Ranil with the help of James BOND.
We are always duped and doomed as a Nation.
Bensen Berner / November 13, 2016
This was a presidential election with the most minimal turnout by the voters. This is not surprising. Both contestants were the most hated ever. Bensen
EDWIN RODRIGO / November 13, 2016
Thisaranee, I always gave high marks for your articles. But this time you get only 2 out of 10. Sorry, but that is all that my Guru Kumar David got from me this time. And for the same reason. Both of you left out the most evil organization in the world today. Namely, the Clinton Foundation. May be not for you because you may be living in a far away country and don’t care about Mother Lanka.In the case of Prof AKD it looks like a selective lapse of memory. But in your case it looks like a deliberate action.
You mention “Ku Klux Klan to Marine Le Pen, from Islamic extremists and Hindu nationalists to our very own Bodu Bala Sena”. And you just ignore CF. This is the organization that works clandestinely to destabilize Sri Lanka. The Tiger remnants love CF and donate millions earned through their drug and running + all the nefarious activities they are involved in.
I was against MR before. But with RW’s bond scam and people like AKD preferring to have selective memories and others like you having selective targets, I have started to like him.
Sam Fernando / November 13, 2016
what do you think about the brutal incident occured in Madakalapuwa – Mangalaramaya yesterday ?
Do you think it is right that monk to allow run amok again ?
WIth all respect to his work done saving the temple from being terror attacks, riskinig his life and doing the due for the people inthe areas, but his thuggish acts should be punished in compliance with local law and order regulations. He is not the person to serve people with justice in that area so long the police there. Else, anyone that studies the incident can feel… anarchy is governing there and the reason why the aggressive and abusive monk to take the role of police instead.
I think he has no right to loud that way – thopi thopi to GS in that scene there he has betrayed us all sinhalayas and making every efforts to see new seeds for a new form of conflict between two folks. That is no means acceptable. Why to keep Sinhaalaya superior that way is no means acceptable. We fought 30 years long and again to behave this way, is no means acceptable…
we have to respect that GS not to have lost his temper – there he has shown the civilized standards. Hat off to him … however, not knowing the real bits we cant know close grounds, but govt and authorities have to take a prompt action immediately on this. Better to send the man in Robes to a therapy….. is imperative. He has lost his testesterone controls. This act has caused all anxities in us eventhough being thousands of miles way.
EDWIN RODRIGO / November 13, 2016
Sam, I certainly deplore the way the monk has spoken if the report is true, which seems to be the case. It is an insult to my religion, where, the so called Sathara Brahma Viharana Metta, Karuna, Muditha and Upeksha are the 4 guidelines by which you deal with others, even with those who consider you as an enemy.
There are rogues in robes but the thing is that unlike most other major religions we have no central authority to control them. It is a price we have to pay for a religion, which unlike the Abrahamic religions has no creator, no central authority controlling the sasana and where salvation is in one’s own hands.
We are welcome to criticize and question the teachings as long as it is not done with malice. The reason ny father converted from Catholicism to Buddhism is mainly because of these features. The sense of freedom of thought is great.
Sam Fernando / November 13, 2016
Reports on the monk s behavour is a truth. This is not the first time he has gone amok that way. Sadly, various walks of people support him thinking and considering he has done lot more work in protection of the temple in that area. If done so, it was a good thing, but raththaran kaduwa kiyala annoth marenne nethiwa thiyenne nehene – even a gold swode would have been used to hurt someone, there will be no difference. Right ? Since the incident came to air last night – I happened to study most of the comments added its you tube video – proved me how radical those commentators have been. Sure, those people met with the various issues in that areas are the ones to know the gravity of their problems. However, authoriteis have to have addressed them accordingly, if the particular monk tries to take the role of police or the authorities, there, the monk should be made clear … that that cant go that way… that is the basics the monk should have been aware.
Besides, there was one another indicient occured previoulsy, the monk even attacked the visiting police woman verbally and physcially with other police men let to be just onlookers. Can you imagine ?
Not even police has been able to mediate as authoriteis, so long a person would wear Sanga costumes. Sanga the place given tot hem in this country is above everything.
It is high time, Maha chapters to discuss the issue now itself.. this is imperative Edwin. For what we have ministry of religious affairs. There they should bring laws amending the prevailing ones so that a provisions can be made useful also against the kind of IRC monks… or what do you think ?
Besides, we as sinhalaya should be very ashamed the way to allow a RASCAL Monk to attack fellow tamil GS that way ” thopi thopi.. you demala.. etc “… disgusting squared. Why the authoriteis seem not taking or being unable to take any actions sofar should be discussed.
I hate to see the senders such as Derana, Hiru and Sirasa of Killi woudl be taking to abuse the opportunity but not doing the due being impartial-
EDWIN RODRIGO / November 13, 2016
I am not doubting the veracity of the report. The priest in our village is a multi billionaire due to his business of ‘black magic’ fooling the people with his hooniyan, seth shanthis etc., which the Buddha rejected totally.
But he ignores the irreversible environmental and health impact of a huge rock in the village being blasted to provide ‘metal’ to build the Colombo Port City. The billionaire quarry owners have got his support him not to oppose the quarrying.
Looking at the Catholic clergy I am sure they are mostly doing a great service to the community by identifying the real needs and the moods of the people in the area and taking action where necessary.
I don’t know what we can do about this. Perhaps the affected persons such as the GS can report to the authorities. perhaps they have done but there has been no action. What do you suggest?
Just writing about it is not enough. What more can we do? Let us all discuss it and do something to stop him and punish him for what he has done already. I will lend my active support come what may.
Sam Fernando / November 14, 2016
Who you are refering to – that violent monk- Mangalaramaya/Batticalo or any other priest ?
I never thought him to be a rich monk. It is said some buddhists from Uk finance him. Anyways, I cant know every bit about the mad person me being away from the country. My thoughts go to 80ties. I have been away from teh country since late 80ties.
All what we cant do is little being away from the country. But politicians have to work on amending the lawful provisions so that the kind of abusive monks too are being caught by police.
Assume if police forcefully arrested him on the incident, stupid folks would have made the place a blood bath for sure. The place given to anyone wearing that YELLOW/RED/SAFFRON constumes have automatically been treated with impunity by now. That needs to change at least now. So that we can corner all these abusive monks accordingly.
EDWIN RODRIGO / November 14, 2016
I am referring to the Baticaloa priest.
EDWIN RODRIGO / November 14, 2016
Yes, an arrest would cause a lot of trouble. people such as these and even MARA depends on such followers who would go berserk out of a sense of ill placed loyalty.
Do you know what this priest’s political affiliations are? If he is a Yahapalana supporter, our President is bound to interfere to defend him.
Perhaps we can approach the Malwatte/Asgiriya Mahanayakas and urge them to do investigate? Also emphasize what a disgrace it is to us Buddhists in general.
I know a the Chief incumbent of a temple in the Matugama area. he too is an activist. But he does not use profanities like this one. I will have a chat with him and see. He is very close to the Mahanayakas.
Something has to be done.
timbuttu / November 14, 2016
Bigots won’t reason!
TG works for CBK dynasty.
It is Atkin Spence that donates to CF. Present TGTE tigers have no funding to match it and in any case they have shown support to the government (from 1945 foreign policy which Trump is going to write off). If it did Obama won’t send Samanta power and give lanka 1.5 billion.
You are on your own – Deal with it- the stupids have won and they are talking selfish.
Rizwan / November 13, 2016
Ms. Gunasekara is accurate about Sri Lanka’s plight. However my belief is that the the leaders, Maithri and Ranil, are focusing on the new constitution. Other matters take second place, and rightly so. Fix the structure of government and everything else – the law, the economy etc. will automatically fall into place, regardless of the person(s) in power. It is short term pain for a long lasting solution.
Ms. Gunasekara is unfortunately not so accurate about the plight of the US. Perhaps she gets her news from the same main stream media that inaccurately predicted Clinton’s triumph.
The US is in peril, but it is not from Trump. It is in peril from the Establishment, the companies and businesses that control politicians to their own benefit. Trump’s rise to power is a manifestation of the disillusionment of the masses from watching politicians come and go promising much but delivering nothing. Trump is an outsider and therein lies the hope. Trump’s nationalist rhetoric (magnified significantly over other good and balanced opinions) during his campaign should be WHOLLY ignored. It was merely to appeal to those masses who cared about such things. It will not be representative of his presidency. Trump is a businessman, and it will be this that characterizes his presidency. And this also will be of great benefit to the world including Sri Lanka.
ramona therese fernando / November 13, 2016
There is a bit of difference between America and Sri Lanka.
America is a new country that needs its immigrants. The difference is, instead of poor immigrants that swathe her shores in the early 1900’s, nowadays more lucrative immigrants are sought for. Trump said for example the he’ll take in rich Muslims. The wall he proposes sound a terrible thing, and we wish it would not be built, but Mexicans are not looking after their poor, and are playing mean games with Ameica, based on thieir historical anger of Americans taking over their lands in the 1800’s. Hence they play pucks with border crossing.
History aside, the Americans too need to live decently, according to the system they have set up. Guess Trump will create jobs for poorer American communities, like the Black communities, from the ones the Mexicans took up, besides also setting up manufacturing jobs after bringing jobs back from China.
Ok, some of the policies will be isolationist, but it will still better than the Democratic play at cosmopolitianism, and then going out with drones and tanks to force-colonize the globe.
Bad part to all of this is the possible rise of a White exremism, but as that only constitutes about 5% of the American White population (overt and covert). Hey, we can live with that, especially as modern science has proved the Neandethal gene in European races, and so they know they can’t go around acting superior anymore.
All in all, I believe Trump is a kindly guy with a big heart who is always willing to listen to the underdog, and make things better through capitalistic equations that everybody seems to prefer to work with, before a global socialistic consensus is established for the sake of prosterity.
Now for Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a different system; a different historical perspective. But as in America, where everybody speaks English and acts American Christian based White culture (with about 0.1% foreign cultural assimilation), so more has Sri Lanka the right of Sri Lankan Buddhist cultural heritage.
ramona therese fernando / November 14, 2016
Of course it is hoped that Trump will give concession to Mexican illegals and give them legal status, as this was formally their land for millennia, till the Whites drove them away about 200 years ago. Those accross the border are in limbo, and have been for generations, being neither looked after properly by the Mexican government nor the Americans who stole their land. It’s also difficult to see so many White (and Black) people suffering because successive American governments did not look after their own either.
Mallaiyuran / November 13, 2016
This only an election in American elections which comes every four years like the Sun in the sky in every morning. The only problem this time is Senate, House and Supreme Court are with republicans and it is an ideal temperature to incubate Mussolini or Hitler. But that is unlikely because,”Republicans” need not to mean crazycracy, but it is still it is democracy. Speaker Boehner resigned because of disagreement with Tea Party. Speaker Gingrich was forced to resign for immoral conducts. Current speaker openly declared he was not supporting Trump in election. Nixon was another case. Trump is well aware of that when he has the political establishment readjusted and start to do the things in his way, the four years will be over. So he knows unless he comes back he cannot have achieved any of the things he promised in this election. He cannot be any crazy this four years to drive American people away from his support.
When the next election comes in four years, the Blacks and Hispanics who boycott to vote to Hillary on the issue of Sanders will be in the booths once more. Then there is a chance of Kamala Harris is on the ballot paper too. She could be the Navi Pillay of America. Navi Pillay made aware of Tamils problems in the UN. Kamala Harris may be the person going to make the Tamils’ problem known in America. Unlike Navi Pillay, who though from South Africa, was still known as Tamil. But Kalama is in mix of many things. She is known as Black, not Tamil. She is so far more clean than Hillary. That too a Obama legacy. This may motivate the Blacks, who brought Obama, once more to help to seat Democratic party in the White House.
This not comparable to buy UNP MPs and pass 18A to crown a Hitler, or winning election with”Yahapalanaya” slogan and save the Old Royal family from all Financial Frauds and Criminal Conducts.
There was an election in 2015 in Lankawe too. It was not timed at all. It was timed to stabilize the third name of the Series of Hitler-Mussolini- Mahinda. But Tamils and Muslims disturbed it. So the world did not fight a war to remove the third as the first two. It is still remaining as ticking time bomb in Lankawe. SLFP has preserved its all traits to come back with the same colors. In the Lankawe there is no hope for a Kamala Harris, after Yahapalanaya atrocities. From 1948, their only hope was Trumps, Trumps and Trumps. This is one explanation when Trump came to power people fearing that America may change to bad half, but when Yahapalanaya came to power, they were indifferent to the new government’s slogans. In Lankawe, election is nothing. It does let the same wheel to roll. But in America like Democratic countries election is while important, it is dangerous too. It can change the hand of power and direct the country to a new unexpected direction. So there the four years, Sun in the east sky in the mornings election system is implemented too. But Lankawe’s UNP, after ruling for 7 years, extended the Parliament with a referendum and unlike the Blacks and Hispanics, who rejected Democratic Party’s superdelegates decision to elect Hillary, boycotted the presidential election, the people of Lanakwe who are indifferent for all these, voted in that referendum, without boycotting.
Anonymous / November 13, 2016
Sri Lanka has it’s last chance to recover from this regressive cycle the Rajapaksas has set it on. For that this government has to gain the courage to do what has to be done. Go after the Rajapaksas and their criminal network, clean up the political system enabling intelligent people to enter while setting up measures that prevent gangsters, mafia and criminals from entering politics.
Hold them accountable for all their crimes and lock them up or they will topple you before you can clean up the country…
Also this has to be followed up with real measures to uplift the quality of life of all Sri Lankan and not these half hearted efforts we see at the moment.
We don’t need another government that fools the people.
EDWIN RODRIGO / November 13, 2016
In the past, people were born royal. Nowadays, royalty comes from what you do. (Gianni Versace)
Your part can be the king, but unless people are treating you like royalty, you ain’t no king, man. (Jeff Bridges)
Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility. (Saint Augustine)
Thisaranee has never responded to comments of the CT readers, questions and innuendos by any one of us in this forum. She probably thinks it is below her level (Thathvaya) to do so because she is so much above all of us.
On the other hand, we have seen intellectuals like Professor Kumar David doing that many times, sometimes sarcastically, sometimes angrily, showing that he is made of different stuff. Even in our undergrad days, he has been a humble person. Like other lecturers he could have kept a distance with us students but he never did that and maintained the relationships in a machan level. It needs confidence and conviction to do that and he had that.
In the case of our lady, she sits like a wise owl in some den somewhere and emerges from it to give even wiser proclamations and then retreats back perhaps to ponder on what the next wise proclamation is going to be.
So please be warned that you can ask questions from her majesty but she will never bring herself down from her high perch to answer them.
jim softy / November 13, 2016
See, if this election happened in Sri lanka all these analysts would have talked about email scandle, lies and so many other scandles of hilary and how roudy was Trump.
Now, this make shift analysts have forgotten all thsoe and have already white washed everything.
Spring Koha / November 13, 2016
Indulgence! And, all very interesting. Still, I cannot help feeling that all our prognostications count for a hill of mung-atta if we ignore the elephant in our warm and humid tropical room.
I am referring to the scoundrel called Ampitiya Sumane who once again produced an outburst (in Batticaloa) to remind us that the bastards who would divide us are alive and well, and vocal. Once again, the law stood by, and DID NOTHING. I am old enough to remember the mid-fifties when I saw this cancer spread. Quickly it affected ‘the minority’ before inevitably engulfing the majority. Did we really free ourselves from the cancer in May 2009?
If these evil men (dressed in yellow) are NOT stopped, consider our Miracle of Asia doomed. Another 30 years when the investors go somewhere else, the tourists find other havens to explore. All the fancy predictions of our sweating economists will count for nought. Only the arms dealers will profit.
Oh, and the men who will build the walls to separate us.
Emil van der Poorten / November 14, 2016
You are right on the money!
Sylvia Haik / November 17, 2016
It’s another brilliant analysis by Tisaranee Gunasekara as usual. She has made some excellent observations and it will be at their peril for the Ranil/Maithripala government to ignore them. In USA Trump’s frauds, sexual predations, blatant lies etc. did not prove a hindrance to him because he was relentlessly only offering change from the establishment. The establishment most visible to the people was their 1% getting richer at the expense of the poor. The hike on indirect taxes here does exactly thatand the masses will want change. At the next election, people will ignore all of Mahinda Rajapakse’s frauds, bribes etc. because he will be offering change, like Trump. But,as events unfold in USA, with Trump’s appointments from the bankers he villied during his campaign, change cannot be delivered that easily.
anotherbuddhist / November 14, 2016
Tisaranee Gunasekara is speaking from one side of her mouth, the liberal side, like the mainstream media. They all turned to echo chambers- BBC, CNN, Al Jezeera and all others wearing the same clothes / same slogans. They just repeated often said mantra- Brexit is racist; Trump is racist (and Rajapaksa is racist). They forgot that their favoured candidate Hillary Clinton epitomised the new racism- war is OK along a it in US / NATO interest;national borders should be open at Washington’s request to accept refugees US does not want; and Hillary Clinton’s corruption does not need any attention (unlike the claims of corruption against leaders of nations US has earmarked for regime change) even when she receives blood stain money from the likes of Saudi Arabia!
What double standards / what duplicity to ensure that it is business as usual. Hillary elected in the guise of the ‘first woman President’and Trump is shunned as a racist. First woman President’? Which planet do they live/ and you?
Hela / November 14, 2016
TG wants us to ignore or forget two important elements related to 2015 presidential elections. One, that Sirisena lost majority votes of the majority. Two, Sirisena’s win was assured by a captive block vote delivered to him by TNA under Indian instructions. This is a huge aberration that justifiably questioned Sirisena’s legitimacy (forget about the subsequent yahapalana action in subverting democratic principles in the way they subjugated the parliament, the way they sacked the chief justice and the ongoing mass scale corruption all of which were happily endorsed by the likes of TG). The strong following displayed by MR to date is a clear indication of the aberration of January 2015. The force that was suppressed conspiratorially in 2015 is waiting like the rubber ball being pressed under the water and will come out like the Brexit, like Trump’s win. Only a genuine effort to address their aspirations/grievances will save Ranl, Sirisena, CBK mob from a major shock. However I doubt the DNA of Ranil, Sirisena, CBK yahapalana combo is orientated that way.
Patriot / November 14, 2016
TG has finally got it. Let’s wait together for the MR come back.
Justin / November 14, 2016
MR is wrong. Trump is against a New World order.
A pig always looks for mud, its joyful place. Likewise, the Sinhala racists look for racial mud to invent and enjoy.
This same mind set prevails with MR’s wasteful message to Trump- which anyway will go direct to the waste bin of Trump.
The writer of this article surely has the mind set of a pig.
Trump is not a racist like MR or as the writer of this article view him.
In his victory speech Trump stressed that ALL must work together to make America great again. He stressed the importance of love amongst people, not hatred, and said that he often read the Bible.
Trump said he was especially captivated by 1 John 4th chapter and said from memory “No one has ever seen God. If we love one another the love of God dwells in us and His love is made perfect in us” (Verse 12). He said this to be very true for America.
But a pig thinks mud. A reason for this article.
A democrat from USA / November 17, 2016
“I was against MR before. But with RW’s bond scam and people like AKD preferring to have selective memories and others like you having selective targets, I have started to like him.”
I spoke to a few fellow Sri Lankans living in the Middle East, Europe, and North America (US & Canada) and they say the same; it looks like that MR had sensed the grave weaknesses of the neo-liberal internationalization or globalization that does harm than good to small countries like Sri Lanka. With or without much knowledge MR protected the country with the help of many among whom some were obviously crooks like Sajin Vaas, Rajitha, and champika. Now they are no longer with him, a lot of floating voters have started to liking him; if he has corrected himself he may be a good PM and he may do a very good job since this is his final project before his retirement.
The general impression today is that Good Governance has done nothing good to people of Sri Lanka; Yahapalanists cannot blame MR for loans because he had completed some visible and tangible development projects including Highways, an international airport, and a deep-sea harbor etc.! When PM Ranil ridicules these projects the General Public laugh at him! If the harbor is a white elephant why a Chinese company is ready to buy it for US 1.2 billion!!!!! What it says is the current government doesn’t know how to manage a potentially viable investment but the Chinese company does!
What the people say is that at the beginning, the current government was very busy scheming (not development plans, but) ‘robberies’ and that’s why they failed to complete the 100 day program; some say these Yahapalanists did not have any development plan for the country at all and even today they don’t. This may be true because once you are planning to commit a serious crime (or once you have done it) you cannot concentrate your mind on any good thing! If you look back what they were doing is to point the fingure at MR and called him the robber for almost 2 years! When people’s attention was thus diverted to the MR and his group, FCID and media too played a role in diverting the attention towards MR, his family, and friends. Did these Yahapalanists take all of us (media as well as the general public) for a ride? I have already asked myself?
Meanwhile the Great Bank Robbery occurred; they robbed it not just once but twice; and the theft was unprecedented! The worst is the attempt made by the UNP MPs ministers, and henchmen to cover it up! One English news channel called them the ‘foot-note club’!
For the average Sri Lankans, the CB scam is the last straw that broke the camel’s back! What do you expect from these poor peasants, average workers, and laborers to do when they have fallen from the frying pan to fire?
EDWIN RODRIGO / November 17, 2016
Democrat, thanks for that. I didn’t even know that the MS existed until he became the common candidate. As such I am not much disappoint with him. No – my disappointment (calling it a disappointment is a huge understatement) is with Ranil.
My family as well as my wife’s family have been UNP supporters for many generations. My father, a School Head Master was a speaker in the election platforms of Sir Albert Peiris (The Speaker a long time back, when clean politicians were the norm). So, UNP support is in my genes and that makes disappointment not just a disappointment but a huge disappointment. if, contrary to our expectations, he is a crook and made some money for himself, then too I would have been disappointed – yes – but not to the same extent.
Even now, after all this, my wife will not have any one talking badly against RW in our house. She still trusts him and thinks that he is the only hope for Sri Lanka and clings to the belief that the bond incident was a mistake and not a pre meditated crime. Ranil let down all such people who trusted him, with a bone shattering bang.
What I detest is that he is doing all this due to a false sense of loyalty to one single individual, a fellow Royalist. For him our feelings, our hopes seem to be nothing. To hell with all the people of this country seems to be attitude. The only one who matters to him seems to be Arjuna. And that hurts.
Emil van der Poorten / November 18, 2016
Tisaranee is right on the money again!
The US and the Democrats, specifically, missed a golden opportunity in not having nominated Bernie Sanders who even though he might not have satisfied the holier-than-thou branch of social democrats might have given the US and the rest of the world some sort of chance of peace and justice.
Let us not, in Sri Lanka, not miss the opportunity to mobilize a third force outside the Rajapaksa Rump and the MR2 (Maithripala/Ranil) lot to deliver something resembling honest government without loading up on duty-free vehicles and maintaining very obvious links – such as do Wijedasa Rajpaksa – with the lot this country had thought it had got rid of.
The younger voters, untraditionally, not only came out to vote en masse but voted against the status quo in the States and in the Labour Party in Britain. Why can’t we do the same in Sri Lanka, bringing together the youth and the not-so-young in a coalition for justice and honesty that crosses doctrinaire political lines?