25 November, 2020

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What The Trump Election Could Mean To Sri Lanka

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

While the in-box on my laptop seems to overflow with Donald Trump jokes and comment of a more serious nature about the implications of the election of an amoral and totally unprincipled man to head the most powerful nation in the world, little attention appears to have been paid to what effect this aberration in democratic practice in the USA will have on our little “land like no other.”

What follows is not intended to fill that void but would be, essentially, random musings of a Sri Lankan who lived in North America for more than three decades, fortunately, only adjacent to what one Canadian magazine columnist named Allan Fotheringham described as the “Excited States of Amnesia.” Given, what has transpired recently in the land of the Stars and Stripes, that might well serve as an accurate description of the US now, if not also in the recent past, given the fact that the “bastion of democracy” did, before Trump, elect Bedtime with Bonzo Reagan and “Dubya” Bush!

That Donald Trump’s election is going to be (another) “shot heard around the world” is beyond argument.  That it might lead to another world war is a fearsome possibility. If there is a “meantime” what is the likely response of a small nation like ours going to be and, more important yet, what should and could we do given that reality?

Not so long ago, we had a dictator demonstrating in our own bailiwick the most reprehensible traits that “the Donald” is expected to (if he hasn’t already) show in ample measure. Among these is to fill every lucrative nook and cranny with toadies to whom he could dictate terms and who would display nothing short of craven obedience to him, upto and including sharing their ill-gotten gains. What is more significant than the mayhem of the Rajapaksa years is the fact that we did succeed in ridding ourselves of that pestilence. In other words, unlike the vast majority of citizens of the USA (and other democratic countries), we have the advantage (?) of having previous experience to apply to a similar fate. The single most important difference being that the US is “big brother” to most of the rest of the world.

Before the Iron Curtain came down nations with the level of power and influence that we possess, in the ‘fifties and ’sixties, had another super-power to turn to for, at least, moral support. Why? The USSR and its satellite nations such as those in Eastern Europe would invest in industrial development projects in what was then Ceylon, as witness our first tire factory and the huge, though technologically prehistoric, monstrous cloth mill at Thulhiriya.  Now “the Donald” and Mr. Vladimir Putin appear to be “on the same page,” are “two birds of the same feather,” pick your analogy!

Beginning with what has been increasingly confirmed as the more-than-tacit support of the new Czar of Russia to “You’re Fired” Trump during the campaign leading up to the most recent US Presidential Election, Trump it is evident that simply intends to follow the precedents set by the leader of the other super-power, “modern” Russia. By a variety of means, beginning with making the Supreme Court of the USA a creature of the President he will, in all but name, become the supreme potentate of the US.

Obviously, there is not a great deal that a country as small and as insignificant as we are can do about turning what seems like the tide of world history.

However, with a modicum of good sense and wisdom and the experience of navigating the shoals of democracy over the past five, going on six, decades we can contribute to making some difference to the way that things unfold internationally.  After all, the Scandinavian countries have had, given their skimpy populations, a seemingly disproportionate positive impact on the recent history of the world. Also, the contribution of post-war Germany, recovering from a total devastation of its economy and a terrible heritage of “super race” disease and anti-Semitism should not be overlooked as an example of a nation able to make a 180 degree change of course becoming the most open of the European countries to refugees from countries considered to be beyond the pale in the matter of “racial purity” is, to me at least, an example of a nation that can change course very dramatically.

I would even go to the extent of saying that we had, in the recent past, and, still have, politicians demonstrating the best in statesmanship, honour, skill and dignity, not simply those with seemingly bottomless pockets, as was best demonstrated, with Royal Assent it were, during the Rajapaksa years.

If ever there was a time that such people need to emerge from the shadows of the thieves and thug that we have only recently ridden ourselves, this is it!

We can kill two birds with one stone as it were: demonstrate to the world that economic progress does not have to be divorced from considerations of decency and justice and, as a concomitant, ensure the return of our people to a life of dignity, both financial and otherwise.

Apart from the example of the Scandinavian countries, inclusive of the much –reviled (in Sinhala chauvinist circles at least) Norway, there are places such as the otherwise-inconsequential Bhutan that have chosen the humanist road for their people, measuring progress by “An index or happiness” rather than the malevolent Gross National Product.

The examples are there.  It is up to the people and government of this nation to choose the appropriate part rather than continue to spout empty platitudes!

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Latest comments

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    Trump is also about to scuttle the “two state solution” to the Palestinian/Israel problem – his children are married to Jews and one is engaged to a Jew.
    It is alleged that he “is a Jew at heart”.
    He has known Netanyahu for a long while too.

    Sri Lanka has always supported Palestine – it is to be hoped that this will not change.

    Our “Index of Happiness” is very high – among the Sirisena/Wickremasinghe toadies.

    • 3
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      What The Trump Election Could Mean To Sri Lanka:

      It means an unscrupulous politician like Trump can fool the masses with lies, half truths and fool them to believe that he is the messiah for them.

      The white working class who voted for him will realize their folly in the future.

      Monkey see monkey do: There are crafty politicians, at least one I know, who will exploit this strategy that worked for Trump and for Brexit.

      Trump is a notorious exemplar for a politician to exploit the Sinhala masses’ emotions with false promises and lies and win the next election.

      That is what it means to Sri Lanka.

      Note: Sinhala politicians have used this strategy long before Trump spreading false fears and lies about Tamils!

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        Thiru you sound so much like Antany Peter from New Zealand not living in NZ by any chance?
        Just to be faire and balance more than a handful of Tamils around the world believed and beloved unelected Murderer VP Karuna and his marauding mates and their promises. So when you say monkey see monkey do are you holding up your self as a prime example your self as Monkey see monkey do for Tamils who worshiped VP.

  • 1
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    [Edited out]
    Do you think, Sri lanka is Trump’s priority. He is trying his best to protect his but. Sri lanka is an american colony for some time. If not why Ambassador is making various claims on behalf of the Sri lankan govt and some Yhapalana ministers are mouth pieces for those govts.

    The Word DEMOCRACY is crap even in the west. It is the mwthod to fool voters. In coiuntires where leaders are weak it is important.

    fidel Castro got rid of all those people trying to promote Democracy making Havana a one big Brothel and a night club which colombo now has become. He survived hundreds of assasination attmepts. See how how our leaders are doing. they are better off in East London not among ignorent SL voters

  • 0
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    easy to pontificate platitudes, ole pal, doing it is the challenge!What The Trumpeter says about the press, is revealing, shades of Maharaja ?

    • 0
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      In Trumps case it is fact not fiction. Just today they attack his wife for resisting a prayer I bet Mrs. Obama recited verse from Koran or said Allah hu Akbar on the Whitehouse steps she would have been applauded by the hypocritical left for brining piece to the world.

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        Leonard:
        What a delightful piece of English (?) prose!
        Like the man said, in crude but pithy terms, “all f..rt and no s..t!”

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          Mr Emil van der Poorten
          Joker is the President. May I politely inquire your achievements. Oh let me guess perhaps renowned spell checker or rectal exhaust researcher.
          I guess the joke is on you now

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        leonard:
        Here you go again! Should be crowned the successor to “Sumaney” in the matter of repeating stupidities such as Mrs. Trump “resisting” the Lord’s Prayer.
        I am also bemused by what the “piece” was that Mrs Obama could have brought to the world!

        • 0
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          [Edited out]

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            MR. Emil van der Poorten
            Just to clarify no bad language or over the top personal insults were in my (edited out) comments. I guess mention of the location may have been the reason.

    • 0
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      He is attacking the free press. Is US going the way a third world is functioning, where the true values of a free and democratic country is devalued?People must be concerned.

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    Emil van der Poorten

    RE: What The Trump Election Could Mean To Sri Lanka

    “Apart from the example of the Scandinavian countries, inclusive of the much –reviled (in Sinhala chauvinist circles at least) Norway, there are places such as the otherwise-inconsequential Bhutan that have chosen the humanist road for their people, measuring progress by “An index or happiness” rather than the malevolent Gross National Product.”

    Thanks for the write up and the comparison.

    However, America does not have the lies and imaginations of Monk Mahanama in the Mahawamsa, that has bee the hallmark of Para-Sinhala “Buddhism”, that is a far cry from pristine Buddhism. What America has is a Constitution with the separation of Church and Stare and Bill of Rights and a tricameral legislature.

    Remember, Mahawansa is an Insult to the Buddha.

    Mahavamsa- An Insult To The Buddha! By Sharmini Serasinghe –

    “Wonder if ours might have been a wiser, and a more ‘humane’ society, had our ‘ancient’ history, been based on Aesop’s Fables, instead of the Mahavamsa. For if not for the Mahavamsa, the Sinhalese may not have been endowed, with the reputation, of “Sinhalaya Modaya (The Sinhalese are Fools)”!

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mahavamsa-an-insult-to-the-buddha/

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      “However, America does not have the lies and imaginations of Monk Mahanama in the Mahawamsa, that has bee the hallmark of Para-Sinhala “Buddhism”, that is a far cry from pristine Buddhism. What America has is a Constitution with the separation of Church and Stare and Bill of Rights and a tricameral legislature.”

      US Separation of Church and State, Bill of Rights and Tricameral is only in Theory. In practice (besides the Judiciary), the rest is all rubbish and could not be further from the truth

      The US sees itself as a Christian, White Nation first and above all, believes in and subscribes to it’s own exceptionalism. This in itself is way better than anythinng the most rabid of Sinhala Buddhist (monk or no monk) can conjure up

      Rajapakse claim to fame was simply pilferage. Trump and the US can destroy the world

      Sinhalayas may be modayas

      Sinhalayas voted Rajapakse OUT and Americans voted Trump IN.

      What does that tell you ?

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        maalumiris

        “Sinhalayas voted Rajapakse OUT and Americans voted Trump IN.”

        Did they?

        In 2005 they voted him in. MR won with the support of the LTTE, one of the biggest electoral con of this island. Yet he was voted in again because he killed more Demelas than any other leaders.

        If I am not mistaken there are voters other than Sinhalayas who voted him out, I just remembered, they are Muslims and Tamils. Dayan (the self confessed war monger and a public racist) typing in one of his rant implied the votes of Tamils and Muslims did not count as he saw at the time that “So Mahinda Rajapaksa indubitably won the majority of the majority of the island’s citizens: 55% of 70%. He lost. The winner failed to win a majority of the majority. He won. To a great many, this structural asymmetry makes the mandate look and feel like a doughnut.- Dayan Jayatilleka in the Island, 18 January 2015 where the title is “Beyond 50/50″

        You too believe the Tamil/Muslim votes didn’t count simply because the voters were from minority communities. All these years you were sitting on the fence however it appears you have joined the racist.

        Congratulations.

        The racist needs lots of support.

      • 0
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        Maalumiris:
        Don’t bet the family farm on a repeat of your penultimate sentence. Nobody ever was reduced to poverty on basing a bet on the stupidity of voters either in the US or little Sri Lanka. One difference is that our current lot seem to want to trump the US in that field.

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          Gentlemen

          Just to be clear, I was responding to the Paeans and Songs of Praise that Amarasiri was singing about the separation of State and Religion and the Most Excellent and Awesome tricameral structure of the US body politic.

          Today, I can see it has degenerated to a load of BS and a free-for-all, little different to Sri Lanka’s own profiteering political classes. Perhaps you do too. But not everyone does and still believe in the White Mans Burden

          Nevertheless,

          I can see Rajapakse OUT and “Yahapalanaya” (whatever the heck that is), IN.

          Native, What’s your point ?

          As usual, you are nitpicking. Yes, there were non-Sinhalas who voted Rajapakse out. And indeed, some were Tamils and some were Muslims and perhaps some were Sindhis or Burghers and maybe even Malays. Happy now ?

          Or would you like me to list every ethnic and sub-ethnic / language group in Sri Lanka to cement the validity of the election result ? Which incidentally could not have been accomplished without the Sinhala vote or the vote of others.

          Don’t be obtuse

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            maalumiris

            “Or would you like me to list every ethnic and sub-ethnic / language group in Sri Lanka to cement the validity of the election result ?”

            Sometimes I take it upon myself to remind those who habitually, deliberately, passionately …. forget state the facts, history, truth, ….

            If I had annoyed you I meant it however nothing personal.

  • 0
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    MarakkalaVandAmare is a fan of Shamini Serasinghe?
    ‘Birds’ of a feather, flock together, with the oldie on the bird.

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      Raj Abey:
      I do wish that CT would bring in a policy of not publishing TOTAL incomprehensibilities such as those you spout.

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        Mr. Emil van der Poorten

        Beauty of freedom in a democracy Raj Abey and uneducated poor old me get a opportunity.I can somewhat sympathizes in your frustration of losing old value of elitism. Free market has given people the incentive to get out of the poverty than any other system over the last decades and I agree with Milton Friedman.

        We may not understand, agree or like others say or write but that is a very small inconvenience that I’m willing to put up against the option of suppression and censorship by elitist who think they know better. In most instances CT has been a shining light of upholding this principle.

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