19 November, 2019

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What We Can Learn From Mangala’s 30 Years In Politics: Ambassador Samantha Power’s Speech – Full Text

I am extraordinarily honored to be here today. It is wonderful to be back in Sri Lanka, for the first time since 2015, when I visited as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. 

Sri Lanka has been a true partner of the United States, and I am grateful that many of the relationships I was able to form while working with your country have endured, and become very meaningful friendships.

Right now, I am in the final weeks of finishing writing a new book. I have been working non-stop to meet my deadline. I won’t even leave my house to buy groceries. But if there is one person who could get me to travel over 8,000 miles at the moment, it is Mangala. 

Mangala is one of the most remarkable people I encountered during my eight years serving in the US government. So I simply had to be part of this occasion. 

Those of you who know our guest of honor will not be surprised that, when I asked him how I should approach my remarks today, he said, “The less said about me, the better.” Now, considering this is an event about Mangala, this was surprising to my American ears. I come from a country where, as President Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter once said about her dad, politicians want to be “the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.”

I have decided to compromise. I will speak today about what we can learn from Mangala’s 30 years in politics about the central challenges of our time – and how we must confront them. The three themes I believe run through Mangala’s life’s work are dignity, modernization, and democracy. So in his honor, I would like to say a few words about each.

Dignity

We have heard about how Mangala began his career, thinking he might become a fashion designer. The late fashion photographer Bill Cunningham once said that, “Fashion is the armor to survive everyday life.” Well, Mangala seems to have concluded from an early age that the most meaningful way to spend one’s days is to use one’s influence to help people. And, specifically, to help people to not only survive daily life, but to help ensure that they are able to build lives of dignity.

His inspiration to get involved in politics came in the late 1980s, when the government was suppressing the Marxist youth insurrection in the South, and dead bodies were being hung on lampposts in his home town. The son of a remarkably enlightened, trailblazing mother and a pioneering human rights lawyer father, Mangala thought to himself, “Maybe I can make a difference.” 

“Maybe I can make a difference…”

Mangala, rest assured, you have made one hell of a difference. And you are only getting started! 

When I asked his colleagues and peers about his lifetime of service, the word I kept hearing was “dignity.” Dignity, dignity, dignity. The belief that every individual is worthy of respect. The word comes from the Latin, dignitas, or “worthiness.” The pursuit and promotion of individual dignity seems to be the animating principle in Mangala’s career.

When I think of dignity, what springs to mind is the last civil rights protest Martin Luther King, Jr. was involved in before he was gunned down. It was in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, when sanitation workers decided to go on strike to protest poor pay and the crushing to death of two workers in garbage compactors. The striking workers carried signs that said simply, “I AM A Man.” 

I think of June 1989 and a slight man in grey slacks and a white shirt carrying two shopping bags, who decided to confront one of the hundreds of tanks that were mowing down student protesters in Tiananmen Square. This Chinese man, seemingly on his way home, who we have not seen since, standing before the turret of that tank, embodied the assertion of dignity. 

I think of December 2010 and a Tunisian fruit seller named Mohamed Bouazizi who was so worn down by the humiliation and corruption he endured every day that he decided to set himself on fire in protest, sparking uprisings that would cascade across the Middle East and North Africa into the Arab Spring. 

And I think of the mothers I have met here in your country, who clutch the weathered, faded photos of their missing sons and daughters, begging people to hear their cries. Or the heads of household who, needing money to feed their families after the war, relied on micro-lenders for small loans – micro-lenders who extorted them, charging spiraling interest that these families would never be able to pay back.

Respecting human dignity means not patronizing those who are less fortunate, but listening to – hearing – the reality of the lived experience of others. Making sure that nobody is invisible. 

If decision-makers or leaders – whether of countries, of companies, or of classrooms — can put themselves in the shoes of others, if they can cross this essential imaginative threshold, they will have the motivation we need to act.

Mangala did this  back in 1990 when he founded the “Mother’s Front” with Mahinda Rajapaksa – creating a network dedicated to tracing down information on the disappeared and pressuring the Sri Lankan government to provide compensation. 

Mangala is well known for taking the fundamental step of recognizing past abuses and the critical need for reconciliation. As Foreign Minister he spearheaded the creation of the Office of Missing Persons, which is now finally operational. He helped push a law through parliament that will provide for reparations for war victims and survivors. 

And more recently, as Finance Minister, he has orchestrated the forgiveness of loans taken out by those desperate families after the war. And he has just launched another debt relief program for those affected by the crisis of severe drought. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

But the best measure of Mangala’s regard for the dignity of those who have lost their loved ones or their livelihoods is that he knows none of this is nearly enough.

It is the deficit of human dignity that explains so much of the tumult of our age. We ignore it at our peril.

Modernization

Second, Mangala has shown his belief in modernizing Sri Lanka. He has prioritized opening up this beautiful country to the rest of the world, including to the United States.

He secured the launching of the first-ever US-Sri Lankan strategic dialogue. He announced in 2015 Sri Lanka’s joining of the Open Government Partnership. And he shepherded Sri Lanka’ application to the Millennium Challenge Corporation through a long and tortured approval process—dedication that is now paying off, as it will soon bring some $480 million in concrete benefits for a number of infrastructure projects in transportation and agriculture.

Long before this recent phase in his career, when he was Minister of Post and Telecommunications, it was Mangala who spearheaded the privatization of Sri Lanka’s telecommunications industry. This initiative introduced competition for the first time and knocked down barriers between the privileged Sri Lankans who had phones and those who had to wait as long as seven years to get one. Today Sri Lanka has one of the highest number of phones per person in all of Asia, and, despite being a country of 21 million, Sri Lanka is apparently home to 34 million cell phone subscriptions.

This progress has been absolutely essential as a foundation for economic investment and growth. However, for all of the good we know technology can do, rapid advances in fields from social media to AI to automation are also posing profound risks to our democracies. These tools are going to be decisive in global development going forward, but governments must confront their dark uses as well as their boundless possibilities. 

I believe we need to dramatically increase our scrutiny of the effects of new technologies. That will require fresh thinking, critical perspectives, and bold steps by policymakers to find a better balance than we currently have—a balance that takes into account the impact that tech is already having on politics and human rights.

In the United States, in the wake of Russia’s interference in our elections, and because of the deep divisions in our society, we are seized with the question of how falsehoods and echo chambers enabled by social media impact our domestic politics. 

But these platforms also have potentially deadly impact when it comes to the rights and well-being of marginalized groups.

The UN, for example, has found that the spread of violent hate speech and falsehoods on Facebook in Myanmar played a “determining role” in the mass atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya. From the Philippines to India to Mexico to Indonesia, technology that barely existed 15 years ago is being used to scapegoat vulnerable populations, exacerbate societal cleavages to the point of violence, and empower the most extreme voices.

Last year, here in Sri Lanka, after hate speech and conspiracy theories about Muslims disseminated on social media led to violence and destruction, one of your government officials made a profound observation that I believe the entire world must heed: “The germs are ours, but Facebook is the wind.”

Mangala himself was one of the first political leaders to take to Twitter during the crisis to condemn the viciousness, sending a clear message of zero tolerance for politicians and others who incited racial violence.

In societies like ours – with mixed ethnicities and religions, with free speech and extreme voices – we ignore this reality at our peril.

I cannot overstate the impact of social media platforms. Despite going worldwide just 13 years ago, “Facebook has as many adherents as Christianity.” Thinking about it another way: at its height in 2018, Facebook was worth more than the economies of 167 countries in the UN – that is more than 85% of nations in the world! 

Here in Sri Lanka, apparently some 6 million people regularly use Facebook. This will surely grow as mobile technology becomes cheaper and more widespread. Asia is already the company’s fastest growing market. And when you include the total percentage of people who use WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter, and even newer platforms, you are already talking about a significant portion of the population. 

When it comes to companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, which failed for too long to grapple with the dangerous uses and effects of their products, it does now finally seem that they are seized with the abuses that their platforms have enabled. Excellent investigative journalism, public outrage, and the threat of oversight has certainly helped. But these companies need to prioritize contributing to the health of democracy as a goal, right alongside making yet more money.

I was encouraged to hear that Facebook has committed to serving up to 20,000 Sri Lankan children in a digital literacy program to be run this year, and that they are participating in the Information and Communication Technology Agency’s SMART Social Circles initiative, which aims to prepare people to better discern, as Mangala puts it, “the good from the bad, and the true from the false.”

This is important: the education and leadership of well-rounded, tech-savvy and civic-minded young people is going to be critical to reigning in the negative effects of new technologies. 

However, given the human consequences, this is a drop in the bucket. We need to think far bigger. In my country, I would like lawmakers and policy leaders to think about a number of approaches:

  • Instituting regulations and heavy fines for failing to remove hate speech;
  • Greatly restricting the ability of advertisers (or nation states disguised as such!) to micro-target users with messages designed to mislead and enrage;
  • Re-thinking the type of anonymity afforded to users so as to cut down on the spreading of lies with impunity;
  • And probing seriously whether some of these tech monopolies have become so dangerously big – and so dangerous to open society – that they need to be broken up.

Governments like yours also have an essential role to play. You are going to have to insist that Facebook uphold its “Community Standards” for all of Sri Lanka’s national languages, or face serious repercussions. It is simply not acceptable that Facebook has not invested more in equipping itself to monitor posts in languages like Tamil or Sinhala. A platform with this much influence and reach cannot get by just doing the bare minimum—Facebook needs to be far more transparent, so that experts and civil society can guide the company in how to do better in the context of the unique challenges Sri Lanka faces. 

As always, talking about technology is complicated – many countries would like nothing more than to have the grounds to regulate social media and the internet or to enhance censorship and surveillance—not to protect their people, but to protect themselves from scrutiny.

Indeed, at the other end of the spectrum, repressive governments are increasingly able to use technology to control and manipulate their populations. 

Women in Egypt have been tracked down and arrested for sharing their experiences under the #metoo hashtag. 

The Mexican government has infected the phones of local journalists and members of civil society with sophisticated spyware that allows them to capture every text and conversation. 

Turkey – a member of NATO! – currently blocks access to 100,000 websites.

But I think what Mangala’s career shows us is that we in public life have a responsibility to take into account the human consequences of our tools – and our laws. At all of his stops along the way, Mangala has demonstrated how public policy can be crafted to address societal ills that others would prefer to ignore. The tech companies won’t have any sustained urgency to change unless those with power – all of you – make it known that you care, and insist that they care too.

Democracy

Third and finally, Mangala has not only been a believer in democracy and the institutions that are the cornerstone of our respective systems, he has himself worked to strengthen them. He has been, in his way, an institution, a one-man check and balance.

I am not sure what is on the best-seller list here, but in the United States people are buying books with titles like:

1984. 

How Democracies Die. 

How Democracies End. 

The People vs. Democracy. 

Can It Happen Here? Authoritarianism in the US. 

Fascism: A Warning.

These books, and the feeling that democracy is in retreat, do not come from nowhere. They are moored in disturbing trends.

  • Thirteen straight years of freedom in decline around the world, according to Freedom House, which has documented that it is consolidated democracies that are suffering from the worst setbacks. Overall, 68 countries suffered net declines in freedom in 2018 on measures like individual rights, freedom of expression and belief, and rule of law. 
  • Instead of rule of law, the Carnegie Endowment has documented how more than seventy governments in the last ten years have instituted rule by law, taking a number of serious measures to restrict civil society (from legal means like regulation to straight-up intimidation campaigns).

There are no silver bullets when it comes to trends like these. But fatalism cannot be the answer. Yet a confidence gap seems to have overtaken our world – authoritarians strutting around, though their model rests on very fragile foundations; democrats, meanwhile, seem to be running for cover.

When I graduated from college in 1992, a book about the global triumph of liberalism – Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man – had spent a month on the best-seller list, with its thesis “that there is a…common evolutionary pattern for all human societies…in the direction of liberal democracy.”

Things did not turn out that way. Today, though, people have begun speaking of democracy’s decline with the same certainty. 

We must not make the mistake of replacing one triumphalist narrative – about the inevitable spread of democracy – with its doomsday opposite.  

Recent events within established democracies like the United States are a wake-up call. We cannot take for granted all that we have taken for granted – the durability of liberal institutions, the status of science, attachment to facts. 

But if you look at most autocracies and what lies ahead in terms of their ability to deliver for their people, I believe each of us would choose the resiliency and possibility for self-renewal of democracy. 

And recall: despite the very real and worrisome backsliding, looking at all four of the most widely used and accepted databases that assess democracy over time, the percentage of democratic countries in the world in 2018 were at or near their all-time high.

You will unfortunately hear very few democratic politicians making these points, but allow me to summarize the essence of the argument: democracies have the better model! 

  • In autocracies economic growth is likely to be impeded by stagnant state-owned enterprise and a lack of transparency in the economy. Even in China growth is slowing, and one wonders how secure investors will feel with the arrest of expatriates and the absence of due process and property rights.
  • Autocrats often overreach because they don’t hear from critical voices in their inner circles and often prefer the company of sycophants. If you worked for a strongman, you would likely be reluctant to be the bearer of bad news to your leader. 
  • In the military, the most capable officers may be less likely to rise than the most loyal.
  • When you have no term limits or put in place a President for life, it can breed decay.
  • While innovation is flourishing in some sectors within certain autocracies, we have reason to question whether innovation will be undermined in the long term by the absence of freedom of speech and the presence of fear.
  • And finally, one of the biggest factors explaining the appeal of illiberal or populist leaders is inequality and the feeling of many that they are being left behind – a trend that will increase with growing automation. But there is no reason to expect that autocratic or authoritarian systems that concentrate power at the very top will more equally distribute benefits than liberal democracies. 

I do not mean to understate the challenges of maintaining a truly democratic society. My country and your country are facing turbulent times.

The last time I was here, I could never have guessed that an American President would attack the judiciary, the press, women, minorities, our diplomats, our intelligence professionals, our law enforcement officers, and many of our closest allies. 

In the US, many of the ills we face – intense inequality, big money in politics, gerrymandering and restrictions on voting rights, corruption, polarization, racism and exclusion – have raised serious questions among our own people about how functional our democracy is in the twenty-first century. 

Sri Lanka has experienced its own political crisis, which raised alarm bells all around the world. 

But critically, while our respective institutions have bent, they are not breaking in the US, and they are not breaking in Sri Lanka. 

In the United States, journalists have done an extraordinary job investigating corruption and calling attention to abuses of power. In a number of cases, dogged reporting has led to resignations and exposed terrible wrongs. After doing almost no oversight for two years, our Congress has just been reinvigorated. There are more than 100 women in the House of Representatives for the first time in American history. More young people and women and minorities are running for office than ever before. And our state and local governments have taken a stand on many pressing issues, from climate change to immigration to voting rights, that the federal government is failing to address with any seriousness.

Here in Sri Lanka, during the recent crisis, your citizens made themselves heard, with many of them speaking not for parties or personalities but in defense of your hard-earned democracy. Your streets were home to the country’s first-ever spontaneous, popular protests not initiated by a particular party, proving US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ great wisdom that, “the most important political office is that of private citizen.” 

One woman who participated in a protest commented, “As a mother, as a grandmother, I want to see democracy restored. I’m not against any person or any party but as a citizen of Sri Lanka.” Another said, “We’re doing this for the next generation, for the future of this country.” 

Both traditional and new media outlets were able to play a key role in keeping Sri Lankans informed and keeping institutions accountable. Civil society – and again, both new and established groups – were active and effective. And your judiciary stood by the Constitution and enforced the rule of law with great independence and seriousness of purpose.

All of this is a credit to the resilience of Asia’s oldest democracy and to the checks and balances that Mangala championed over the years. 

I hope that for both of our countries, the response to the challenges we are facing – and navigating – will end up affirming the enduring strength of democratic institutions and necessity of democratic accountability. 

Your hope, Mangala – that Sri Lankans “create a civilized society where humanity and decency flourish and the rule of law is respected” – is what I hope for both of our countries. And I look forward to the continued friendship between our two nations as we work together to make it happen.

Allow me to conclude with a little history. Around a century ago, German sociologist and economist Max Weber was invited by a liberal student association at the University of Munich, in Germany, to give a series of lectures on the theme of intellectual or spiritual work as a vocation.

Germany had surrendered in the First World War not long before Weber delivered one of his lectures, “Politics as a Vocation,” on January 28, 1919. The utter destruction wrought by the war – human, physical, moral – was unprecedented in its scale. It was not a time of much confidence in the capacity of politics to be a force of human progress. It was surely one of the more difficult times and places in which to make the case for politics as a vocation.

Yet against that backdrop, Weber set about trying to answer, in his words, “what kind of a human being one must be to grasp the spokes of the wheel of history.” Weber laid out three interdependent qualities, each of which he considered indispensable to the vocation of politics: proportion, responsibility, and passion.

Proportion, in Weber’s view, was about maintaining the appropriate distance from a policy decision or endeavor in order to be able to analyze it rigorously and objectively, and to bring a necessary degree of humility to one’s ability to shape the world. 

Responsibility involved remembering to think through the likely consequences of proposed actions and interventions – regardless of how well-meaning or logical the motivations behind them. 

Passion was what Weber defined as a kind of “inner gravity” – the driving force behind one’s convictions.

At the end of his lecture to the students at the University of Munich, Weber declared:

“[O]ur entire historical experience confirms… that what is possible could never have been achieved unless people had tried again and again to achieve the impossible in this world… The only man who has a ‘vocation’ for politics is one who is certain that his spirit will not be broken if the world… proves too stupid or base to accept what he wishes to offer it, and who, when faced with all that obduracy, can still say ‘Nevertheless!’ despite everything.”

We are not coming out of a harrowing world war, but Sri Lanka suffered a brutal 26 year civil war that ended only a decade ago, and all of us are living in times that can test our faith in politics. 

And yet I am as convinced as ever that despite all the cynicism out there, our strength will rest where it always has – in those individuals willing to serve, and the convictions they bring to the human endeavor of politics. Individuals who see the flawed world as it is, but are willing to say, “Nevertheless!” and strive to build a better world.

Mangala is one of those individuals, and I join you today and all days in thanking him for his thirty years of service. 

We all know the best is yet to come.

Ambassador Samantha Power’s remarks at the celebration of Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s 30 years in politics – Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall – Thursday, February 28, 2019

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Latest comments

  • 9
    12

    Simply brilliant!

  • 8
    4

    Oh my god MR and MS got left and right from SP.
    Oops hope both of them understood.

  • 14
    12

    Gota used to quite often say that Mangala Samaraweera is only a fashion designer;
    But is Mangala a Murderer, A BLOODY CROOK[MIG DEAL] like Gota?
    It is a simple question.Let the people decide!

    • 17
      11

      Plato,

      Mangala may or may not be a murderer or crook(I don’t know), but one thing for sure is that he is a traitor. No foreign minister/secretary of state would, of all things, co sponsor a resolution inimical to state sovereignty unless there was some quid pro quo.
      Obviously, Samantha Power has to wax eloquent to save Mangala’s rear.
      If this happened in the US, where Power is from, that person would be in jail for life.

      • 7
        3

        Rajiv Tennekoon

        “but one thing for sure is that he is a traitor.”

        He bought time for war criminals.
        All the urgency for an independent investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity has gone. Mangala and Ranil saved war criminals’s arses. Those war criminals MR, Gota Shavandra, …………….. should be grateful to him and Ranils.

        In the meantime could you get the Mahindawamsa to return all those looted cash back to the state. Could you also get the former national hangman Gota to return all those cash and jewels he looted from LTTE’s safe back to the owners back in Kilinochchi.

        • 2
          1

          As a spin doc of LTTE and the Tamil racism, which is THE curse to this country, Native V, you have to keep writing this kind of crap. In fact, you should be grateful to the above mentioned “war criminals” for saving you and the rest of Sri Lankans from the barbaric LTTE. Do not forget the fact that LTTE killed many no. of individuals who were sympathetic towards separatist agenda.

          Rajiv Tennekoon, your point is simply correct. “Khemage kolla”, surely a traitor. Ignore Native V and his shit writing with baseless allegations.

          • 1
            2

            max

            How did you manage to escape from the Amude of saffron clad thug Gnanasara?

            “Native V, you have to keep writing this kind of crap. In fact,you should be grateful to the above mentioned “war criminals” for saving you and the rest of Sri Lankans from the barbaric LTTE.”

            You should avoid reading my crap.
            When you have easy access to Gnanasara’s crap why do you waste time in reading mine?
            Actually you should be grateful to VP for
            i. winning two elections for Mahindawamsa
            ii. one war for Mahindawamsa.
            iii. helping to create employment for more than 300,000 unemployable persons
            iv. creating new rich in the south.
            v. helping to create new Kleptocracy in the south
            vi. kicking the IPKF out of the island while the armed forces were hiding behind his fat bum.
            vii. helping lot of Southerners claim asylum in the west.
            viii. helping you lot (public and not so public racist minority) to have a voice and absolute power.
            …….
            …..

            It appears Gota and MR miss VP the psychopath very much.

        • 3
          1

          Sir,
          Both Rajiv Tennekoon & Native Vedda make excellent points.
          They should be in our next national government. At least in an influential thinktank in Colombo.
          Cheers!
          PS: After listening to Samantha P and her glowing tributes to Mangala S, I needed to take a deep breath. Her book will be the ultimate guidebook to ORGANIZED INTERNATIONAL HYPOCRISY.

          • 2
            3

            Ben Hurling

            Ranil is devising another clever ploy (cunning plan) to deflect and delay investigation into War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. He now wants to establish a South African Style Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order to fend off UNHRC’s March offensive.

            You know what happens. It would take years to pass legislations, set up office, find persons who would comply with the general understanding of protecting the arses of asses. ……………

            In the meantime all those smartass patriots will have plenty of time to destroy the principles of TRC, the country, responsibility, ………….

            At the end of the day Ranil and Mangala would have achieved what the crooks and war criminals couldn’t do ………… an indefinite postponement of investigation into war crimes,…

            By the way Sarath Weerasekera seems to be packing his bags to travel to Geneva for the next session. I wonder who finances his trips twice a year. May be the Sinhala/Buddhist fascist diaspora is rich enough to pay for all his and fellow fascists’ expenses.

        • 0
          1

          Rajiv Tennekoon:-
          ………………………………….………and the 21 ships owned by LTTE and funds in many accounts abroad – all of which KP handed over to Gota in return for ‘freedom in Sri Lanka’.

    • 3
      3

      Recalling the PE 2015 election campaign. There, slogans were focused only on an electric chair, Hague and how the nation should make every effort to save so called patriotic leader, SRILANKA#S saibaba Mahinda Rajaapkshe from not being executed.
      :
      So, now they though dont utter a single word about that, all is made by Ggovernance govt restoring democracy in the country where Rajaakshes destroyed.
      :
      All these saved MAHINDA RAJAAKSHES: Now I think, if UNP led govt did not do so, what would have been the fate for BP Rajapakshe in Europe today ?
      .
      Mangala is a nice human being. He is not a bastard. He knows how to get on with international communities. But Gotabaya and Rajakashes at all dont know only to get on with LANKEN Gallery. Actually Gallery is being abused to the core today for their political surivival. All these are not knowin to Gallery so long MEDIA MUDALALIS cover up and make the opinion in favour of Rajakashes ONLY.

    • 0
      1

      Plato,

      Who is GoTa to criticize Mangala? …..
      GoTa is just an uneducated idiot and a traitor who ran away from the War at its critical stage.
      ……….
      GoTa was just a coolie in US .. working as a gas station assistant and an insignificant Security Guard …. finally to show off as a fake Hero.

  • 6
    3

    Minister, Mangala, was Good Person, But he had lot bad time, I hope he Wille better in future, good luck,

    • 15
      12

      The country wants Managala to retire. Good luck!

      • 4
        4

        Champass

        “The country wants Managala to retire.”

        Actually we know your country is your pimp Wimal Sangili Karuppan Weerawansa .
        Wimal’s country is Mahinda. Did you mean Dr Mahinda wants Mangala to retire?

        Dayan too agreed with Wimal Sangili Karuppan Weerawansa that “Mahinda is not a name, Mahinda is a country!”

        • 3
          1

          Hindian Vedda
          You don’t have a country. Therefore, every time I talk about my country, you get agitated. I pity you.
          Mangala’s toxic politics has polluted Sri Lanka. He should retire.

      • 3
        3

        “The country wants Managala to retire…”

        Champa the Colombo Telegraph commenters want you to retire from the negative comments you receive. Will you oblige?

        • 1
          0

          Shrikharan
          Negative comments are the sign that I am doing a damn good job here.
          That is what makes me keep writing.
          Thanks for the encouragement.

          • 0
            0

            Champa

            “Negative comments are the sign that I am doing a damn good job…”

            Negative comments mean unpopularity
            So if Mangala is also unpopular that means he is doing a good job and so he should stay!

            • 1
              0

              Shrikharan
              Aaah, what a childish comment.
              I am unpopular because I counter all lies and distorted facts since February 2015.
              Some people give thumbs down the moment they saw my name. :) :) :) but I don’t give two hoots what they think.
              CT forum is where first time a Sinhalese countered lies spread by Tamils and Muslims in the English language.
              Many times I was beyond disbelief how expertly did they distort our history with fake Tamil homeland myth and fake discrimination allegations.
              What was lacking for Sinhalese was a voice, a rebutter in English. I filled the vacuum.

              • 0
                1

                Champa
                That is what you are saying about you. So allow Mangala also to say about him. and he would say he is unpopular “because I counter all lies and distorted facts”

                I know you are very good in English, but that alone will not take you far.

                • 0
                  0

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      • 3
        0

        The country wants Mangala, Ranil, Rajapske’s My3 etc ..the entire rotten geriatrics politicians to retire and handover to the next generation

        • 2
          0

          Rajash
          The next generation should take over the country. True.
          Do you know anybody in the next generation who could lead the country ? If so, name them.
          The truth is, in the current setting, we don’t see any principled politicians who have shown leadership qualities.

      • 0
        2

        Champawathiye… you make ludicrous statements to that of Kumari Akka from Dubai.
        :
        So long lanken society would not excoriate Wimal weerawanse or the like and their reaction; NOTHING will change in this society.
        :
        The man who was appointed by 6.2 mio of voters was caught by BALLIGE puthas by today. This is a pathetic situtation. If Sirisena would face his destruction to the very same manner of Jamal Kashoggi would be inevitable in the days to come. Sirisena s behavour is becoming beyond all bearing.

        • 1
          0

          Buramphisincho
          There is no need to take revenge from anybody. Sri Lankans will never harm any politicians physically, like you saw in other countries.
          US tried to make Sri Lanka a Libya or an Iraq in 2015, but failed. Sri Lanka was the only country survived from American shenanigans. We, Sinhalese have already showed them how strong we are. There are more to show in the future.
          .
          There are two remarkable politicians in the present political history:
          .
          1.) Sri Lanka is one piece today thanks to Wimal Weerawansa’s relentless struggle and nationalist leadership since 2000 to protect the unitary status, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
          .
          2.) Sri Lanka is in peace today thanks to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s unparalleled determination and leadership in 2005 to defeat LTTE terrorism that plagued the country for 30 long years.

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    Please stay back in srilanka and teach our sinkhala village idiots the.meaning of true democracy.

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    What’s important to Samantha Power isn’t important to vast majority of Sri Lankans.

    Wonder why MY3, RW & MR wasted precious time.

    • 7
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      I think, MY3, MR ad RW are all scared to Mangala

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

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    In getting a high-profile US academic and politician to do the honours for him Mangala has reason to feel satisfied his role and influence in politics – local, regional and global – gains recognition by the Major Leaguers in the global scene. Surely this is not a recognition some of our front liners, in politics for long, will secure. Who are they – killers, kidnappers, thieves (financial) drug-traffickers and what have you?

    Mangala deserves the highest place in politics in the country. But he probabrly cannot reach that end – in a land and society deeply mired in caste, class prejudice that divide our society. One of our greatest handicaps is that we have in-built systems in our land and culture that denies due place to meritorious excellence. The country will remain poor until this misdemeanour is set right.

    America’s strength is also the large reservoir of highly educated academics in her system of governance – a developed country that claims 17 of the 20 most sought after multi-disciplinary Universities in the world to which flock the best young talent from all over. Madeline Albright, Condolezza Rice, Samantha Rice, Henry Kissinger, John Bolton are few of the distinguished names that come to mind who served their country with great distinction. Many of them come from or go into the academicia after completing their political careers.

    How many can we claim in this rich tradition? Little wonder our governance and economy is in shambles.
    This will sadly remain so until we take those steps to set this misdemeanour to right.

    Kettikaran

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    ‘An ambassador is an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of his country’ (Henry Wotton).

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      Paul

      “‘An ambassador is an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of his country’ (Henry Wotton).”

      Does this observation equally apply to Dayan the public racist as well?
      Perhaps good of his own sake.

      • 0
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        No, not to Dayan, as he is not an honest gentleman.

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    When it is the year what is important, I wonder why Exactly this Week was selected to celebrate Mangala’s achievements. This week markets the four years completing of FOUR YEARS since the Sri lankan history’s worst Financial corruption. Is it to belittle any protests that would come against the corrupt govt or something else. Because, both Arjun Mahendran and Ranil had connections with very wealthy foreigners who are active in international politics and foreign economies. We know Madush has humongous bank accounts in Dubai and Sri lankan toilet paper worth Rupee is every where in the world. How did that happen. Did he deposit Rupees ?

  • 9
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    1.) “Dignity, dignity, dignity. The belief that every individual is worthy of respect.”
    .
    a) Ha ha ha, Mangala never promoted individual dignity. Instead, he chose to vehemently slander, defame and spread lies about his political opponents. He didn’t even spare religious dignitaries.
    b) He maliciously downgraded all the sacrifices made by our Tri-Forces in defeating terrorism and formulated a Geneva Resolution to punish those who valiantly safeguarded the country.
    c) In his Geneva Resolution, he never mentioned about the heavy price paid by our Army. About 28,708 of government forces have sacrificed their lives while a massive 40,107 were wounded. Out of that, over 29,000 have been injured during the last phase of the war only. Mangala deliberately omitted this part.
    .
    2. “Modernization – Mangala has shown his belief in modernizing Sri Lanka. He has prioritized opening up this beautiful country to the rest of the world, including to the United States.”
    .
    a) What modernization?
    b) Is privatization modernization?
    c) Is trying to introduce LGBT to a traditional, family-based, closed Sinhalese society, modernization?
    d) Is trying to legalize prostitution which is banned in Sri Lanka, modernization?
    e) Is reducing beer prices with a view to make them popular among school children, (his own words) modernization?
    f) Is reducing cigarette prices to make them popular among youth modernization?
    f) Is opening liquor shops until late and employing women as bartenders (which is banned in Sri Lanka) modernization?
    g) Samantha, for your information, “Sri Lanka was under Portuguese, Dutch and the British for 467 years (1505 – 1972), but they could not convert our country to Christianity or make our Sinhalese culture, our unique traditions and our values disappear.” (Those words I copied from Wimal Weerawansa.) The truth is, US tried to ruin Sinhalese culture through Mangala, but failed!!!!!

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      Champa

      “Samantha, for your information, “Sri Lanka was under Portuguese, Dutch and the British for 467 years (1505 – 1972), but they could not convert our country to Christianity or make our Sinhalese culture, our unique traditions and our values disappear.”

      1. Do you know what did happen in 1948.
      2. What is Sinhala culture?
      3. What are your unique traditions?
      4. What are your our values?

      Let me jog your memory.
      We are no longer rule by Kings
      This island is no longer a kingdom
      We claimed to have a functioning democracy albeit a sham one.
      This island never elected the ruler before 1935.
      This island never communicated in English, Dutch, Portuguese, ….
      The old Kingdom never had airports, modern roads, modern ships, …. planes, cars, telephones, internets, modern medicines, computers, chemicals, jeans, ……. electricity, machines, ….. study of medicine, engineering, genetics, anthropology, economics, electronics, ….. legal system, printing, clothes, sanitary towels, toilets, … fast food chains, multi barrels, tanks, AK 47, T56, field guns, ….

      Don’t you think your pimp and you have gone gaga?

      • 2
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        Hindian Vedda
        Your reply has no connection to the section of my comment quoted by you.
        Therefore, I leave you alone!

        • 1
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          Champass

          You do not know what you are talking about stupid ….
          The island was granted independence in 1948 and it was supposed to be free. What the hell was the country doing between 1948 and 1972?

          2. What is Sinhala culture?
          3. What are your unique traditions?
          4. What are your our values?

          You haven’t got a clue about all these things that often prat.

          • 0
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            Hindian Vedda
            Only a Kallathoni will ask those questions. Everybody else knows the answers.

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              Champass

              “Only a Kallathoni will ask those questions. Everybody else knows the answers.”

              I am sure there are many in this forum love to know or learn about the following:

              2. What is Sinhala culture?
              3. What are your unique traditions?
              4. What are your our values?

              It does not matter if you repeat it and many would be grateful to you for being educated. If you haven’t got any idea just ignore my curiosity.

  • 7
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    I wonder who paid for Samnthas trip, Mangie or the Sri Lankan govt.

    Surprise, surprise no mention of R2P or Libya

    Samantha the author of R2P (Right to Protect) just another euphemism for the right to Invade and Destroy.

    However, the self-righteousness and hypocrisy of the “anti war” Nobel prize winning Obama and Pulitzer Prize winning Samantha Power is simply astounding. Both two intelligent people in ther self rightesoness simply ignore their culpability in the misery and wretchedness they have wrought on millions in Libya and Iraq among other places. Not only do they disown their culpability but continue to pursue policies of interference, which will lead to more destabilization and misery.

  • 4
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    Ambassador Samantha Power’s remarks should be
    ex Ambassador Samantha Power’s remarks

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    Samantha Powers give the women all over the world a bad name, that is all I have to say about her. And as for Mangala, he is bright, a political wizard but dignity? My other left fooT!

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    I just noticed in NY Times that FB is among the 5 biggest Companies in the US .
    No wonder that Samatha is sooo happy.
    Not sure whether it is a co incidence,
    Mangala’s buddy Dr Ranil has promised to Digitalize all our Mahavamsa Schools soon.
    And promised that Driver less Cars are around the corner in Colombo.
    This is in today’s Media outlets in Colombo.

    Wonder whether Samantha knows about that UN Report which says 5 Million families are malnourished in Lankawe.
    May be Samatha has never been or seen that part of Yahapalana Lankawe.
    But then again I come across so many poor who put their hand out for a Dollar ,every time I go to Marcy Station to catch the Under Ground Train to Manhattan..

    Don’t know much about this Dignity bit.
    All I know is Mangala dobbed in his own House Boy to the Cops not long ago, for pinching his Duty Free Red Label (? ). in Galkissa , But them Mangala was not a Yahapalana Minister.

    Then Mangala’s Private Sec was nabbed again in Galkissa by the Narco Cop for transporting two Dudes who were going to a Beach Party.

    Even as more recent as last week, poor Woman DG of our Customs got the sack, ordered by Manhgala because the Lady didn’t obey Mangala’s instructions to release Shipping Containers without Checking.

    BTW it is pity Raja hasn’t got his Galleon Fund anymore.
    Otherwise he could have got a few juicy Assets in Lankawe built by the Chines from Dr Ranil.
    And earned a decent quid for the pensioners among Samantha’s compatriots ,who are struggling to get even 3 % from Vanguard..

    • 3
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      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      Alright you read NY Times.
      Alright, alright you know a thing or two in the states.
      Tantric yoga and yoni pooja are catching up in New York like forest fire. Why don’t you too start a Tantric clinic or Ashram, make money and fun?

      “Wonder whether Samantha knows about that UN Report which says 5 Million families are malnourished in Lankawe.”

      You mean the 2015 report?

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      Well done Samatha.

      It was a master piece performance.
      Our moda gamhe baiyas cant digest your excellent speech at the BMICH.
      A brilliant left hook and right hook on the faces of Silly and meeharaka.

      Mangala get ready for a future UN posting.

  • 0
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    Samantha Powers indeed showed her prowess in harnessing words for the occasion. True Mangy was the Minister when some of the reforms took place in the Telecom sector. I am informed that the state acted according to an agenda agreed by Sri Lanka to the donors many years back. The real source of liberalisation of the sector were the authors of the white paper that advocated the same during President JRJ times. It is understood that a copy of the same is not even available in the archives of Sri Lanka with a view to deny the credit to those deserve it. One can engage in so many political activities but in the Sri Lankan context, where cash is king, it is difficult to visualize whether any Sri Lankan politician is actually interested in human dignity. My assessment is that if there were 10 politicians in Sri Lanka across the political spectrum, concerned with human dignity then the country would have really felt it. The speech glorifies snooping into electronic communication, perhaps for good reasons. But this is a source of abuse endemic in the third world, which is difficult to prove, mainly for political survival. In that context where is the human dignity in snooping into the privacy of communication? We all have an idea what “hate speech” means. But dictators can use this term to describe any speech critical of them as “hate speech”. All efficient people in the executive branch of the government steer legislation to rule by law in the overall pretext of rule of law. The purpose of this speech is to celebrate an individual’s career in politics. But the key word is human dignity. We need to educate our young on human values and dignity. That is an investment in the society.

  • 1
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    She’s the spokesman for the Obama-Clinton regime! We have Trump now. And she actually spoke badly of him! tsk,tsk, tsk….. // The last time I was here, I could never have guessed that an American President would attack the judiciary, the press, women, minorities, our diplomats, our intelligence professionals, our law enforcement officers, and many of our closest allies.\\

    //Fashion is the armor to survive everyday life………..And, specifically, to help people to not only survive daily life, but to help ensure that they are able to build lives of dignity.\\ Now that sounds like the fashion industry pushing its profits, e.g. public school children in the US walking around as in a fashion parade, with make-up and all (boys even). Samantha, we have dignity even with our rags. American schoolchildren must be taught this higher form of dignity.

    //The pursuit and promotion of individual dignity seems to be the animating principle in Mangala’s career.\\ Oh no! we certainly don’t’ want American individualism in Sri Lanka. As a Buddhist nation, we try to remove ego-centricity, and prescribe to Collectivism.

    As per Mangala, he’s pretty bad, I hear.

  • 2
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    Whatever Mangala’s deficiencies are as all humans possess he has one sterling quality he did nor ROB the country. Rajapaksa’s MR ,Chamal ,Gota ,Basil and the younger generation were made rogues by MR are set for life and the poor poorer.
    The Presidential Commission on Sri Lankan Airlines learnt how a VAIN MR wanted a special kit to be fitted with beds so that it resembled AIR FORCE ONE.
    No Rajapaksa should ever surface again and hope Gota and Basil the American Sri Lankans will be jailed and property confiscated.
    I endorse what Samantha said about Mangala’s contribution to the TELECOM INDUSTRY. If not for his dogged stand it would have failed and we would have been in the STONE age in respect of communication. Cheers Mangala a big boquet as you did not cave into pressure from UNIONS.
    Its mind boggling to see educated men still talking of the Rajapaksas after so much is the public domain about misdeeds, corruption, abuse of power merely on the approval to end the the insurgency.

  • 5
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    Sri Lankans so much crave for American (US) praise that they would sell their soul and their nation.
    Any one with a half a brain know that this kind of praise come with servitude to US whims. Keep seeking their song of praise while the country burns!!

  • 3
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    Awamangala is the biggest liar and a person who is good in mud- slinging. In 2015, he told Mahinda Rajapakse took US$15b out of this country and he knows where this money is hidden. This is a story fabricated by him for discrediting Mahinda Rajapakse who saved this country from Demala terrorists. Awamangala should be ashamed for telling such lies. SP comes to clean that shit.
    ——
    “He has prioritized opening up this beautiful country to the rest of the world, including to the United States.”
    This is an understatement. Awamangala (with R. W.Singham) has given the whole country on a platter to Uncle Sam. The future generation in this country (Demala, Sinhala, Malay, Vedda Eththo) will be the victims of decisions taken by these traitors. Champuka once said ‘Ranil is Don Juan Dharmapala reincarnated’. Don Juan Dharmapala gave only Kotte kingdom to Parangi colonial bastards. But Don Juan Dharmapala reincarnated is giving the whole country. Dumb MPs of Unpatriotic National Party are scared to open their mouths.

  • 2
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    When Sri Lankan’s are fed up with politicians since Independence for the current mess how can SP praise Mangala for his past?

  • 2
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    When I read this I think of Obama and his gang (including Samantha Power) increasing their military involvement in Afghanistan in the course of further destroying that country and the remarkable and enduring Afghan resistance to mighty American military like they did against the Soviets.

    I think of Obama and his gang destroying the Middle East under cover of “Arab spring”, destroying one of the most prosperous countries, Libya for instance.

    I think of Samantha Power’s direct intervention in subverting Ukraine.

    I think of Obama and his gang’s expulsion of refugees from the US which is the largest on record (more than Trump or any other).

    Samantha was an active partner in all those now preaching us, the lesser mortals…….and praising one of Western puppets…………………..Are we surprised?

  • 0
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    CO-Sponsoring that UN Resolution could not possibly be a solo initiative of Mangala when he was Foreign Minister.Most probably, the Govt: must have advised him to do so in order to douse the heat against Srilanka.
    If it was his own initiative Mangala would not have continued in Public life!

  • 3
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    Why did Mangala reduce beer price? Did a big beer producing company gave him an inducment? Samantha Power should tell us.

  • 2
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    Mangala did not invite Ravi K and Ranjan R for the event. Not nice.

  • 4
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    Khema Samaraweera was appointed by Mangala as a Dirctor of Lake House – wrong – family bandism

    For Khema Samaraweera use Mangala fixed a lift in his 2 story government house at huge public expense – wrong – ubbibcebt tax payer money

  • 3
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    Did she talk about eviscerating Libya? withdrawal from Egypt after encouraging democracy and when the Muslim Brotherhood won the first fair election and they went extreme, the military stepped in. This woman has no credibility. But I do RESPECT Mangala Samaraweera for staying true to his liberal principles. Hard to govern in times of war with that but respect. He has always been a capable minister from the CBK times, when he was part of her inner cabinet. Respect and good luck. I do not have to agree with him to salute him for his journey.

    But Samantha Akka? sheesh. Irish first generation immigrant power seeker. Failed in Libya and failed in Egypt and failed to utter a peep when Saudis crossed the bridge to crush pro democrI acy protests in Bahrain by the Shia majority repressed by a Sunni Minority. So much for equal justice. As a tax paying American citizen I have far more respect for Bernie Sanders than for this former official. But of course I admire Sri LAnkans for their need to seek validation via western white personalities at important gatherings. That is why they run to seek photo opportunities with western leaders or bow to the queen; approval approval approval; I bet she went to a wealthy private school in Atlanta and lived in segregated upper class areas growing up and did not actually experience integration. Maybe I am wrong. In that case I withdraw that statement. Nevertheless this Minister must be respected; he is a rare genuine Sri Lankan liberal and an able minister.

  • 4
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    Does Samantha know about Mangy’ s antics during CBK Neelaperuma’s Poduperamuna regime? how he denigrate Susanthika the Olympic medalist and war heroes? how he destroyed Sinhala-Buddhist culture? etc.
    Mangy’s been a disasters to Sri Lanka.

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