Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance

Barack Obama: Hope for America, but not for the world?

Barack Obama
Photo credit: CurrentTV

Barack Obama has run perhaps the best organized and most inspiring of presidential campaigns in US political history. He has risen above sleazy political tactics, challenged stereotypes, eschewed divisiveness, focused on issues that are important to Americans, and maintained his poise and principles in the face of tremendous pressure from his opponents. It has been truly awe-inspiring and admirable.

There is little wonder that almost 53% of American voters and perhaps a larger percentage of the world population have found themselves strongly attracted to Barack Obama. He has become a shining beacon of “hope” and “change” for a country in a crisis of self-confidence, and a world participating vicariously through the blown up “reality-TV” of American presidential elections.

Without taking anything away from the greatness of Obama’s achievement, and the historical importance of this event for American culture and identity, I feel constrained to point out that those who think an Obama presidency will improve the way that the United States has been engaging with the world may need to take a reality-check.

I say this as one who instinctively likes Barack Obama, has tremendous respect and admiration for him, shares with him the same alma mater, has close friends and relatives all across the United States, and has followed the campaign speeches, events and reporting on the US election with pathological interest.

I am addressing this article only to those who are already aware of the many ways in which the United States has been uniquely responsible for undermining international law, stability, peace and prosperity in the World. Those who are offended that I could even make such a suggestion should investigate elsewhere, and read no further.

The insight I share is a simple one: nothing that Barack Obama has done or promised gives rise to the “hope” that an Obama presidency will usher in the “change we need” in the world. The gloomy conclusion comes from asking a series of questions, and for each one recognizing the answer to be “no he won’t”:

  1. Will president Obama allow the United States to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC)? The ICC is the preeminent global mechanism for holding egregious human rights violators to account, when they are able to escape being held to account by national jurisdictions. It is a mechanism championed by Europe and enthusiastically adopted by much of the world, but almost fatally undermined by the United States formal renouncing in 2002, and keeping a clutch of countries that depend on US support away from it – Sri Lanka being amongst that number.
  2. Will president Obama bring the United States into the Kyoto protocol or at least an equivalent and sufficient compact on responding to Global Warming? The United States with less than four percent of the global population is responsible for more a quarter of the annual emissions that cause global warming – by far the highest per-capita pollution rate. The negative consequences of Global warming will be borne disproportionately by the poor of the world who have benefited the least from the industrial activities over the last hundred years that have brought about the problem.
  3. Will president Obama bring the United States back in to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with Russia, or an acceptable equivalent? President George Bush in 2002 withdrew the US from the 1972 ABM treaty, because Russia could no longer compete in the arms race. This withdrawal from the treaty and subsequent plans for missile deployments in countries close to Russia has been the principal reason for souring relations with Moscow. It has begun a new version of the cold war, with attendant threats to the security of the world. (Georgia being the first bit of grass to get trampled as the Elephants position them-selves in the fight).
  4. Will president Obama reverse the longstanding US policy of blindly supporting Israel as it continues to deny the people of Palestine a just return of their lands and the right to a dignified existence in their own territory? Israel routinely receives upwards of 2 billion dollars in military aid alone from the US each year (together with about another one billion in non-military aid, Israel receives one sixth of the US foreign aid budget each year), and at the U.N. Security Council the US routinely exercises its veto power in favour of Israel anytime the rest of the world tries to even voice their concern about the injustice. This unprincipled support has been the chief recruiting sergeant in the Middle East for Al Qaida-style organizations, which are undermining stability and peace in the world.
  5. Will president Obama choke off the still strong political and military support by the US for the utterly corrupt, repressive, authoritarian Saudi Arabian regime? The Saudi regime is amongst the most corrupt and repressive in the world. That regime and US support for it remains the second most important driver of Al Qaida recruitment. It monopolises the massive wealth from oil revenues for the aggrandizement of a small circle of family, friends, and multinational oil companies, denying much of the local population even a semblance of fair share and perpetuates that injustice by repressive laws, restricted freedoms and denial of democracy.
  6. Will president Obama after closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison camp (even McCain would) apologise and pay compensation to those who can’t be charged — the large number of innocent people yanked in there by mercenary schemes, tortured, and denied any semblance of justice for now almost 7 years? Guantanamo Bay prison has — in large screen technicolour, brazenly and shamelessly — flouted numerous international covenants on civil, political and human rights. Since it’s inception in January 2002, Guantanamo Bay prison has shown the middle finger to the universal values of civilised cultures and made these values seem cheap, subservient, and disposable when inconvenient. Such an iconic prison camp that ends with unrepentant impunity will have terribly undermined the power of these values to shape the world.
  7. Will president Obama change the US position in 2001, when it became the only country to oppose the international UN treaty on curbing the flow of small arms? This treaty – spearheaded by Sri Lankan Jayantha Dhanapala, then under-secretary-general to Kofi Anan – aimed to provide some simple global standards and tracing methods to curtail the illicit flow of small arms in the world (much of them manufactured and sold by the US). These weapons expand the power of organized crime, fuel militia gangs, arm child soldiers (including those of the LTTE in Sri Lanka), and are estimated by the UN to kill at least half a million people each year.
  8. Will president Obama withdraw US intransigence at World Trade talks (which have been failing to reach consensus since the Doha round in 2001)? The US (which together with the EU spends more than 100 billion dollars per year on farm subsidies) wants to continue denying farmers from poor countries the same access to the markets of very rich nations, as has been secured for multinationals from those countries into the markets of the poor? Even the global western institutions such as the IMF and World Bank admit openly that this lack of symmetry in trade access is one of the principle causes of poverty in the African continent, the poorest region of the world.

I have considered here only a few of the burning questions of the world. I think they highlight the bleakness of this grand “change” in America, in terms of having a positive effect on the way that American power is wielded in the world. With a George Bush presidency, there was at least no illusion about the selfish abuse of military and institutional power by the United States. An Obama presidency that continues these wolfish tendencies in sheep’s clothing will not make the world a better place.

The election of Barack Obama is shrouded in the illusion that US engagement in the world will now be moral and benevolent. But the time for that has not yet arrived, and is not likely to arrive until US economic and military power diminishes more significantly. For those who were listening, Barack Obama has in fact been threatening the world, by the trade, military and foreign policy positions that he has articulated consistently throughout his campaign – and there is no reason to think he didn’t mean what he said.

Has Barack Obama offered “hope” for Americans? Resoundingly “Yes!” But the hope that President Obama offers Americans is not hope for the world.

  • well done for the timely article. We are all proud of the achievement of the symbolism of Obamas presidency and congratulate him whole heartedly. It has been a inspiration for all of us.
    Bust I have also been concerned by the messianic almost sicko fan proportions that many people around the world seem to attribute to him. My Obama is not some indivigual who can make changes in his own right. He is part of the machinary of the US government which cannot be changed by an indivigual. Of course he is better than Mr Bush. But surely it doen’t take much to be better than Mr Bush – Even Mc Cain would have been better than Mr Bush.

    The true leagcy of Mr Obamas presidency will only been seen in the way he handles the authors 8 point causes of concerns. Only then he will be a truely great president for the USA an an inspiration for the world.

  • punitham

    it won’t be easy but many only believe that Obama will itry his best to change as many of the morally wrong things as much as he can. Outside politics he is sure to inspire young people in all areas of life all over the world to aim high, to be open, to be optimistic … in other words to have the audacity of hope for a better world for all.
    Let’s wait and see.

  • Sinthaamani

    Writer’s eight questions, beg further questions. President can lead, but not dictate or unilaterally decide. Only in rare circumstances, such as during imminent threat to national security, can the President act outside constitutional and statutory limits. Writers’ is simply his wish list. Peoples’ will will determine the President’s action. Writers’ list may not be the same of what the U.S. citizens want…

  • Malinda Seneviratne

    Thanks for this. There has been way too much hero-worshiping going on. People also forget that Obama is NOT King of the Globe and will not be either. The US of A lost out to Asia some time back. He will protect the USA, protect jobs, industries etc., and in this sense he is more of a Putin and a Mahathir Mohamed than anything else.

  • Nishan

    President George Bush has demonstrated quite aptly, that if an American president has a will, with regard to foreign policy, then he usually has his way. If this could have been true for a President who first won by 567 votes in a highly contested election in Florida, it would certainly be true for Barack Obama who has won on a surge of popularity across most of the American demographics. Obama also has the luxury of a party that is fully behind him and decisively dominates the congress.

    The preemptive excuses made for president Obama, in some of the comments above, are pointing out issues that would have been more relevant in another context, but not so much in the one that president Obama finds himself. He has the political and popularity deck stacked in his favour and has after all got an enthusiastic mandate to bring about “change”.

    All that aside, I am in any case expressing the stronger view that president Obama would NOT EVEN TRY to make the 8 important changes suggested. Not the weaker view that he might be unsuccessful in doing so. Even if president Obama failed to EFFECT the changes suggested, if he simply tried to champion them, then my assessment will have been mistaken.

    I am only trying to assess the reality that we (the world) are dealing with, based on my reading of the facts — the conclusion is very disheartening, I don’t like it. It would make me very glad if a president Obama showed me up to have been too pessimistic. We must hope against hope that he will. But as my grandmother was wont to remind “facts are stubborn things”. I am not rolling out my optimism just yet.

  • One other point.
    Barrack Obama is of mixed race origins. The term black was/is used to include all non white people as a political strategy to counter white hegemony. In some politicized circles black
    was/is used to include east Asians, Hispanics, Chinese as well as peoples of African and mixed origins etc. Though there is some resentment among peoples of African origins that
    the word Black has been hijacked by others aswell and dis empowering them.
    In the USA there is a difference in aspiration, achievement, wealth, education etc amongst Arican Americans: peoples of slave origins( who are the majority) under performing to that of people of recent African origins who came over volatarily. This fact is statistically proven in the UK as well – Afro Caribbeans( of slave origins) under performing to that of recent Nigerian.Ghanaian origins. This shows the pernicious effects of slavery being passed down generations. Mr Obamas recent African origins and success can be linked. He is different to most Afro Americans since his history is not that of slavery.

    Sinthaamani – I agree – A president leads and translates the wishes of the peoples. Just because the American people have elected an African American president it doesn’t mean that the American people wish of engagement in the world will now be moral and benevolent. Internal race related political advances doesn’t translate necessarily in the international geo-political considerations. For example, I believe that Israel’s conflict shall only be resolved once Americas economic and military might is devalued. and it stops bank rolling the state of Israel. No amount of negotiations and good will is not going to solve it.

    Nonetheless the elction of Mr Obama is truly astounding and will make some changes in the international arena. As Punitham says ‘ he is sure to inspire young people in all areas of life all over the world to aim high, to be open, to be optimistic … in other words to have the audacity of hope for a better world for all.’ I should add he certsinly has inspired me!!
    jiva parthipan

  • reka perera

    Peoples around the world who have been denied even the most basic rights for a long time are apt to keep their eyes peeled for a glimmer of hope. It’s not blind optimism but intelligent pragmatism that radiates from Obama. I think even the most oppressive leaders are going to be jerked by his raw political talent.

  • I am disappointed by your preemptive cynicism. He hasn’t even taken office yet and you have already decided that he “won’t even try” to address the issues of global warming; fair trade; disarmament; etc.? I find that quite shocking. I too hope that he “show you up”. In fact I believe that we need him to.

  • Well said! You’ve given us a lot to think about. I myself have just written on on the Palestine issue, saying he needs to stop listening to his Jewish friends, and appoint a Palestinian adviser.

  • Nishan

    To correct a small misunderstanding in one of the comments above, I have not said that president Obama won’t try to “address” the issues such as Global warming, surely everyone tries to “address” these issues, president Bush included. I have said that he won’t even try to champion the “changes” needed in the actions by the United States on these issues.

    The article was pointing out that “changes” which would be good for the world in many areas of activity by the United States (I’ve listed 8 examples) are not likely be forthcoming from an Obama presidency, because Obama in everything he has said and shown of his views during his campaign has not provided reason for us to expect such “changes”.

    The way to counter my argument would be to provide examples of Obama’s speeches or interviews in which he indicates that he would like to make those “changes”. I am curious to see if anyone would be able to do this.

  • Related-News-Video

    A current news coverage on Russia US relations after the election of Barack Obama. Mentions ABM treaty withdrawal and Russian response

  • Sincere

    Barack Obama has not claimed himself to be the saviour of the world. But he sure has presented himself more as a saviour of the American people. To what extent we have an intersection of the two remains to be seen.

    As most politicians in a democracy do, Obama has also pandered to the navel-gazing-ness of the common voter – so people are far more concerned about the price of fuel and their housing mortgages rather than justice for the Palestinian people or the oppressiveness of the Saudi regime. This is similar to people caring more about price of rice, getting salary increases, winning the war in the North (and being oblivious to the inflationary consequences) rather than a just settlement to the ethnic issues in our own part of the world. So it is not too surprising that these issues have not been the focus of his pre-election campaign.

    There is a chance that he might seek change in at least some areas mentioned by the author during his presidency. If McCain had been elected the world would surely have been in a much worse plight.

  • Congratulations to Barack Obama for an amazing victory – amazing and life affirming. I thank God for him, pray for his leadership of “change” and affirm with him “yes we can”.

    The USA and other countries recognised the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka(SL), initiated the ceasfire agreement (CFA) between the government of Sri Lanka(GOSL) and the LTTE with Norway as the mediator and asked the parties to the conflict to negotiate a peaceful political solution.

    The negotiation process commenced with much hope, and when both parties agreed to try and work out a solution based on a federal governmental structure for the island, light of moderation was visible at the end of a dark tunnel of hardline politics.

    But, when Mahinda Rajapakse was elected the president of SL, he categorically rejected federalism, pronounced a contrasting unitary state policy, unilateraly abrogated the CFA, called off the peace process and started a brutal war.

    Inspite of the CFA and the possibility of a negotiated solution, Rajapakse dashed all hopes of a peceful co-existence of North East(NE) and the South under a federal or confederal governmental structure and chose the most inhuman policy; military control of NE by collective punishment of Tamil people, mass displacements and genocide.

    Contrary to the voice of human reason and by violating the UN charter and international covenants, Rajapkse chose the political adventure of “Sri Lanka for the Sinhalese” which is openly and arrogantly articulated by his military commander and a cabinet minister.

    Logically, if SL is for the Sinhalese, Tamil Eelam should be for Tamils in the island. Independance of Tamil Eelam would be inevitable.

    Foreign guradians of the Sri Lankan state provided weapons and miltary intelligence, which served to reinforce the impunity of the state. Rajapakse felt like a “super power” and started military expansionism into the NE. To their utter amazement, the GOSL became very defiant to suggestions to improve human rights violations, appoint human rights monitors and seek peaceful resolution of the conflict. In a BBC interview last week Gotabaya Rajapakse even blamed the west for the present impasse in SL.

    Russian president Dimitry Medvedev, on 26 August 2008 said that the motto of “Georgia for Georgians” caused the genocide in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and ultimate secession of the two countries in August 2008.

    Georgia had ceasefire agreements in 1992 and 1994 with South Ossetia and Abkhazia respectively but abrogated the cesefire agreements and statrted a genocidal war.

    Likewise, the motto of “Sri Lanka for Sinhalese”, the abrogation of CFA by the GOSL and its present genocidal war would justifiably bring about the secession of Tamil Eelam from SL; initiated by a popular self referendum in the NE in 1977 and repeated by subsequent requests democratically.

    The USA and other countries having given the last chance for peaceful co-existence within the territorial integrity about six years ago, should now recognise the sovereignty and independence of Tamil Eelam, so that, justice would triumph over injustice; peace over war and life over death.

    Above all, Tamils should no longer be subject to the yoke of ethnic slavery in their own land, to which Obama should be firmly committed and lead new America with determination.

    During his acceptance speech last week, Obama told the world “To those who seek peace and prosperity – we support you”.

    The GOSL never sought and will never seek peace and prosperity for the people of NE. They will continue to tear down the civilian life and social structure by bombing Tamil civilians and waging a genocidal war. To such people Obama in the same speech said ” … we will defeat you”.

    The evil of Sri Lankan state remains to be defeated.

  • Filius Dei

    By the way, I heard from several source that Australia is actually the world’s biggest polluter per capita. Here is one internet source:

  • Tim-Oxford

    Thank you for a healthy dose of realism …but I do hope (and expect) that we will see a change in the orientation of US policy and it will be in the general direction you are hoping for. The US is a big ship to turn, but I think Obama has a different destination in mind than Bush… We wait with bated breath!

  • Robson Monteiro

    The flaw in this article is to assume that only USA needs to change to make the world a better place. Let’s think if all questions raised by the author were met by USA. Anyone with a minimum sense would know that we live in a world much more complex and that submitting its own country to international treaties undermine dosmetic process-making decision. American government is not made of a central power where the president is the almighty god with a free hand to do what he wishes in the international arena. The American democracy is made of check and balances of three constitutional powers (Execute, Judiciary and Congress) and many of the questions were vetoed by the Congress in the name of the American people. The power of the American president is limited and for that reason democracy thrives there. Obama will change America not with a executive order but through the persuation and negotiation with the Congress which legitimately represent the will of the people. Regarding the world, it needs to ask what are the elements of the American democracy to emulate on our own countries to transform them and give the same hope that is find in America. America is changing. The rest world would be willing to change or just continuing blaming America for their own misdeeds.

  • Ajith

    Sam why are you lying about a genocide and a lot of other things in every post trying to relate it in anyway you can. Which is quite comical in this article. You sound a like a propaganda machine.

    1. Sri Lanka does not have foreign guardians. They all just want to exploit us – esp India. Open your eyes. We are on our own and our destiny lies in our own hands. Even Obama can’t/won’t save us. He’s an admirable, extraordinary person who achieved the impossible and I have immense respect for his due to that as a person. But, now, he’s going to start looking after his own country! He will run bulldozers over any country if it is essential for the security of USA w/o hesitation as any president would and should do. Only difference is he may think twice about ruining other countries when it comes to general prosperity of US of A.

    2. There is no military expansionism in Sri Lanka. It is called defending civilians against terrorism which aims to create a dictatorship which recruit children in part of the island and undermines the very pillars of democracy which Obama him self believes in. So don’t criticize a government that pushes a trigger against these animals. Even Obama supports the fight in Afghanistan to the end where democracy is in shambles. Iraq was a prosperity decision for USA with a good excuse at the time which turned out to be an absolute disaster. Any incumbent president was going to withdraw regardless. So Sri Lanka has a right to protect its sovereign borders just the way Obama would protect United States of America any day.

    3. If you want to take Obama as an example please learn starting from the days of Martin Luther King at the pinnacles of civil rights movement in USA where he fought for civil rights not through violence. The very Martin Luther Kings of our day, in our Sri Lanka (Tamil politicians who picked the correct path) that got killed by the LTTE not for towing their hard line, violent, destructive path.

    4. Once you learn violence only brings further grief, then allow the government to bring an end to those who want to destabilize a country holding innocent civilians ransom at gun point. And to eventually bring much needed PEACE! “YES WE CAN!”

  • Ajith

    btw this was an excellent article Nishan. Very well thought out and refreshing – when everyone seems to be getting on the same other bang wagon.

  • Nishan

    I appreciate all the comments on this article.

    I want to acknowledge explicitly two factual clarifications:
    (1) Filius Dei’s comment suggests that my pollution per capita information is outdated. I’d welcome a reference to the latest data.
    (2) I have been forwarded an email comment on this article by Jayantha Dhanapala (who I mentioned) to clarify that the proposal on curbing small arms didn’t get to the “treaty” stage. That would mean the US objection took place at the “conference” stage, from which the agreement didn’t proceed further. This article is worth a look:

    The comment by Robson Monteiro is I think based on a misunderstanding of my article. I am not making the assumption ascribed to me and not denying the responsibility or obstructionism of other nations. I pointed out only that US actions are significant in preventing certain positive changes in the world, and that an Obama presidency is unlikely to change US actions in these areas .

  • Ajit

    It is easy to awake a person who is really sleeping but is difficult to awake one who is pretending to sleep.

    Any person with any common sense would know that there is genocide in the North East of Sri Lanka. As I explain often, genocide is not dependent on the number of persons killed but is an intention to discriminate, dehumanise and destroy the lives and proerty of a people in stages.

    One should open his eyes without green, blue or red glasses to see if there is no history of Tamil discrimination, dehumanisation and destruction of lives and property of Tamils in the North East for the past 60 years.

    If your answer is “yes” then you agree with me that there is genocide though you may use a different word to describe it.. If your answer is “no” then you are wearing coloured glass to view Tamil matters ! The latter appears to be true.

    I now come to your points;

    1. If you do not know the foreign guardians of Sri Lanka ask Mahinda Rajapakse in confidence and he may tell you. They may may expolit you because you exploit Tamils without giving equality and legitimate democratic rights. Obama need not help anybody, he only has to use the “Stick” on SL for its human rights violations, torture, mass displacements, collective punishment and genocide meted out to Tamils. Especially if he can make Rajapakse or the soldiers responsible for war crimes appear in the war crimes court in the Hague, to be judged, as process of justice is denied for Tamils murdered in SL by the state.

    Is the USA bulldozing over Sudan for the sake of its security?

    2. In the NE who is the terrorist the state or the LTTE ? A state carrying out state terror against its own civilians is criminal to the core and should be punished. Is the state defending or offending civilians? Did the civilians in the NE ever ask the state to defend them ?

    You will see soon that the government and Karuna would be taken to task by Obama for recruiting child soldiers in the East. It is a heinous crime when carried out by the state. A state should protect its children.

    Do you think that pillars of democracy exists in SL? Democracy is about equality, freedom, justice and human rights for all. None of these exist for Tamils in the NE. There is a type of Sinhala autocracy that we see in the NE.

    Sovereignty is derived from people. The GOSL does not recognise Tamils as people but as “animals” as you refer to the LTTE. You are angry with LTTE because they stand for the freedom and rights of Tamils.

    3. Non violence movement was started by SJV Chelvanayakam at the time Dr Martin Luther King started in the USA. It worked with civilised people of the USA. It will never work with uncivilised and uncultured or barbaric people. A reason why it failed in SL causing violent protest by armed militants.

    4. The culprit of violence is the Sinhalese government. Violence can never be ended by violence. Obama knows this principle.

    It is wrong to think “yes we can” continue with violence. You will fail.

  • Following is quite off track from the relevance of this article. I do apologise for that. Just a response to a comment.
    To Sam.
    I have an open mind not just open eyes. I am not wearing coloured glasses either. In fact I have no issue one day living under a Tamil president for that matter. For that I know we have a long way to go. Very long, I won’t deny it.
    My answer is no, that there is no genocide going on. No international organisation has accused Sri Lanka of this and that is something to consider over your unsubstantiated claims. You just pulling such statements out of thin air not providing a single shred of evidence means you’re blatantly lying to fulfil a hidden agenda. It seems like that anyway. This does not mean there isn’t the occasional collateral on the battle field but they are 2 different things.
    If you have been following both side of the story from the battle field for the past 2 years or so you cannot deny that incidents of collateral have been very rare compared to some other hot zones around world like Iraq or Palestine. The most concerning issues for Tamil people in my view right now due to this conflict are the forced recruitment by the LTTE of inexperienced civilians against their will, displacement due to active engagement and shortage of food.
    I was hoping you would enlighten me on these foreign allies who so dearly love our poor nation. If you’re referring to India, USA, Pakistan, China and Iran most of whom just want to stir up both sides or hand out “loans” not “donations”, I just don’t know how they can be classified as guardians. It’s just business!
    I don’t quite understand why you used Sudan as an example. Sudan does not pose any security threat to USA. Hence why USA is engaging in places like Afghanistan but not in Sudan where the humanitarian crisis is much worse. Which was my point!
    In NE terrorists were the LTTE. In fact local leaders of the LTTE itself like Karuna who represent the local population felt that the LTTE’s exploits were unjust and turned to the state for help. Is it not the state’s duty to free its own people from the clutches of terrorisms? I know this is a bitter pill to swallow even for the most loyal LTTErs. LTTE was recruiting civilians including women and children against their families and local elder’s wishes for its own terrorism campaign. Some of these carders eventually being used as suicide bombers who would roam populated cities of Sri Lanka targeting the civilians who are helpless. That is no way an acceptable form of freedom fighting. It is just plain criminal.
    These are war crimes that the State legally has absolute authority and impunity to deal with and exterminate. There are many ranks within the LTTE that deserve to be on the next express flight to Hague where they may even have to decide on new forms of punishment for some of their atrocities that has never been seen in this world before.
    The real situation in Sri Lanka has become clear to the international community through the fog of LTTE propaganda their supporters have previously built up. That is why it is hurting the feelings of some elements and beat their drums about “foreign guardians” now. Because the educated are not giving into the mantra of persuasion by violence aka terrorism anymore.
    Civil rights movement failed many times in the USA, in fact some of those activists were burnt alive. I take it that you’re not very familiar with the US civil rights movement or you have a bias to say Sri Lankan people are not civilised – that’s an insult. Anyway, the difference was their spirits were higher and their wills were stronger. They never gave up, and they believed, and they hoped. The very sentiments that 40 years later gave birth to the miracle that is Obama today and the very words that he preaches today. Also during the US civil rights movement for their blessing, there weren’t short sighted radicals that were hell bent on slaying their own intelligent saviours in cold blood. I can see you’re one of them that do not believe in traversing the honourable path or at least you have given up. But I know there is a new generation of Tamil youth that is up to the challenge. If we can safe guard them from the clutches of LTTE murder machine we may have real hope. That is why I emphasise the importance of what is happening in Sri Lanka atm. This is our last chance to make things right. “YES WE CAN!”

  • Ajit

    You fail to give me an English word for the process of discrimination, dehumanisation, and destruction of Tamil lives and property.that is taking place for the past 60 years in SL. Probably, you do not have any other word than genocide. My definition falls also within the usage in the legal circles.

    Therefore, there is no hidden agenda. The trruth is that the GOSL and its cohorts are hiding an agenda of Tamil genocide to the world. Soon the world will accept in totto, though it is taking time as usual. Evidence of genocide is open and everywhere in the NE. But those who can see it see.clearly

    You speak of democracy and say that Karuna and others asked for military intervention. Did the elected law makers, by major consensus ask for military intervention? No never.

    The world knows the “puppet” part the Tamil cabinet ministefrs and frustrated politicians, seeking mere selfish ends, do in SL. In fact the state abuses them against the legitimate rights of Tamils. You appear to be holding candles for such puppets.

    Such events occured even in South Africa also. So do not worry about that. History will determine their future democratic rejection by those affected.

    Let us wait to see how Obama with all his experience will see the evil of humanity against humanity in SL.

  • kumar

    Dear Sam,

    1. In the past 60 years in SL the tamil issue came into play due to British policies of minority control over the majority. Once we gained independence things changed as more positions were taken by Sinhalese (as per population) and if Tamils say this is discrimination, I say this is the correct and way of the world.

    2. Did the elected law makers, by major consensus ask for military intervention? The TNA, who stuffed ballot boxed behind LTTE line? Are they elected? Don’t make us laugh.

    3. Would you be so kind to hold your breath and wait for Obama?