People before politics

| by Victor Cherubim 
( November 10, 2012, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The US Presidential election of Barack Obama is over. The nomination as President and Chairman of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, is also a reality.
Has anything changed? The short answer is nothing has changed. The Democrats continue to control the Senate and the Republicans lead the House of Representative. Most often second term Presidents are lame duck, but it could very well change with President Obama as he maintains,”the best is yet to come.”
How the world sees China and how China sees the world, also has hardly changed. Both are sceptical. However, things can change.
Our relations with United States, China and how they impinge?
As President Obama won a second term of four more years, shares rose, but the dollar fell on the foreign currency markets. In China as President Xi took the reins of power for the next ten years, China is not yet ready to rule the world, but given time will emerge as a Great Power – a super power. “What we are bound to see happen sooner than later, China being already a market and testing ground for new reactor technologies for developed nations, China will perhaps look to be an energetic developer of nuclear power plants around the world with its ambitions that are poised to reshape the global nuclear industry.” This could pose a worry for America, which is thus expected to concentrate in the Asia-Pacific region.
The recent editorial in Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror reflected that the re-election of President Obama had some important lessons for Sri Lanka in issues relating to ethnic harmony, unity in diversity and social justice.
While the 18thCongress of the Communist Party of China, is more concerned in finding its place for its people in the world, finding China’s source of commodities, to gain access to markets and investments, getting diplomatic support for isolating Taiwan and Tibet and seeking allies for China’s position on international issues among its friends.
China considers its long association with Sri Lanka, constitutes solid friendship. What we may learn from China is how to live in peace and friendship with our neighbours. We can learn much from China’s deals with its five border nations – India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam – with whom China at one stage or another waged wars, but now maintains peaceful co-existence. A climate of peace is essential for progress, and none more for world recognition.
President Obama in his election night victory address from Chicago to America and the world proclaimed a salient fact, which can touch us in Sri Lanka:
“It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or who you love.
It doesn’t matter whether you are black or white, or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old, or rich or poor, able or disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America, if you’re willing to try……… I believe we can seize this future together, because we are not divided as our politics suggests.” This is the American vision.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa too has a vision. He has often stated something not dissimilar but pertaining to our condition in Sri Lanka, the latest  when he delivered his Budget speech in Parliament a few days ago: He stated:
“Change in the prevailing Provincial Council system is necessary to make devolution more meaningful to the people. Devolution should not be a political reform that will lead the country to separation but a mechanism that would unify the country.”
Not unlike stock markets in London and elsewhere, which always discount the share price well ahead of events and times, whether it is a bull or bear market, we also in Sri Lanka, very often mark up or down ahead of events and political situations, what our leaders tell us.
 It could be our way of cutting our leaders and their views to size, partly because of our readymade value judgments and partly because we are not in full possession of all the full facts, thereby discounting what our leaders project, or alternatively follow the trend in public criticism of our leaders as our mechanism of control.
Whatever we do, we need to remember that the trick of making our voice heard, during unsettling periods like the one what we now experience,especfially our assessments of issues, situations of national interest, can best be discussed in public or in private, but simultaneously, we need to keep our opinions as fluid as can be, not to be wishy-washy, but making necessary allowances to adjust our plans and our strategies as changes arise. Most often when we make up our minds, we tend to set our opinions in stone, but in the world scenario, we need to be open to all views, whether they coincide with ours.
Technology allows us for the freedom and reach to experiment and network with others addressing similar issues and views, whether it is politics, economics or social justice. It is up to us to take into account and make the necessary tolerance to meet the exigencies of our times.
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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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