Prophets are not recognised in their own
country, it is said. In this country
prophets and even 'visionaries' are not
recognised even though this wisdom is lapped
up by today's 'Greats' abroad.
Our Environment Minister, Champika Ranawaka,
on the eve of elections to the North Western
and Central Provincial Councils discovered
that Mahinda Chinthanaya (vision of Mahinda
Rajapakse) had progressed much beyond
recognition in the West and is being
implemented by leaders of Western nations
like Presidents Barack Obama of America and
Nicholas Sarkozy of France and Prime
Minister Gordon Brown of Britain.
The entire juggernaut of publicity of the
UPFA government, ignored this Ranawaka
discovery or perhaps thought it was too late
to impact on the PC elections the day after
it was announced in the Daily News.
Nonetheless, The Sunday Leader being a keen
student of the Mahinda Chinthanaya commented
editorially in its last issue, despite being
called 'traitors' and all that.
Historians say that great minds have agreed
from historic times. Buddha, the Greek
philosophers, Confucius and even Christ who
lived around the same era seem to have had
parallel thoughts. Maybe it went down the
ancient Silk Routes just as much such
thoughts travel today on Mihin Lanka routes
influencing the minds of Obama, Sarkozy and
We identified the influence of the vision
and thoughts of our President, when Barack
Obama's $ 787 billion Stimulus Package to
revive the faltering American economy was
being hotly debated. Among the strategies
thought out had been the establishment of a
'Bad Bank' - an institution that would
pursue and hold 'illiquid or toxic assets'
that continue to hurt the balance sheets of
These 'illiquid' or 'toxic assets,' in
simple English, we believe, means 'bad
debt.' The idea was to transfer all bad
debts of banks to the proposed Bad Bank and
make the banks that had gone bad good
banks. This Obama Vision - call it Obama
Thinker-naya - had its origins in the
1. Remember the founding of the
famous or infamous Mihin Lanka? It was
originally funded by a bank whose CEO was
the father of the CEO of the airline. And
where did this bank get its funding from?
From the Treasury! Now the Obama line of
thinking runs parallel. Where would the
proposed Bad Bank have got its funds from?
From the US Treasury!
In Sri Lanka we have not proceeded ahead
with this concept of a Bad Bank beyond
financing Mihin Lanka but it has tremendous
potential not only for Sri Lanka but the
developing world where Bad Banks can absorb
bad debts that have to be realised.
All those loans take by our politicians from
state banks on a 'never-never' basis can be
transferred to the Bad Bank. Borrowings
running into billions by state institutions
such as the CEB and the Petroleum Corp can
be transferred to the Bad Bank and who would
pay the accrued bad debts of the Bad Bank?
The people of course, through the Treasury,
just as much as it was envisaged in the
Unfortunately latest reports on the Obama
package say that this concept of Bad Bank
had been shot down in flames by a vigorous
opposition in Congress.
But as some financial buccaneers say: don't
worry about sources of finance. Just print
the money. Anyway that's what they have been
Readers should be already familiar with the
claim that Mahinda Rajapakse had disproved
military pundits that a guerrilla war cannot
be won by military means. He has done it and
a Wall Street Journal analysts had said so.
Now, isn't Barack Obama doing the same
thing? As a liberal and pacifist, he had
called for a halt to the war in Iraq and
said he would pull out US troops. But now he
is sending troops from Iraq to Afghanistan -
3000 last week and another 16,000 more soon.
Shades of Rajapakse? Talk peace and step up
Political parallels between Mahinda
Chinthanaya and Obama Thinker-naya are
abound. Obama wants bi-partisan consensus.
Rajapakse wants bi-partisan decimation.
Obama has kept on Robert Gates as Defence
Secretary and most probably would invite
former Commander of the US forces in Iraq
and Foreign Secretary Colin Powell to
accept a key post.
Mahinda's bi-partisan decimation proceeds
from invitation for political cooperation
followed up by swallowing a faction that
agrees to cooperate. UNP. JVP, LTTE and now
the TMVP are still limping minus their
Obama has brought in Hillary Clinton as
Foreign Secretary, one of the most powerful
American politicians who contested him for
Democratic Party nomination. It's a daring
Mahinda Rajapakse differs. He does not want
clever guys around, preferring loud mouthed,
supposedly tough guys like Vermin. The
Oracle, G.L. Peiris is kept away at a safe
distance in some trade promotion ministry.
Poor G.L. has learnt the hard way: In
politics it is not clever to show that you
are too clever.
Our politicians have a warm affection for
fellow duds. Will Mahinda Rajapakse offer
Chandrika the Foreign Minister's post? No
she's too clever and powerful, and has Bill
Clinton in her pocket - er, handbag.
Only last week it was reported that when
asked at a book launch in India what she
thought was an ideal way to end the Sri
Lankan conflict, she had said: I don't think
the President wants to listen to me.
Barack Obama has a vision, probably that of
Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King.
Mahinda Rajapakse's vision is more
complicated. It keeps on expanding to
include 'all things good and beautiful' and
of course deny all things bad and
abominable. Its time this vision was put
into writing and made more definitive.