Obama win can reduce Sinhala-Tamil divide says one of world’s top ten thinkers

by Dayan Jayatilleka in Geneva


The historic win of Barack Obama can help reduce ethnic prejudices and divides throughout the world, such as those between Israelis and Palestinians and Tamils and Sinhalese. This is the view expressed by Kishore Mahbubani in the Commemorative Issue of TIME magazine on the Obama election. Mahbubani is described as one of “the world’s top ten thinkers” in the current (Nov/Dec 2008) edition of the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine published by the Washington Post foundation, and asked for his suggestions for the incoming Cabinet of President-elect Barack Obama.


Mahbubani is Professor, National University of Singapore, and Dean of the Lee Kwan Yew School at that university. He is Singapore ’s former Ambassador to the United Nations. His latest book is The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East. 


Mahbubani is one of the ten global personalities (others include David Miliband and Amartya Sen) to be invited by TIME magazine to comment on the global implications of the Obama victory for the Commemorative Issue. He says: “…And if we can reduce this deep ethnic prejudice, we may have hope for other ethnic divides, like those between the Israelis and Palestinians or Tamils and Sinhalese. If we can finally focus on our common humanity, we have a real opportunity to create a better world”.


we have no problems with tamils and sinhalese.
we are living together long time without any problems.
we are against LTTE only not wit tamils.
anil from london

Posted by: anil | November 11, 2008 07:51 AM

Sri Lanka has had two christian presidents and three Buddhist presidents to date. There was an excellent foreign minister in Sri Lanka who had transcendent ed religion and race who happened to be Tamil.

Most of the country expected him to be the president one day, unfortunately the LTTE the Tamil terrorists organisation killed him. It would take many decades for an 'Obama' to happen in Sri Lanka as it would take a long time for the population to forgive and forget the atrocities they have suffered at the hands of the Tamil LTTE.

Posted by: serasingha | November 11, 2008 01:07 PM

Can 'Obama, happen in India.


and you will see why. Perhaps Karunanidhi should clean his home before he looks to far far better place like Sri Lanka.

Posted by: Bandara | November 11, 2008 02:15 PM

Obama's success is a concrete evidence that to have harmony between communities and ethnic groups it is very important that they have only one official language or the language of the majority.If he spoke his father's native language(which is Swahili)he would have never elected as a president os the USA.Not only that he integrated in to American society by accepting American culture and language which minorities in Sri Lanka never want to do.The same with ex Thai priminister Thakshin who was of Chinese origin(In Thailand 16% of the population is Chinese yet their new year is not even a holiday in Thailand!!!) but got a Thai name and integrated in to Thai society accepting the official language of Thailand is Thai.When is our minorities accept the majorityS language as the official one in SL?Can Tamils in Tamilnadu get a Indian government job if they dont speak the official language Hindi?The answer is no!

Posted by: ashok | November 11, 2008 04:38 PM

Why do we need Obama to realise this?

1. Change the mind set. Otherwise
2. Time will change it (mind set).

Posted by: someone | November 11, 2008 09:01 PM

Now watch another 'clean and honest' politician become tainted by the rest of the corrupt vultures that give the peoples of the world the illusion that they are performing an excellent service to humankind while pursuing their own narrow vested interests.

When these politicians stop junketing around the world in five-star luxury then only will the people of the world start respecting them as serious people. There is a great credibility gap that has built up around the world that all politicians are self-seeking egotists.

Take messrs Clinton and Blair as defining examples. When in office these two pursued their own personal and political interests, now that they are no longer an influence they go around the world like many broken politicians before them posturing as latter day saints who seek to deliver salvation to the world. Where was their concern when in power to admit that politics had got the world into this mess and that they were going to do something about it.

All politicians since the last 'anglo-american' war of 1945 have been seeking to play the game of american cheque book diplomacy. There is not one politician since then who has had the morality to admit or even question their role in causing the breakdown of peace in our society. So Obama will be no different.

Stop looking for saviours with each new leader elected and start examining very closely the characters of the fools we elect.

Posted by: des murray | November 29, 2008 03:07 AM

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