What the hell is all this bloody nonsense, if you’ll pardon the lingo? Some chap called Marikkar who it is said is a UNP MP, has proposed a plan that should have US President Trump running for cover. After all what else could he do when such masterly ripostes are hurled at him by some [...]


So who’s afraid of Donald Trump?


What the hell is all this bloody nonsense, if you’ll pardon the lingo?

Some chap called Marikkar who it is said is a UNP MP, has proposed a plan that should have US President Trump running for cover. After all what else could he do when such masterly ripostes are hurled at him by some chap he has not seen nor heard of and probably does not wish to despite all the crazy antics of good old Trump.

It has all to do with the refusal of US entry visas to Sri Lanka’s army commander Lt. Gen Shavendra Silva and his family. Such is the state of journalism here that I have yet to read in the print media or hear on the electronic media- which appears to consider itself ready to provide master classes in television production and presentation to the world- what Shavendra Silva’s travel was all about.

Was he headed for the US on official business like participating at a military conference or seminar, on an invitation for multilateral discussions or was it a pure and simple holiday plan? The fact that his family was to accompany him suggests it was on holiday or some personal business. It is important to know for it gives a different complexion to this visa refusal affair.

MP Marikkar-or better still Marikkar MP- has come up with a novel way of forcing Mr Trump to concede defeat and raise his hands above his head in abject surrender. Marikkar MP calls on all Sri Lankans-and patriotic ones at that-not to apply for visas to travel to the US until the Trump administration goes down on all fours and promptly issues entry visas to Silva and co.

That would be a singular triumph for the patriotic forces that Marikkar wants to harness in his war against Trump. But there are a few problems that the ingenious and resourceful UNP politician appears not to have considered.

All well and good if Marikkar MP can muster the forces that will drive the Trumpian hordes from the Washington swamps to the Pacific coast. In fact he can bombard the US 50th State with verbal missiles as the Japanese did with bombs during its sustained air attacks.

But supposing, just supposing, that Twitter Trump is in no mood to appease some country that he cannot find on a world map. Imagine a brief encounter in The White House.

“Hey Lou”, says Trump to an official about to be kicked-outlike dozens of his predecessors, “come over here pronto”. A minute passes and there is a knock on the Oval Office door.

“What the goddam hell is going on here? Where the hell on this globe is this godammed place called Sree Lanker.

“I would not know Mister President”, replies the official.

“Then what the hell are you doing here? Does nobody in this place known anything any more? Go find somebody who knows for god’s sake”.

Time passes and there is no sign of Lou. An exasperated Trump calls a senior official who is senior enough to know.

“ Where the hell is that fellow Lou?” Trump shouts into the phone

“ He is looking for somebody who knows where Sree Lanker is”, says the senior man.

“Has he found anybody?”

“No Mr President”,

“So what the hell is Lou doing”?

“He handed in his resignation and last seen he was running to the exit.”

“This place is becoming nuttier by the day. Maybe I’ll just tweet some twit and see what happens.

“Mister President, if I might suggest, why not tweet that chap called Marikkar mentioned in the New York Times?

“Now it is not only fake news but fake trying to rouse the people. Let him sweat it out till climate change gets him,” yells the president slamming the phone down.

Meanwhile back in Colombo, Marikkar MP is besieged with emails, social media comments calling the politician all sorts of unsavoury names most printable of which are “idiot”, “fool” and other epithets that should keep him quiet until parliament is dissolved and he can quietly clear the garbage piled outside his doorstep by irate Sri Lankans who had been advised by Marikkar MP not to apply for visas.

In one comment aimed at Marikkar, he was asked whether he had intended visiting the US and whether it was Shavendra Silva fiasco that has stopped him from applying for a visa. It is easy for him to say don’t apply because he was going nowhere there. Can Marikkar show proof that he was planning to visit the US. If not how dare he asks others with genuine reasons to enter the US not to apply for permission to enter.

Said another-“I say Marikkar. If you are so concerned about the US denial of entry to Shavendra Silva why do you not go and lie opposite the US Embassy and fast to death, unto death or whatever suits the flavour of the month.

“Why, you could always count on Wee-mal of the loud- month brigade to join in the farce, sorry fast. He might not stay the course after all there is always the possibility that Trump’s hamburgers might lure him away from this ham-fisted effort at free publicity.

“And if you need religious support there is always another parliamentary colleague Athureliye Rathana Thera who has some experience in fasting- unto- death though the thero’s efforts did not reach any tragic denouement.”

If Marikkar MP seriously believes and is not grandstanding that Donald Trump is going to change his mind and relax the visa restriction to permit Shavendra Silva and family entry he must surely be living in cuckooland.

So if Marikkar MP wants Sri Lankans intending to visit the US for whatever reason to refrain from applying for entry visas then they would have to wait a long, long time. As for Marikkar it would not affect him the slightest if he has no intention of going there anyway.

So who loses- not Marikkar but those who will foolishly accept his advise. Would it not be far better if Mr Marikkar turns his attention to settling internecine political war in the UNP rather than meddling in issues he knows little about.

This battle over Shavendra Silva is nothing new. He ran into several problems when he was posted to Sri Lanka’s UN mission in New York with one particular blog called the Inner City Press targeting him. He was also targeted when he was ousted from one of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon’s special committees though he was appointed by the Asia-Pacific group.

One thing to keep in mind-and a principle that Sri Lanka has fallen back on- is that it is the  right of a sovereign nation to decide who should be permitted to enter a country, who should be allowed to stay and who should be refused entry.

Maybe somebody could recall instances when Ceylon/Sri Lanka has turned down visa applications of others seeking to enter the country. Every day the British and other western embassies here refuse applications for visas.

Mr Marikkar does not seem concerned about them. Maybe he should.


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