10 February 2014

Michele Sison chortles (privately)



[In a parallel universe, of course]

I read somewhere that some cabinet ministers are peeved that I am in the habit of inviting heads of state institutions for chit-chat over coffee, tea, wine or whisky.  They are upset, I heard, that I ask them about developments taking place on the ground. They are upset that I don’t inform them of these invites and neither do these ladies and gentlemen.

They say I summon them.  I don’t do that.  I just say ‘drop in for a chat’.  Of course I have no illusions and neither do they, i.e. about the differences and similarities of ‘invite’ and ‘summon’, considering that I consider myself a Viceroy and most of them have deeply ingrained colonial chips on their shoulders.  Deep down I think the true source of this ministerial discontent is that I didn’t ‘invite’ them to salaam me and offer ground-situation reports.  Cracks me up!

So when I hear that the Sri Lanka Government is going to express its displeasure to my government over my behavior I can’t stop chortling.  Who was it who explained to me the meaning of the Sinhala saying horage ammagen something something? Was it Sara or Jehan?  Tissa J?  I can’t remember.  What these worthies don’t know is that I am by definition, JD and whatnot Washington’s creature.   

This is my job. This is my mandate.  Public discourse, these people still don’t know, is part and parcel of my duties.  It’s no state secret that US diplomats are trained to keep under check governments or elements within government that are not exactly buddies.  It’s all transparent.  It’s all mandated. All legal.  I am a busybody, true, but a busybody not by choice but by JD.  We are paid for to be busybodies. 

Senior politicians and officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs might remember a time when another busybody from another era did the same kind of things I do.  Gladstone.  He wined and dined. He entertained.  He did the destabilization number. He had willing dancers-to-tune.  I think Mangala would know.  At the time, we were all new to this business of ‘public discourse’.  He was a guinea pig of sorts and I believe he noted this in a memoir penned subsequently.  He was shown the door by President Ranasinghe Premadasa.  He was, we could say, ‘PNGed’.   That man, for all his faults, had the balls, as they say. 

It is less easy to declare me a Persona Non Grata.  Now someone might say that the difficulty arises from a delicate international situation where we have the power to tilt the balance of opinion against Sri Lanka.  Please remember that we are not talking about truth-worth and s*** like that.  Who the flower cares about right and wrong anymore, huh?  So, yes, we are planning to help Sri Lanka with a third resolution in Geneva.  Yes, we decide what helps and what detracts. That’s none of Sri Lanka’s business.  It’s our foreign policy cornerstone, folks: we decide, you better submit or else.  We won’t say that to China or Russia though, but Sri Lanka is neither of these countries. We know. They know. 

On the other hand (and this is what makes me almost choke with chortling) Sri Lanka has played the appeasement game to the max and has zilch to show for it.  It’s like water going over the nose – it really doesn’t matter if it goes over the ceiling.  There’s power there.  I can be shown the door. I can be PNGed.  It won’t make things better but neither will it make things worse in Geneva. 

This side of kicking me out, a general memo could be circulated to all Government servants regarding accepting invitations from my office.  It would look odd and would not be practical to extend this to all the missions in Colombo, but we could be black-balled for say three months.  It won’t be fun partying with me when the invited officials would have to check if someone’s watching them, waiting to throw the Establishments Code (I think that’s what it is called) at them.  These are surveillance days after all and don’t I, a Washington rep know that, never mind Snowden’s revelations. 

But I know that Sri Lankans or rather the top advisors to the President are essentially suffering from a serious set of post-colonial disorders.  For the one or two who would say ‘Let’s do a Premadasa’ there will definitely be two dozen who would say ‘oh no, we can’t afford to displease Washington’.  The truth is that Washington cannot be displeased any more than it already has. Sri Lanka has nothing to lose and doesn’t know it.  Stop!  I can’t bear this.  It’s so funny.  So damn funny.  I need some water. 

Ok.  Had water.  Breathed.  And I remembered that the Agfhan dude Karzai had said that the Americans can leave anytime and that they, the Afghans, will continue with their lives.  Now that’s sobering news.  He is dead right. I hope and pray that Mahinda doesn’t get to hear of it.  I would definitely not be getting the last laugh if he did.  It won’t be funny if I get PNGed.  I might suffer from PVTS and might never fully recover.  That’s Post-Viceroy-Trauma-Syndrome.
Flower! I need some tissue now.

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1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lol. may be he already knows