A toast to Prabhakaran
"Thaaththa", Bindu Udagedera asked, "what is all this fuss about an ambassador?"
"What fuss is that?" Percy, Bindu's father wanted to know.
"Why, the American ambassador has proposed a toast to Prabhakaran at a party."
"Ah, that," said Percy, "was to show that he supports the peace process and the agreement reached by both sides."
"But thaaththa," Bindu protested, "the Tigers are still banned in America."
"They are banned in Sri Lanka too." Percy countered.
"So thaaththa", Bindu said, "are you saying that what the Ambassador did was right?"
"It may not be politically correct, as the Americans say." Percy conceded, "but then, it would only have been a little gesture."
"But thaaththa," Bindu argued, "when someone is representing his country, he is not supposed to make gestures like that."
"But why is everyone so upset about a toast?" Percy wanted to know.
"What would have happened if the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Washington proposed a toast to Osama bin Laden, thaaththa?"
"I suppose he may even be expelled." Percy said, "But Bindu, there is a difference."
"And what is that?" Bindu was puzzled.
"Prabhakaran is talking peace now but bin Laden isn't."
"Then thaaththa," Bindu argued, "is that why they have bombed all of Afghanistan even though they still haven't found Bin Laden but have killed thousands of civilians in the process.?"
"Of course, it is." Percy agreed.
"So, thaaththa," Bindu wanted to know, "does it mean that if Bin Laden were to come out of somewhere and sign a ceasefire agreement with George Bush, the Americans will be proposing toasts to him?"
"That certainly looks like a remote possibility." Percy agreed.
"Not only because they won't toast him; they probably won't be able to find him too." Bindu said.
"But it makes sense to end any war, doesn't it?" Percy asked.
"Then why were they shouting so much about civilian casualties when we were trying to end the war here and why were they talking of human rights?"
"I suppose they were concerned that we might be overenthusiastic in our efforts." Percy suggested.
"And why is it that they turned a blind eye to terrorists elsewhere in the world until last September?"
"Every country has its own interests, Bindu." Percy observed.
"That's fair enough," Bindu agreed, "but why is it that we have to agree with different attitudes about terrorism here and terrorism there?"
"For the moment, Bindu, that's the way it is." Percy said, "why, is there any alternative that you have in mind?"
"Well," said Bindu, "we once asked a British ambassador to go home for trying to interfere with our elections..."
"So, do you now want the American ambassador to go home too?"
"There would be some people who agree with that." Bindu said.
"But before expelling him, Bindu, there are some others who should be expelled first."
"And who are they?" Bindu wanted to know.
"Why, those Sri Lankan patriots who agreed with the American ambassador and toasted Prabhakaran without any hesitation." Percy said.
Bindu couldn't disagree with that.