ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 47
Columns - 5th Column

Colonial hangover any more diplomatic visits

By Rypvanwinkle

"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "are we still a British colony?"
"No, Bindu," Bindu's father Percy said, "I think you have been watching too much cricket these days..."
"No, thaaththa," Bindu protested, "that is not the reason I thought so..."
"Then," Percy was puzzled, "what made you think we are a British colony?"
"Why, thaaththa," Bindu said, "what about what the British High Commissioner has done?"
"Why, what has he done?" Percy wanted to know.

"Why, he is dropping in at newspaper offices where editors are allegedly being threatened..." Bindu said.
"What is wrong with that?" Percy queried, "newspaper editors are not supposed to be threatened anyway..."
"But thaaththa," Bindu asked, "remember what happened earlier?"
"What was that?" Percy inquired.

"Why, one previous British Ambassador was asked to go home by a former President..."
"Ah, yes," Percy recalled, "that was after he started commenting about our elections..."
"So, thaaththa," Bindu argued, "isn't this incident also similar?"
"How can this be similar to that incident?" Percy demanded.

"Why, thaaththa, we are not supposed to have election malpractices and when a diplomat says our elections may not be free and fair he is asked to go home..." Bindu said.
"But how is that similar to what happened this week?" Percy was curious.
"Why, thaaththa," Bindu suggested, "we are also not supposed to be threatening our newspaper editors but the British High Commissioner seems to be suggesting that we are..."
"I don't think he has suggested anything of that sort..." Percy pointed out.

"But thaaththa, he has visited the editor a day after the editor was allegedly threatened by our Defence Secretary" Bindu argued, "so, isn't he implying something?"
"That may be so," Percy agreed, "but he certainly hasn't said anything..."
"But he appears to be expressing his support to the editor..." Bindu said.

"That is also possible," Percy conceded, "but what has he done to make you think that we are still a British colony?"
"It is not what he has done, thaaththa," Bindu explained, "it is what the Defence Secretary has done..."
"Why," Percy asked, "has he resigned because Uncle Ranil asked him to?"
"No," Bindu said, "but I think it is somewhat worse than that..."
"Why do you say that?" Percy inquired.

"Why, thaaththa, he has invited the British High Commissioner to his office to talk about the media..." Bindu said.
"So, what is wrong with that?" Percy demanded.
"Surely, thaaththa, doesn't it sound as if he is trying to explain himself to the High Commissioner..."
"He has not said that, has he?" Percy asked.

"No, he hasn't..." Bindu conceded, "but isn't it too much of a coincidence that he would want to speak to the High Commissioner so soon after the High Commissioner visited the editor..."
"Well," Percy said, "it is as much a coincidence as the Defence Secretary being the brother of someone..."
"Then it also means that the High Commissioner will not be asked to pack his bags and go home, like his predecessor was asked to?" Bindu asked.

"Probably not," Percy said, "but even then, the High Commissioner should be careful..."
"Why is that, thaaththa?" Bindu wanted to know.
"Why, if he plans to visit everyone who is being threatened, he would have quite a lot of visiting to do..." Percy explained.
Bindu didn't disagree.

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