The Fifth Column

6th July 1997

Keeping up with Jones

Bindu Udagedara was crying.

"Why? what's wrong?" asked his father, Percy.

"I want to go to America," the boy said.

"Why?" Percy wanted to know.

"I want to meet Paula Jones..."

"Why do you want to meet this Paula Jones?"

"Because she says that President Clinton asked her to come to a hotel room and harassed her..."

"But why would you want to meet her?" Percy was puzzled.

"Because she sold her story to some newspaper in America..."


"And they published the story with all the details....."

"So," Percy asked, "why are you worried about all this?"

"Why, thaaththa, why didn't Clinton charge Paula Jones or her newspaper editor with criminal defamation..."

"Simply because those countries have no laws of criminal defamation. There, defamation is a civil offence," Percy tried to explain.

" I still don't understand..." Bindu said.

"Why? what's so difficult to understand?"

"But thaaththa," Bindu said, "now Paula Jones is suing Clinton for harassing her, when we would expect Clinton to sue Paula Jones...."

"Then," said Percy, "Clinton would have done something terrible..."

"Like what?" Bindu wanted to know.

"Maybe he went to Paula's suite for a birthday party..."

"What's wrong with that?"

"Or," Percy suggested, "Clinton may have gone there at midnight and stayed for two hours in the heat of the silent night..."

"But thaaththa," Bindu protested.

"Or," Percy said, "Clinton may have used the back door of the hotel..."

"But, thaaththa," Bindu was puzzled.

"Or," Percy continued, "Clinton may have eaten good food, the epicurean type, you know..."

"No, thaaththa," Bindu argued, "I think Clinton is alleged to have done something far more worse than that..."

"That cannot be," Percy said firmly, "Going to birthday parties at midnight through the back door and eating good food is the worst thing you can possibly do as a President..."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because," said Percy "there is this 'brilliant' argument that when you are the President of the country, the amount of foreign aid you get depends on the head of state's reputation..."

"So that is why America is not getting any aid..." Bindu said.

"And," Percy observed, "England will not get any aid either, when Prince Charles becomes king..."

"But thaaththa," Bindu said, "I still want to go the America."


"Because a court has ordered that Paula Jones can sue Clinton while he still holds office. So, I want to watch Clinton in the dock..."

"There must be a mistake somewhere, Bindu." Percy said. "Presidents can't be summoned even to give evidence, leave alone accusing them..."

"Then, what will happen to the trial, thaaththa?"

"There won't be much of a trial, Bindu..."


"Paula Jones is the complainant, Clinton, because he is the President, can do no wrong. So if anybody is to be found guilty it will be the newspaper editor..." "So, thaaththa, you think I shouldn't go to America?"

"No, you should, Bindu," Percy said.

"Why, thaaththa?"

"You should be there when they find the newspaper editor guilty..."


"Because you must be there to garland him....." "But thaaththa, I thought you shouldn't be garlanding convicts..."

"Yes," Percy agreed, "you shouldn't garland murderers, but you should garland people who act with the courage of their convictions...."

Bindu readily agreed.

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