Fifth Column

4th March 2001

"God save the Queen"

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"Thaaththa", Bindu Udagedera asked, "what will happen to the Tigers now?"

"Why," Percy Udagedera, Bindu's father asked, "What can happen to them?"

"Why, Britain has banned them."

"Yes", Percy agreed, "but so has Sri Lanka, India and America."

"But thaaththa," Bindu argued, "this will be different."

"Why should it be?" Percy asked, "The Tigers operate in all the countries that they are banned."

"So, what do you think will happen?"

"They will continue to operate in Britain too."

"But thaaththa, they will no longer be able to operate and collect money openly."

"That may be true," Percy conceded, "but I don't think it will bother them."

"Do you think all those petitions we sent had an effect on their decision?"

"I'm not sure about that, but certainly some people got publicity out of that." "But some people didn't even want to do that." Bindu observed. "Who was that?"

"Why, thaaththa, the Greens didn't want the Tigers banned. Why is that, thaaththa?" Bindu wanted to know.

"Why, they were saying it would spoil the peace talks."

"But thaaththa," Bindu observed, "Solheim is there to look after that."

"But the Greens may have their reasons for not wanting the Tigers banned," Percy said.

"What are those reasons, thaaththa?"

"Why, the biggest advantage is not becoming a target of a suicide bomb."

"That's true," Bindu conceded, "but doesn't that create more problems now?"

"What do you mean?" Percy asked.

"Why, thaaththa, then the British would become targets now."

"Yes," Percy agreed, "I suppose they would be singing God Save the Queen."

"I suppose we should sing that too." Bindu said.

"Why do you say that?"

"Why, thaaththa, our Queen will also become a target now."

"That's true," Percy conceded.

"But thaaththa," Bindu queried, "shouldn't we thank the British now?"

"Yes we should," Percy said, "and I thought Kadi was flying to London to thank them personally."

"But thaaththa," Bindu said, "I think I know of a better way to thank them."

"What's that?" Percy wanted to know.

"Why, we can leave out Murali for the next Test match, so that they can win it."

"That wouldn't be fair." Percy protested.

"Then, I have another idea" Bindu said.

"What's that?" Percy wanted to know.

"We will allow two neutral umpires for the next Test."

"Maybe," Percy said, "the British wanted that done and that is why they banned the Tigers."

Bindu didn't disagree with that either.

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