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GL: Geneva lost, groans Lanka

By Rypvanwinkle

My Dear GL (or should I say Geneva Lost?),

I did not intend to write to you again so soon but now I feel I must, after hearing you moan every day about what happened in Geneva, after we lost the vote on the resolution against us sponsored by Uncle Sam.
I am confused, GL, because at first you were saying that you were confident of winning the vote with ease. I am not sure whether you thought that the opposition you faced was like the UNP and the JVP or whether there would be a computer ‘jilmart’, but that is what you said.

Surely, that is why you refused an invitation from Hillary to visit her in Washington for a chat to sort matters out. Or is that you thought you were the most knowledgeable and erudite Minister of External Affairs that we ever had and that you would be belittling yourself by answering her ‘summons’?

Then, as the discussions progressed in Geneva, we saw you take off to far away Africa to ‘lobby’ nations that we have hardly heard of. I know that these countries also had to vote on the resolution and that they needed to be talked to, but couldn’t you find a better time (or a better person) to do that?

Thereafter you were back in Colombo, telling us ever so casually, as if you were discussing the probability of Tillekeratne Dilshan getting out in the first over of a one-day international, that our chances were 50-50. After all the confidence you exuded earlier, GL, that came as a surprise.

We know it was India which spoiled the party by announcing that it would vote against us. So, it seems that despite being in charge of ‘external’ affairs, you didn’t realise what was coming and the ‘historical ties’ which you were counting on, were only old garments gathering dust in your wardrobe!

I know you were a professor of law, GL, but after the vote was lost we saw some of your mathematical skills as well. You counted those who abstained as having voted ‘for’ us, added the votes again and tried to tell us we had lost by a mere one vote!

As if that was not enough, you then announced that Sri Lanka has ‘rejected’ the resolution and that it does not compel us to do anything. If it was that simple, GL, why did you bother so much about it in the first instance, running around several continents like a headless chicken? Sour grapes, isn’t it?

And then, the very next day we hear Lakshman Yapa tells us that those were your ‘personal views’ and not those of the government. Surely, GL, you must know by now that as the country’s top diplomat, whatever ‘personal’ views you have, they must be confined to singing in the shower?

So here we have Geneva Lost Peiris, Rhodes Scholar, professor of law, former Dean and Vice Chancellor being told by Lakshman Yapa — whose idea of a Rhodes Scholar is probably of a student passing the year five scholarship exam in Rhodesia — that he is talking through his hat!

Pardon me, GL, but I am a little confused. Yes, we are used to Mervyn saying that he will break Obama’s legs. We are even getting used to Wimal claiming that America will collapse when he stops using Google. But we were used to thinking of you as being on a slightly higher intellectual plane.

I guess we were mistaken. But we remain confused because you have rejected the resolution totally, Nimal Siripala says we will only accept parts of the resolution and some others say we should honour the resolution because it only asks us to implement our own recommendations!

Because of all this, GL, I feel that Mahinda maama has given you the wrong job. With so many portfolios available he should have put you in charge of ‘Minor Export Crop Promotion’ or even ‘Livestock Development’. If you blunder in those ministries, it wouldn’t cost us that much, you know.

Remember, GL, this is not the first time that you got us into a mess. Ten years ago, you talked Ranil into agreeing to a ceasefire with Velu and the consequences were disastrous. Velu is dead, Ranil is politically dead but here you are defending the war — not the ceasefire, after having changed sides!

But let me wish you luck. The people in Geneva will gather once again in a year and review what we have done. And if you still happen to be in the same job, GL, I hope that you will have the humility to learn from your much respected predecessor Lakshman K-but I am asking for the impossible, aren’t I?

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS: The one thing I agree with you though is that appointing Mahinda Sam as our ‘team leader’ when you were also in the ‘team’ was probably like giving Dilshan the captaincy while Mahela was still in the team. Well, Mahela proved himself once more a few days ago, so now it is your turn!

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