I am a short walk from Jefferson House, but I was not invited to the party thrown by the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Ms Patricia Butenis on account of the celebrations for American Independence Day. I am not sulking as she does not know me and have no knowledge of me, and under the usual protocol probably would not qualify for an invite. I probably have visited more places or States in the US than most people at the gathering including all the US citizens gathered there during my 15 years stay there.
As usual a controversy resulted. According to what Minister Wimal Weerawansa had to say in some event or occasion, he maintained that there is a conspiracy in the Western Nations to gather our youth for another anti patriotic conspiracy against Sri Lanka.
Apparently what prompted this outburst was that even though Susil Premajayanth, possibly the most senior minister present, toasted the President and the People of the United States on the occasion of the Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Ms Butenis instead toasted the Youth who are the future of Sri Lanka. I also gather that there were many youth of Sri Lanka at the event, many of whom represent NGO's who benefit from US Aid in Sri Lanka. Brother Wimal was upset that the President of the Sri Lanka was not the object of the toast.
What can I say about that? If Wikileaks is anything to go by, I salute Butenis for not being a hypocrite, as she has clearly smeared the President and his brothers as complicit in war crimes, (We in SL can smear Obama with the same sin, but we did not!! at the event) So it would have been unconscionable for her so to do.
Of course I support the toast to the Youth as it is the Youth who are our future and not any Rajapakse. She was toasting the Youth who were present there. The next argument goes if protocol demands the toast is reciprocated. I do not know the answer to that, so it is a clear message to Sri Lanka that the US government's representative in Sri Lanka, was not about to give the President of Sri Lanka the same respect!!
I know Wimal Weerawansa was in the US recently, and as a Minister who enjoys certain diplomatic privileges with a diplomatic passport would have been given a visa no matter what he has stated against the US. It is interesting to note if the roles were reversed, if a rabid anti Sri Lankan in the US in the US government or Congress requested the same would he also be granted the same by the Sri Lankan Govt.
More to the point, we in Sri Lanka still engage in all this anti American rhetoric and desperately want to send our kids to Universities in the US, and do not mind if they get jobs and settle down there. Such are their double standards. Let us send our children to Chinese schools and Universities instead and teach them Chinese instead of English as it is the most widely spoken language in terms of population.
For my part I admire the US, but what is more telling, is that despite living and working in Santa Barbara, California and having one of the most beautiful Rose Gardens in any home in the US, I decided to give all that up and come and live in Sri Lanka as a peasant farmer, only to be run over by the escort vehicle of the Justice Minister in Sri Lanka in his personal convoy. I have been incapacitated for six months, still in crutches, with my whole farming enterprise in tatters, and with no compensation from the Minister, Ministry, or the Ministry of Defense which owned the vehicle(which was not insured) that crashed into me. I have to go back to hospital in a few days for further surgery, which effectively incapacitates me for a whole year.
The minister who met me after 5 months said he will do something about it, and have not heard a word since. It is this sort of Government with leaders representing this myth, that can go about this injustice who keep talking like great saviours of the country. They are all a lot of hot air, not to be trusted believed or relied upon.