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US warning to the LTTE

The warning given by the United States to the LTTE that it will pay a high cost if it resumes war is indeed timely. A war is finally a war between economies, and without doubt the Sri Lanka Government can outlast even the vigorous efforts by the LTTE, including the misplaced support of the Tamil diaspora.

During World War 2, Winston Curchill sent a message to the Japanese not to enter the war, saying that the steel production of the Allies (including the US) far exceeded that of Japan and Germany, and that the Allies will finally prevail.

The warning was not heeded and we all know the outcome, and a megalomaniac Hitler who was boasting of a thousand year Reich committed suicide in his bunker in a short while.

Today we have another megalomaniac Prabhakaran, boasting of an independent Tamil Eelam on the basis of a potty little illegal state he now runs, which no one recognizes. All tyrants’ history shows have one dire ending.

When Israel was first formed on an illegal basis shiploads of Jews arrived from all over the world. Where are the shiploads of Tamils? Yes they come to Wellawatte and chose not to go to Tamil Eelam, to live under a tyrant.

The Government must carry-out a census and show the extent of Tamil influx to Colombo, how many businesses are run by them to demonstrate to the world that this is a free country. The only restricted area to all communities is Tamil Eelam.

Prabhakaran should take a leaf out of Banda Aceh, for the sake of his people, and negotiate an acceptable peace.

They laid down arms, signed a peace treaty, and will soon govern their own land after elections. The problem perhaps is who will vote for Prabha the tyrant.

N. S. WIJESINGHE
– Wellawatte

President’s visit to ‘India House’

When he was besotted with Ann Boleyn, the l’affaire that eventually resulted in the break away of England from the Vatican empirical monolith, King Henry VIII broke tradition visiting the home of Cardinal Wolsey in an attempt to persuade him to legitimise his proposed bigamous alliance.

Upon seeing the King in his estate in that tradition-soaked England of yore the Bishop exclaimed “Your Majesty! I am afraid my humble home cannot withstand the weight of the joy of your personal visit.” Those were glorious times of monarchs, die-hard tradition etc. where the visit of the monarch to the home of a commoner was a thing not even to be dreamed of.

More to our times and home - after many centuries and departure from much of what was considered ‘stiff-necked tradition’ we are told a major political faux pas was committed by President Mahinda Rajapakse when he visited, surreptitiously it is suggested, ‘India House’ - the official residence of the Indian High Commissioner Nirupama Rao for a tete-a-tete with that enfant terrible of local politics Arumugam Thondaman - threatening to form a hot alliance with the fangled paws of the North.

The event has been made out to be a local political time-bomb with many stories in many dimensions on this single issue.

Of the uncharitable ones was that Nirupama Rao was trying to establish to her colleagues in New Delhi, her predecessors here and the establishment in India she had scored one over all of them - by getting the Sri Lankan President to commit the sacrilegious act of coming to her feet.

The question that arises to us ordinary mortals is - did President Mahinda Rajapakse depart from established protocol or time-honoured diplomatic tradition by visiting the home of a foreign diplomatic head in his home turf?

While, it may be true generally Heads of State do not visit the homes of diplomats as a matter of course such visits, nonetheless, are neither extraordinary, unheard of, or lacking in propriety. In relationships between heads of diplomatic missions and the Heads of State in which the mission is located, the relationship itself can fall into several categories.

Some of them strictly official - conforming to all the paraphernalia associated with diplomatic etiquette. Others remain somewhat relaxed where the relationship between the two are exceptionally warm where even calling each other by first name is routinous. And, still others where the personal relationship and inclinations between the two are very close.

Although the relationship between President JRJ and the celebrated IHC Dixit was tumultuous yet, in the personal domain between these two, it would appear the mutual relationship was not as acrimonious as widely believed. One learns from close circles the relationship was strong to the extent JRJ preferred to endearingly called Dixit as ‘Mani’ as few would this volatile man.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe enjoyed an excellent relationship with former IHC Gopalakrishna Gandhi and India, where he honoured the latter by visiting Bangalore to attend Gandhi’s daughter’s private wedding.

Ebullient President Chandrika, visited India House - as she has the homes of some other Heads of Mission - to illustrate her personal esteem to them and the countries they represent.

Michael Moore, the maker of that hit documentary ‘9/11’ tells of the visits of incumbent President George Bush to the home of the Saudi Ambassador in Washington and reverse courtesies.

President John F. Kennedy honoured the Indian Ambassador in Washington by visiting the latter and, in returning the courtesy, Pandit Nehru was an admirer of the academic brilliance of US Ambassador to New Delhi Galbraith - where they often met outside official matters.

Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori has been a guest of Indian Ambassadors in Lima, according to reports in the ‘Time’ magazine. Cultivating a friendly and personal relationship with Heads of important missions in their countries by the local Head of State, after all, went on to strengthen the depth and texture of their mutual relationship.

Heads of diplomatic missions are patriotic citizens of their country and it is for them to choose the opportunities to augment relationships between their country and the Head of State of the country they are stationed in.

There does not appear to be manuals or established convention laying down in strict terms the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ either to Heads of States or to diplomatic heads in their regular interaction - other than empirical wisdom.

If President Mahinda Rajapakse chooses to smoothen the nerves of an agitated Thondaman and they decide in concert the most appropriate rendezvous of the day, for their own reasons and convenience, would be India House - Nirupama Rao may have not stood in the way.

To apportion to her sinister motives or designs on this score will be grievous injustice to this well meaning, gentle lady whose desire to see Sri Lanka regain her tranquility and composure is now well-known.

After all, both Rajapakse and Thondaman are hard-boiled political leaders capable of rational thinking and well versed in avoiding pitfalls - no matter man or woman-made.

On the subject of India House, the late senior Thondaman recalling those difficult days of 1987-89 reminisces in his book ‘Out of Bondage’ how Athulathmudali and he helped avert armed conflict between the two countries, where breaking protocol, India House had helped Sri Lanka maintain peace largely because of Thondaman’s personal equation with the Indian High Commissioners.

When calamity strikes us, either man made or natural, it is India that we rush to seek aid and solace. India, in our perception, may have her own faults in our relationship with her.

Differences with India in the past we have had and this is not unusual for two countries sharing a neighbourhood going into the millennia. It will be in our interest to structure a cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with her.

A. KANDAPPAH

SLT shortcomings

Sri Lanka Telecom advertised vacancies on two occasions and on both occasions, my son applied as he had the required qualifications.

On the first occasion (2002), his admission card for the written test was sent two days after the date of the test having posted only on the previous day (His Index No. on this occasion being 173). On the second occasion (2005), he never received the admission card for the written test, which is compulsory for selection.

Although my son made written representations to the Chairman he was not entertained by either the Chairman or the CEO or any other responsible officer. To date no response has been received.

I am wondering whether there is any purpose in getting foreign collaborators to manage our enterprises when they do not care a twopence for the fundamental laws and practices of this country. The CEO does not seem to care for any grievance submitted to him.

Neither has the Chairman any spare time or patience to look into complaints and take corrective measures. He is always too busy, if he is in office his secretary says so. The day when the private Telecom companies will overtake SLT will not be very far as things are going today.

SLT is very clever and over anxious in introducing new IT systems and new bill formats at huge expense to the customers, who will have to ultimately foot the bill but lags behind in every other public relation services.

A customer can hardly reach the Reception Desk Officers as any call to them through 4 - digit numbers terminate on a recording and thereafter, one will hear that all the Customer Service Officers are busy.

Even if one waits for a couple of hours, they will never comeback to you. Corruption seems to be rampant in the Personnel and Administration Departments or else how come these malpractice go on regardless.

Does the authorities expect every grieved person whose fundamental rights are violated to go for fundamental rights cases which are almost beyond the reach of most of the litigants.

Why not Government consider denationalizing the Telecom?

G. B. RAJAPAKSE
– Nugegoda

Doctors’ private practice

Dr. Kingsley Heendeniya should be congratulated for his letter (DN Jan.2) under the heading ‘Fishing for private practice,’ regarding the private practice of doctors.

There was a time when the doctors were held next to God by the people. That was when students paid for their education and became doctors. But today doctors have lost that place in the eyes of the people.

They are also classed as persons who do things only to enrich themselves by whatever means. They seek their assistance only because they have no other alternatives and the doctors make capital out of it.

It is an irony that doctors who paid for their education did dedicated service and were held in high esteem in society and the present doctors for whose education the people paid have become low in the eyes of the people by their avariciousness and being vultures.

Of course, all the doctors are not like that. But those who are like that make others also to be considered like that. That is the pity.

Let us hope that the medical profession will jointly pull itself up and become a shining example to other professions as well.

ARUL

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