Bandula Jayasekara, island.lk
Image from article, with caption: United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power plays Elle with Muslim girls at the Osmaniay College in Jaffna on November 22, 2015.Excerpt:
The government has been singing hosannas for America’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Samantha Power, who was here on a brief visit. Is Samantha Power genuine genuinely interested in Sri Lanka or government politicians are gullible? Is Sri Lanka bending over backwards to please the US? ...
Some question the motive of Power’s visit to Sri Lanka. Many are still in the dark. Why didn’t our Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Dr. Rohan Perera, accompany her? Did Sri Lanka fail to see how India treated her in Delhi? Did anyone at the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry check with its High Commission in New Delhi why Samantha Power went red faced when questioned by the aggressive Delhi press; they laughed at her when she tried to lecture them on terrorism? Is Sri Lanka going to make a bigger mistake by trying to discard China and other countries completely to curry favour with Uncle Sam? Sri Lanka should understand that the US has no permanent enemies or permanent friends. It uses anyone to further its interests. However, the US respects the countries ruled by leaders with some self-respect.
What does Power want in Sri Lanka at a time where there is a heightened terror alert in Europe and other parts of the world including her own country? She wants demilitarisation, reconciliation, rights of Sri Lankan people, accountability etc. Is Samantha Power qualified to speak for the rights of all Sri Lankans? She said the same thing when she visited in Sri Lanka in 2010, just one year after Sri Lanka defeated terrorism.
In Sri Lanka she met President Sirisena, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Governor of Northern Province Palihakkara (a former respected Foreign Secretary) Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran, went to the Jaffna library to make a donation, played elle with schoolgirls and posed for photographs. She also conducted sessions for the ‘youth’ groups in Sri Lanka. She did not forget to give us a lecture on our suffering for 30 long years! She ate hoppers with Sri Lankan ministers and tweeted them. (A former diplomat based in the US told The Island her public diplomacy failed because she was just acting. It was clearly visible.) She visited the Jaffna-based Uthayan newspaper, which was attacked several times and praised its courage. No one has the right to attack anyone in Sri Lanka, media or any other institutions. No one should go unpunished. However, what she failed to tweet was that the newspaper is owned by a politician representing the TNA, which has acted as the LTTE’s mouthpiece and recognized the terrorist outfit as the sole representative of the Tamil speaking people. She also said free press was the guardian of democracy and human rights. How come she did not want to meet veteran Tamil United Liberation Front leader, Veerasingham Anandasangaree, who had the courage to stand up to terrorism even at the risk of his life and limb.
Is Power capable of specifying what she wants. How could she ask any other government in the world to be accountable when the US is blamed the world over for atrocities against countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Did Power tell the United Nations that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq? What is her take on Tony Blair and his recent ‘apology’ after all the destruction and mayhem overseas? Why is Blair still trying to play a role in the Middle East process?
The new US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap is a seasoned diplomat with a smiling face. He has worked very closely with Robert Blake, who tried to interfere with the affairs of Sri Lanka at a later stage. He surely was a good man at the beginning and I even did his first ever interview in Sri Lanka for Rupavahini. What’s up Uncle Sam’s sleeve? What are the power games the US is playing in Sri Lanka, unbeknownst to India and China? Is President Maithripala Sirisena fully briefed on the situation? ...