There are two kinds of domesticated elephants those used to pull heavy loads or kota adina ali and those maintained at a huge cost to be paraded in processions or perahere yana ali. And kota adina ali never get either caparisoned or fairly treated. This is also true of bipeds toiling away in various spheres of activity.
Our comment today is about a load-pulling diplomatic jumbo in Geneva. Dayan Jayatilleka is his name. He has been recalled suddenly in spite of an extension granted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself till May next year. No reasons have been given for the government decision.
But, there is reason to believe that the government has been swayed by either Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, who is not well disposed towards Dayan or some members of the international community like Israel, which has taken exception to Dayan`s views boldly expressed from Geneva. (However, the government managed to assuage Israel`s concerns a few months ago and there have been no anti-Israel invective from the Sri Lankan mission in Geneva ever since.)
Dayan may not be a diplomatic role model. He is said to lack diplomatic finesse. Yes, he is not well versed in diplomatic double-speak. His weakness is that he more often than not lets his intellectual prowess get the better of the diplomat that he is required to be and calls a spade a spade. Diplomats are those, it is said, who tell others to go to hell in such a way that they will really look forward to the trip. But, Dayan does not put too fine a point on such commands in directing hoity-toity meddlesome foreigners to hell where they really belong. Dayan`s style has come to be dubbed `megaphone diplomacy`.
However, the fact remains that Dayan was posted to Geneva to do a job for this country and he has done it in style. Neo-colonial powers, having laid `siege` to Sri Lanka, were all out to scuttle her war on terror when Dayan was sent to that diplomatic outpost to hold those sinister forces at bay. When the going gets tough, it is said, the tough get going. So, naturally, Dayan got going in Geneva and facilitated this country`s successful military campaign to eliminate terrorism. His performance a few weeks ago at the UNHRC special session in Geneva, where an attempt was made to press war crime charges against Sri Lanka, was sterling. He was instrumental in helping her turn the tables on western powers smarting from their failure to save Prabhakaran and his killers. Dayan the diplomat has always defended the national interest with the tenacity of a bulldog.
If Dayan has been recalled because of his aggressive diplomacy as speculated in some quarters, then the government finds itself in a glaring contradiction. For, the reason it gave for removing Mangala Samaraweera as Foreign Minister was that he was not backing the national cause aggressively. In other words, Mangala was stripped of the Foreign Ministry for not going all out to defend the country and Dayan has been fired for backing the country to the hilt!
It is also said that the government may not have taken kindly to Dayan`s stand on the 13th Amendment as spelt out in his newspaper articles at a time it is blowing hot and cold on devolution and resorting to dilatory tactics. Dayan could not have been fired because of his views on the 13th Amendment as President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself has been talking of `13 Amendment Plus`. And there are many ministers in the Rajapaksa government promoting devolution in keeping with the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord. So, why should only Dayan be penalised?
The removal of Dayan has, in our book, the trappings of the outcome of a witch hunt. He and Minister Bogollagama are at daggers drawn as the former has upstaged the latter. It may be that the foreign minister does not want to be eclipsed by an ambassador.
It may be argued that since the LTTE is a thing of the past, President Rajapaksa and a cabal of hangers on are of the view that they could now run the show without being overshadowed by those who were instrumental in defeating terrorism. Dayan has also become the target of some hyenas trailing brave lions and looking for easy prey to keep themselves going. If they think the country is free from threats and it is plain sailing for the mediocre, they are sadly mistaken. Sri Lanka needs Argus-eyed capable men of Dayan`s calibre to defend her for long years to come.
President Rajapaksa should reconsider his ill-advised decision to recall Dayan. If he is looking for some diplomats to axe, there is the whole caboodle of wooly-headed woozy political appointees in need of geriatric care warming their seats in Sri Lankan missions abroad at our expense. Why guillotine brilliant patriots who have done the country proud?