The Sunday Leader

Sirisena The Diplomat

Diplomacy has not been the forte of President Maithripala Sirisena who is essentially of a rural background and is still a humble politician expressing his thoughts and views, usually in his mother tongue, sans the highfalutin gobbledygook that usually goes with those aspiring or posing off as diplomats.

Yet viewing his achievements during the past one year and nine months in office Sirisena has achieved much for his country and for himself in the field of diplomacy as no other politician in recent times.

When Maithripala Sirisena became the President of Sri Lanka the greatest problem facing this country was that it was at the critical point of being categorised as a pariah state by a great many countries.

A pariah state is usually defined in diplomacy as a nation considered to be an outcast in the international community and could face sanctions by nations that find its policies, actions or even its existence unacceptable.

At Geneva United Nations Council for Human Rights powerful Western nations, India included, had adopted resolutions against Sri Lanka for violation of human rights and even considering levelling charges of war crimes.

Was Sri Lanka really guilty of such crimes which the leaders at that time denied vehemently but to deaf ears in the outside world? How is it that within a short period of time President Sirisena – with a key role played by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – able to turn around these hostile nations to be extremely good friends of Sri Lanka?

The answer is just one Word: ‘Diplomacy’ which his critics in the so called Joint Opposition do not seem to know its meaning.

Diplomacy to his critics like Mahinda Rajapaksa, Dulles Alahapperuma, Dinesh Gunawardena meant abusing Western nations, their leaders and officials whether they agreed with Sri Lanka’s critics or not. They are still living in a universe long gone where anyone linked to a ‘capitalist’, supporting a free economy or did not agree with their revolutionary long extinct doctrines, had to be insulted.

It was revolutionary to do so as their predecessors did at another age, and another time when the world was different.

Sri Lanka under the Rajapaksa regime adopted ’pariah’ principles -principles that made this country and its people outcasts. They had forgotten that Sri Lanka was a signatory to documents such as the United Nations Charter, the Fundamental Declaration of Human Rights and other documents safeguarding human rights the world over and that Sri Lanka was bound by these international laws to abide with them.

Some try to throw the ball back. What the hell have they been doing for centuries and even today? What of Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen? The bloody hypocrites are preaching to us. How dare they!

Most of it is true but it is extremely naïve. If one country is violating human rights in Syria and Iraq, do we have the right to violate the rights of our own people and tell the United nations to go to hell?

While the egalitarian principle that all people are born with equal rights and privileges in this world – even the animal world – the principle that might is right prevails.

What those likes of Alahapperumas, who are attempting to lecture President Sirisena on human rights and allied subjects, should realise is that there is a way to work through between the principles of egalitarianism and the power of the mighty: Diplomacy.

We are journalists and not diplomats but we are told that it is a combination of varied talents. Some people have that innate talent. Others don’t. Still some others follow the advice of wise men. It is much more benefit to listen in silence to the suggestions and proposals of representatives of powerful nations who we may not relish than get lecturers of undergraduates to lambaste them for intellectual delight. The advice of Sun Tzu, the Chinese strategist about ‘the best of victories being those that are not fought’ is invaluable in every walk of life.

Sirisena’s diplomacy was observed in local politics too when he with Wickremesinghe brought together two diametrically opposed political parties together to form a government which is still holding and holds the promise of going its full term.

The man dressed in a plain white like a ‘Upasakaya’ at a temple has been welcomed in citadels of power by the high and mighty leaders of the world such as at the G-10 Summit and last week at the United Nations and White House. Leaders did not stint on their appreciation of his contributions.

No doubt his critics who had brought Sri Lanka to the brink of disaster will say that he has been taken for a ride. Time will tell.

4 Comments for “Sirisena The Diplomat”

  1. gamarala

    “Time will tell”… that time, Sri Lanka would have descended into ‘hell’, but only poor citizens will suffer.

    • King

      Indeed time will tell and if it fails to ascend, yes we will change the regime by way of ballot… and not give into scrupulous thuggery. .

  2. Malin

    Why not write an Editorial of the newly elected Phillipines President who has declared war against drug traffickers and western Hypocrisy?

  3. aggydaaggy

    “Time will tell”…..That he is a DiploMut……….

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