Sri Lanka: Futile Diplomacy of Foreign Ministry

Our request is loud and clear, Mr Minister and the team; please change your attitude and try to live in the present. If you are not able to do the job assigned to you, hand it over to someone who can do it and leave. 

Editorial

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo has responded by paying extraordinary attention to a series of comments made by an individual who is, according to her own description, a human rights activist. It is a limping response that has no meaning and should not be done at all. The particular individual once served as a commissioner of the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission. She has the right to express her opinion and to express it freely. Sri Lanka, unlike many other so-called guardians of democracy, is a paradise where anyone can utter anything they wish. See how our folks handle social media tools; nothing but complete rubbish. Especially when an individual works for a non-governmental organization, s/he should do his best to satisfy the funders.  But the people of this country owe a much heavier national task from the Ministry of External Affairs.

An attempt by an individual to please the parties who are financing her with a very carefully selected set of words is an innocent exercise, especially in a time of foreign currency deficit. But the national responsibility of a country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a completely different and complicated process.  Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must have a clear understanding of how to respond and who to respond to. But, by looking at the manner they are not performing duties, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is a professor of law, nor his staffs have this basic understanding. 

The ministry took the opportunity to expose its stupidity when Afghanistan was regained by the Taliban terrorists. But, the ministry buried its head in sand when Scotland Yard announced the ending of its training programmes for the Sri Lankan police.  At least the significant improvements that have taken place in the Sri Lankan Police in the recent past should have been documented and made public. Unfortunately, the Ministry has no proactive plans to deal with anything vital for the country. Most of those who claim to be diplomats totally depending on the taxpayers’ money of the country do not fulfil their responsibilities commensurate with their salaries except giving priority to their personal comforts.

Like many other government agencies in Sri Lanka, the Ministry of External Affairs is an institution full of opportunists and political henchmen who squander public assets. Although the country and the nation are in shambles, for most of them only their prosperous lives are important. Isn’t it a smokescreen to hope that such gangs of procrastinators have an understanding of national responsibility? Their lame and futile response to an individual proves the magnitude of the deterioration of our diplomatic head. 

There is no proactive mechanism in the Ministry to demonstrate the commitment of our nation despite the ad-hoc based reactions to selected events and individuals. Take the profound achievement during the war on terror that ended in 2009. We as the small nation with minimum capabilities have rescued nearly three hundred thousand unarmed civilians brutally used as the human shield by the LTTE. But the most advanced military in the world deliberately killed the same amount of innocents in just two days to end the so-called World War II. At the end of the day, our folks are named war criminals but they have been crowned as the guardians of human rights.

As a small nation that fought for her survival, we must speak this truth. That is where the role of our diplomatic community lies. If ministry officials have the right understanding of diplomacy, there is no need to send half-cooked responses to individuals who are thirsty for cheap popularity. Our request is loud and clear, Mr Minister and the team; please change your attitude and try to live in the present. If you are not able to do the job assigned to you, hand it over to someone who can do it and leave.

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