Dayan recalled

The decision of the Foreign Ministry to recall Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka has come as a surprise for we were under the impression that his contract had been extended till 31st May 2010. The news item which quoted a Foreign Ministry source, though not explicitly giving a reason has made reference to a statement made by the irrepressible Ambassador when he gave vent to his feelings over the cruel bombing of Gaza. The Gaza bombings were an overkill. Most unfortunately the Ambassador should not have said so as he as Ambassador cannot express his private views on matters such as that. No doubt it was a faux pas for we were quite dependent on Israeli support in our effort to vanquish the LTTE. The Israelis were understandably angry and they sent here their Ambassador in Delhi to lodge a strong protest. An apology would have been made to the Israelis and, I presumed, the matter sorted out with the help of the US. But instead we appear to have decided to punish the Ambassador!

It does seem that the Foreign Minister himself wanted Dayan removed. I presume that it may have been that Dayan had upstaged the Minister and this was not to be brooked. He may have even fallen foul of the Foreign Secretary. Despite his faults, there is no denying the fact that Dayan kept our flag flying at the worst of times - even his detractors would have to admit this. Yes, he may have been abrasive but considering the level of bullying by LTTE-influenced representatives of western countries, Dayan has stood up to them and exposed them in a fitting manner.

Dayan had to not only take on these parties who had been virtually hired by the LTTE lobbyists but also take on prejudiced, hostile women such as Navi Pillai, who wanted Sri Lanka condemned even though the Council had expressed itself differently on the mater.

Ambassador J had his work cut out for him and he has, despite his style, done our country proud. His recall is not acceptable. At the end of two years an officer becomes truly effective, for he or she gets a measure of the job, makes his contacts and is in a position to really deliver the goods.

This is why all countries keep their representative for a minimum of three years, some are kept on for a fourth year. So to bring back Dayan after two years is not in the interest of the country.

Dayan J is not the man he was two years ago. He has come a long way since he took it upon himself (in the face of silence from Colombo) to blast British Foreign Secretary David Miliband for his puerile and callous statement on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence.

Dayan has mellowed much since being called to order after his statement on Israel, (that was indeed ironical for Dayan J was named after Moshe Dayan, the famous Israeli General!)

Ambassador Jayatilleka has, indeed, mellowed and learnt on the job. I most sincerely hope that the Foreign Minister does not intend to replace him with a relative or a political crony, for our overseas missions are full of such untrained clueless jokers representing the country at various levels—this is without doubt a crime against the people of this country.

Most unfortunately, our watchdogs in Parliament have been engaged in navel-gazing and letting the Foreign Minister and his cronies get away with what amounts to crime.

As for Dayan, he would be able to list his achievements on this country’s behalf, but I would challenge any other political appointee to make public a report on his or her performance. Some of our diplomats seem to think that ‘looking after’ Sri Lankan domestic workers is their prime responsibility! What more could we expect of these clueless diplomuts?

K. Godage
Former Ambassador

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