Who wrote this caption?
(It says"With screwdriver ,Clinton shows what he 's good at".Feb 22nd. 2005 The Island)
This weekend President Bill Clinton will be arriving in Sri Lanka for Tsunami related aid work.This is his second visit. Hope it is not the last.During his presidency US saw the biggest economic boom in history.His domestic and foriegn policies made him a lot of friends and foes.He is passionately loved and passionately hated .He is considered the first "black president" because of his popularity among african-americans.John Kerry's campagin had to drag this guy who was recovering form a heart surgery to african -american churchs at the last minute .I have seen many Sri Lankan politicians speak (unforunately not the generation of SWRD,Dudley,N.M or Colvin) but I have to say President Clinton is one of the best damn public speakers I have heard.Check the transcript of the speach in 2004 Democartic national convention.You have to watch the video to see the crowd reaction and the full impact of the speach. (Barak Obama had a great speach ,too.On a related note ,9/11 tribute was led by a Sri Lankan -American ,a Muslim .One Mrs.Sally who lost her daughter )
Come to think of it, His closest parallel in Sri Lankan politics is president Premadasa ,who came from a non-privileged background .He had to fight privileged clans in his own party as well as the outsiders.Had to take a different or centrist positions against their main party lines.Faced an impeachement and survived.To top it all, Both men had spouses who were very much public figures, loved and hated passionately.(Anybody remember Hema Premadasa singing "Bakthi Gee" in ITN or Rupavahini?).Also both men had their sexual life made public .(During 90-94, gossip columns of Ravaya ,Aththa and Yukthiya carried stories about President and the female singer he was supposed to be sleeping with .That's what prompted first lady to sing "Bakthi gee" on TV as a one-upmanship according them).President Premadasa loved his Sucharitha office in Kehelwatta.President Clinton choose Harlem for his office .
2008.It's like having our own ambassador in whitehouse ! People , not so long ago nobody knew where Sri Lanka was!
So what do we do with this incredible opportunity?Last time he was here,our president's brother acted like a teenager by asking for autograpghs.Is he the guy who aspires to be the next President?Then JVP's Wimal Weerawansa avoided posing for photograpghs with him(actually it would be good for president Clinton not to pose with him.He will get hell from conservatives here .).The highlight of Sri Lankan welcome came from the great Sinhala nationalist watch dog "The Island "!
Was this the maturity we displayed just 5 weeks after a great tragedy?Is this the way to treat a stranger who came to help us?I hoped nobody outside would notice it.Guess what?They did!Jeff Greenwald is a freelance travel writer was in Sri Lanka to help out.His dipatches were carried in Salon.com ,too. Check his dispatches here.
I don't know diplomacy,at least this time ,please behave like adults.