POLITICAL SKETCHBOOK                  by Rajpal Abeynayaka  

From Bandung to Cancun
Never mind what he in fact said in the United Nations about Iraq, Ranil Wickremesinghe has had to face the shock and awe of the fallout. That is a pity. Ranil Wickremesinghe was only being a ventriloquist's subject.

His next line was in fact going to be "if George Bush makes a beckoning noise with his thumb and index fingers and says come here, we will go and sit before him without asking questions.'' But at this point the subject thought the better of the ventriloquist. He said his own thing about "some of us thought the US had no choice other than invade Iraq'.

Which of course, leaves us guessing now. Who is better, the subject or the ventriloquist? Fascinating, even though I may have invented that whole thing about the ventriloquist….

Wickremesinghe almost gave new meaning to the term "we are more British than the British.'' Or we are more American than American. An irrepressible post-independence type quipped that those were the days of Bandung booruva, when John Kotelawala went to an obscure town called Bandung in Indonesia and cheered for the American camp when the whole rage of the day was non-alignment.

Kotelawala found it difficult since then to live down the unkind epithet "Bandung booruwa.'' But says my friend, he thought he'd never live to see the day we Lankans graduate from Bandung booruwa to Cancun coodella. Clinging like a leech we are, he says, to whiter than white (and cringing and flailing) American limbs.

Anyway, it was Wickremesinghe who mouthed the words, "some of us are of the view that the US has to play policeman when the UN had not taken the initiative.'' George. W. Bush has said that the gathered leaders at the World Assembly had the "enthusiasm of a wax museum.'' Was he talking of Moragoda, who was pure wax, judging from the television footage, while his Prime Minister waxed eloquent?
Now, Moragoda is a man we are not uninitiated about. He called for the United States to be the hegemon.

He echoed Huntington, with a roar that was even louder than Huntington's. Even if our country has not been granted most favoured nation status yet by the Americans, it seemed that from that point onward, Moragoda was granted most favoured gentleman status by the US.

But we see now more of cricket than orchestra here. This is like the exit of the top players in a team. The top order is out -- Blair is out, Bush is out, they have all tried to defend the Gulf War, which they tried to justify in terms of looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction (..which of course as your two year old would be able to tell you now, were never there.) Blair the other day on television seemed less articulate than a Sri Lankan cricket commentator, which is to say much about his sudden inability to use his Queen's English to argue his predicament. He hemmed and he hawed, and he not only looked like a harried bus conductor on a London double decker that day, he even sounded like one.

He said you might or might not agree with me, but asked for "some measure of understanding.'' Bush sounded like he is coming out of a coma, as they showed him on CNN. To think that's the top order. But then, when the top order fails, there can always be a team's rear guard. Moragoda, Wickremesinghe and Co.

They wear suits that are darker and nattier, they wear hair that is more blow dried (those of them that have hair that is) and at least now, they seem to wield that language of Blair's queen, less like Sri Lankan cricket commentators. They think they can save the team, as Ranil says "with a six in the last ball.'' My question is, assuming that they do then, will they be allowed to sit with the Captain and the Vice Captain at the same table later in the day when the team dines in the pavilion?

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