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Home > Tamil National Forum > Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha > Foggy Bottom
Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha
15 August 2009
If you don�t mind, I�d say that Eelam Tamils have a curse in their backs. That of, carrying the burden of post-event, post-dated mea culpa of foreign dignitaries, who were dimwitted when they held an opportunity to influence events. These mea culpa were delivered in memoirs, forewords (to books) and in interviews.
Today being Napoleon�s (1769-1821) 240th birthday, I�m reminded of his 116 days that elapsed between his escape from Elba to his final disaster at the Battle of Waterloo. If it took 116 days for Napoleon, think that it had taken mere 85 days for Foggy Bottom operative Mr. Robert Blake to realize his folly of anti-Tamil actions, while being stationed in Colombo for the past three years.
According to word maven William Safire, in the American political lexicon foggy bottom refers to US State Department as its �offices were built on land that had originally been called Foggy Bottom, and the name was reapplied because it recalled a fogginess of official language� (Safire�s Political Dictionary, 3rd ed, 1980, pp. 237-238).
In a typical foggy bottom phrasing, Mr. Robert Blake � the current US Assistant Secretary of State had observed in his interview to the Associated Press on August 10th, �The [Sri Lankan] government needs to find a way to move more quickly than January 2010. Because the risk, of course, is that people will become disaffected and that will give new impetus to terrorism.�
The highfalutin tone and deception of Mr. Blake�s diplomatese leaves much to be desired. If one translates the �foggy bottomese� (aka diplomatese) of Robert Blake into simple English, �people� = Eelam Tamils, and �new impetus to terrorism� = Prabhakaran�s dream of Eelam is still alive�. Reading between the lines, this can also be construed as a mea culpa of America�s high priest in Colombo for the past 3 years that he had underestimated Prabhakaran�s hold on Tamil psyche.
Below I provide verbatim mea culpa of two of Mr. Blake�s predecessors among foreign dignitaries. First it was Lord Soulbury in 1963, in his forward to Bertram H. Farmer�s aptly titled book Ceylon: A Divided Nation (1963); then it was J.N. Dixit in his memoirs Assignment Colombo (1998).
Lord Solbury�s mea culpa in 1963
J.N. Dixit�s mea culpa in 1998
The reflective candor of Lord Soulbury, J.N. Dixit and Robert Blake though appreciated, could hardly heal the pain of Eelam Tamils, as it is merely a micro quantum salve for the buckets of blood Tamils had to shed. The timidity of these high dignitaries deserves nothing but scorn, since a �cursory knowledge of the age-long antagonism� (Lord Soulbury�s phrase) between Sinhalese and Tamils has been the bane of these diplomat schmucks.