Tamara, take a hike to Cuba
| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(May 08 2012, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) No diplomat has ever ranted and raved so much and given more interviews to sycophantic websites and newspapers than Tamara Kunanayakam, the saboteur of the UNHRC sessions in March this year. President Rajapaksa did her a huge favour way beyond what she deserved in her ad hoc appointment last September bypassing senior diplomats.
Please note this extract from a previous posting by this writer in Sri Lanka Guardian on Feb. 21 2012 under the headline, ‘Tamara can undo all the professor’s diplomacy at UNHRC’:
Ms Kunanaykam’s bold rebuttal to the UNSG sent to UNHRC President who hails from Uruguay, South America and the fact she served as ambassador for Cuba probably gave her the ammo to point her finger at the UNHRC President since she truly believes she is on par with Ms Lassere as can be seen in the following missive. It marks her as a very brash and a person lacking diplomacy for a diplomatic posting. She must be eating her own words now that the government had admitted wrongdoings albeit inadvertently and President Rajapaksa must be thinking twice before letting her set a foot into the sessions.
UNSG Ban Ki Moon is the highest authority in the UN and the UNHRC comes under his purview. But Ms Kunanayakam is warning the president of the UNHRC, the UNSG commissioned report could be prejudicial to the future effectiveness of the Council.
Undoubtedly Prof. G.L.Peiris is the President’s hatchet man but he does his job with aplomb which is what diplomats are meant to do. Besides, if Prof. Peiris as External Affairs Minister asks Ms Kunanayakam to cover South America’s few spots which lack Lankan representation she should do so with grace if at all she is interested in the nation’s welfare. When her one-time supporter Dayan Jayetilleka was sent a circular to explain some financial matters he promptly replied in a very dignified manner and abided by the request of the President to meet him in person. The matter ended there.
Does Ms Kunanayakam honestly believe that her presence as ambassador to the UNHRC would mitigate war crimes which have been proved beyond reasonable doubt were committed? Prof. Peiris is due to meet Mrs Hilary Clinton, a worthy counterpart, and if Ms Kunanayakam’s rude performance which embarrassed the country at the UNHRC is anything to go by she would botch this visit too.
So in the name of national interest she should depart for Cuba before the President withdraws this offer too. Tamara may have collected a few degrees but diplomacy is certainly not one of them. Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike was educated only up to Grade 8 but her grooming in an aristocratic household enabled her to win friends among international leaders and earn the reputation of being the world’s first female prime minister. .
(The writer is Asia Pacific Journalism Fellow at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, California and a print journalist for 22 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)