Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jim Luce - In Sri Lanka: A U.S. Congressman Gets It

Colombo, Sri Lanka (Huffington Post). At a press conference at the Colombo Hilton this morning, North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler was flanked by the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Washington and the Sri Lanka Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The American Congressman stated boldly, "I would like to congratulate the government of Sri Lanka in their victory over terrorism. We are seeing peace today for the first time in 26 years".

I could not have been more elated. It was the first time I have heard an American elected official seem to understand what has transpired here in Sri Lanka. As the only American journalist in the room, I was unsure if those gathered grasped the significance of his statement.

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya, whom I interviewed last week from New York, and Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona, looked as if they understood this was an important moment.

"The situation here on the ground in Sri Lanka is much different than has been reported in the U.S.," Congressman Shuler said.

"I have had open access to the government and the camps for internally displaced people, and commend the government for allowing me to come into this country and to see what I needed to see.

Interviewing Congressman Shuler for The Huffington Post.

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