I record here a pleasant trip to Wasagamuwa before Felix left, and also the first visit of Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe to Vavuniya. But I also mention here the dismissal of Dayan Jayatilleka from Geneva, an utterly silly step since anyone who was thinking would have realized the West would not give up and we should not dismantle our defences. But the President, in Egypt for a Non-Aligned meeting with the sycophantic Foreign Ministry personnel who loathed Dayan and his abilities, gave in to pressure and no one in authority spoke up on his behalf.

The pictures are of the book I mention, and Dayan Jayatilleka, the best match in Geneva for Miliband’s machinations, and of the four generals who played musical chairs at this time.

26. Last journeys while at SCOPP

After meeting the still positive police, I set off with Felix for Aluwihare, hearing en route the changes government was making with regard to the army, Jagath being appointed Commander while Sarath Fonseka was promoted to being Chief of Defence Staff, a position with no powers. Chandrasiri, who had been Army Chief of Staff, was made Governor of the Northern Province and though Sarath later claimed this was not proper Chandrasiri threw himself into the work and achieved much, and could have achieved more had he been allowed a free hand.

We had dinner with Ena that night and then left after breakfast for Wasgamuwa, to stay at the Kadurupitiya Bungalow in the park, just Ena and Felix and me and the security contingent as well as Kithsiri and my other driver Ajith. We saw over 20 elephants that afternoon, and the next day much enjoyed sunrise over a heronry and sunset too. But we had to leave the next day, Monday, to get to Alu for breakfast and then a Prize Giving at Kurunagala I had promised to attend. It was at one of the schools run by Newton Peiris who had published several of my books through his International Book House, and he gave me now copies of The Best of British Bluff, a collection of essays by Kath and me which we had put together with a splendid cover for which Felix had found a picture of David Miliband looking particularly idiotic.

On the Wednesday, the Minister having finally decided to get up to Vavuniya, we went in a helicopter to Manik Farm and after touring one of the Zones we went in an armoured personnel carrier to a Rehabilitation Centre. Accompanying us was the new Commandant at Vavuniya, General Kamal Guneratne, who had led one of the Task Forces that destroyed the LTTE. He was large and looked terrifying but I found him actually very kind and helpful with regard to our work.

After a meeting a the kachcheri we flew back to Colombo, where I hosted at home a dinner for Amin Awad, who had been extremely helpful. It was the next day, Thursday July 23rd, that I had a call from Dayan about his summary dismissal. I tried to get through to Lalith to register my worries about this, but I could not get through and I rather suspect I could have achieved nothing given the forces ranged against him.

That Friday I went up to Kandy in time for drinks and dinner with Derrick, sending Felix to see the sights there the next day while I wrote. And the next day Felix went to the Botanical Gardens after breakfast while I began an article the People’s Bank had wanted, and then after lunch we went up through Nuwara Eliya to the cottage. But early on Monday we had to get back to Colombo for my last week at SCOPP.