Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Chinese Ambassador

She'd normally do this kind of thing on her own
But fortunately I was back in Ghana visiting home
At the appointed time, we were scheduled to have dinner
And so off we went to meet the Chinese Ambassador

I didn't feel bound by the Chatham House rules, those we could surely ignore
For, indeed, neither I nor my mum were part of the diplomatic corps
The invitation was an opportunity for the Ambassador to meet and greet
And pick her brain, conversing in a setting that was quite intimate

The staff had done impeccable opposition research on my mother
But my very presence (improvised and unadvertised) was an X factor
That occasionally threw the Ambassador for a loop that was hard to measure
Like when I harrumphed, and made a point about the terms of my company's joint venture

Who was this Young Turk irreverently pointing out inconvenient truths
While quietly sipping his second glass of pineapple juice?
Who readily dug in to the more exotic fare, not your average dim sun
And mentioned the village of the chef of his favorite Chinatown restaurant

I'll admit, it was a lark, I was being provocative, it was indubitable
To see whether I could pierce the mask of the normally inscrutable
But there was a larger point, I suppose, we are a proud people
With a self confidence that can only abide being treated as equals

To his credit, the years of diplomatic training were so ingrained
That the Ambassador never came close to breaking the veil
He so deftly brought the conversation back onto his preferred topic
That I almost started to applaud his mastery of the arts diplomatic

The rest I'll leave to the mist of memory
Some details linger, the tea was legendary
The Ambassador's pragmatism about the fraught nature of the great game
And his respect for the small players who still beheld a culture of shame

The recognition of the ongoing perils of galamsey
Short term profiteering causing long term dismay
"But those kinds of things are private actions, not public policy, as you well know"
I couldn't resist the zinger: "It takes two to do the corruption tango"

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, that I must concede
This was very far from a symphony of deceit
An invitation to visit the motherland was duly extended to my mother
At the end of the evening, this lovely dinner with the Chinese Ambassador

Diplomacy means the art of nearly deceiving all your friends, but not quite deceiving all your enemies.

Kofi Abrefa Busia
hot summer by amos amit

The Chinese Ambassador, a playlist

A soundtrack for this embassy affair. We should all learn Chinese. (spotify version) ...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log: May 5, 2021

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