"Goodbye Mrs. Tau, You Made a Difference" (Outlook, July 28) by Sanford Ungar was meant to be complimentary to me, but regrettably there are some passages in the article that were not acceptable, and I regret that the article took that turn of phrase.
First, "I did not get where I am through political connections." I am an active and loyal member of the ruling Basotho National Party. I hold academic qualifications. I had 14 years of academic life with five years at professorial rank. Although I am a political appointee, I do not apologize for this because Lesotho, like many African countries, does not have a history of career diplomats.
"Lesotho is not the easiest . . . most desirable place to represent." I have represented Lesotho with great fervor with a firm conviction that for me it is the best country I could ever represent. Here I refer in particular to the country and my people who carry themselves with great dignity against many odds. I have had the full support of my government in my tenure as ambassador and have found it easy to represent Lesotho.
Reference to my prime minister as "a benign despot" is shattering to me and the principles for which I stand. Leabua Jonathan is a man of honor for whom I have the greatest respect, a man who has governed Lesotho through very difficult and trying times with the skill, intelligence and dignity.
This phrase is a reflection not only on him but on his Cabinet -- this to me creates a mockery of the praise I was given. I do not represent myself as a diplomat; I represent the Lesotho government as led by the prime minister; so praising me and not my leader is a contradiction I cannot accept.
"Lesotho is a nation in name only." Lesotho is a country like any other country. Why praise an ambassador who does not represent anybody but herself?
I never gave the impression that I was representing a rich country. But I will be quick to mention that the Lesotho government has adequately provided for the needs of its embassy. We have never had to use facilities outside our office for lack of funds.
There was yet another unfortunate reference to my colleagues, the African ambassadors here in Washington. This reference has left me with a hollow feeling because:
I do not have a right to appoint ambassadors in my own country and would be presumptuous to cast doubts on the selections of other governments.
I mentioned earlier that our office and personal needs are adequately provided for, but at times like these where would the funds come from for ambassadors to soak in liquor?
By the time Mr. Ungar interviewed me for his book -- I tried very hard to resist -- he had already interviewed a number of ambassadors who had been recommended to him by somebody else.
It is indeed unfortunate that a career I spent five years and four months to build was shattered in one day. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.