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|Violence and Sport; an Unlikely Combination|
|Pitched By Cricket360 Editor|
|Monday, 16 March 2009|
Mostly when you say violence in sports, you think of boxing, perhaps the only sport wherein your aim is to actually injure and lay low your opponent, preferably knock him out with some attendant bloodshed. Now however, post the 3 March Lahore attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team, violence in sport has come to have a more ominous meaning; it has come to mean violence in international cricket. Never before have cricketers or cricket been targeted.
Was British author George Orwell correct when he said, “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules, and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting?” Cricket players and fans tend to flatter themselves that cricket is a gentleman’s game, and does not lend itself to violent pursuits, it engages in technical excellence and lofty ideals such as fair-play and the sporting spirit.
The bewildering and horrifying attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team made cricket news headlines the world over and had a precedent perhaps only in the attack on Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympic by the Palestinian Black September group. The aim and objective of that attack was clear and the animosity between the Israelis and the Palestinians is still unresolved.
As one Pakistani analyst pointed out, none of the visiting cricketers were killed, and only Pakistani security officers died in the attack. Hence the attack was not seen as a direct attempt on the lives of the visiting cricketers but more of an effort by armed groups to assert themselves after the Pakistani Government had joined with Washington to fight the so-called war on terror. This does seem to be the most plausible explanation. What is generally inferred from the attacks is that the militants had nothing against the players. They had everything against Pakistan’s security, and they showed they could easily undermine it.
So then perhaps it was not so much an attack on cricket or cricket players just on a high profile, soft target used to make a point. It could as well have been a visiting artist, or a music troupe or a visiting team of another sporting discipline. Cricket was the best bet because it is the most beloved sport of Pakistan, the most visible and ensuring the greatest publicity and reaction in terms of fall out.
The gunmen and more particularly their handlers who remote controlled them into acting thus knew that when they attacked cricket, they were sending out a powerful message; would inflict the maximum impact of the pride and the psyche of the Pak authorities as well as the citizens!
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