Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Barely able to watch the Cricket World Cup...

On March 18, just as the Cricket World Cup was bedding in, Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach, died. I had just sat myself down in front of the cricket on telly after a lovely afternoon with friends when Mark looked over at me from the kitchen sink and said, "Did you know? Bob Woolmer is dead."

I stared at him, uncomprehending. "WHAT?" "Bob Woolmer is dead," he repeated. I must have still looked like a gormless foreign teenager who had spent two hours, tops, at any of the schools of English in the city, because he said it *again*.

Stunned, I think I asked how. At that point, the prevailing wisdom was that it was a tragic death due to natural causes such as a heart attack or a diabetic coma. My heart went out to his family and all those who knew him - he seemed like such a lovely man, with such a passion for the game. When I read that blood and vomit had been found at the scene, my heart sank. I knew he'd been murdered.

That was confirmed on Friday, when the autopsy results were revealed. When Chris B. popped by the library, he told me that his Indian friend who runs the corner shop had said to him early last week, "He has been murdered and there's a lot more to come out." Apparently, Pakistan television had announced that Bob Woolmer had been murdered and an arrest had been made on TUESDAY, days before the autopsy results were available. Things that make you go hmmmm.

I've barely been able to watch the cricket since.

But I haven't missed all the coverage and speculation in the press...and some journalists, such as Mark Marqusee in the Guardian, are claiming 'stereotyping' of the Pakistani team and 'hysterical' reactions in the press.

Political correctness irimtates me no end - especially the "we can't say this b/c they're not white" crap rampant in the press. Had the coach of a white team been murdered, the team would have been under the microscope and no one would have turned a hair. (No Darryl jokes, please) If you'd say it about a white team, you can say it about a black or brown team - not doing so is just another form of condescension and racism.

reaction isn't 'hysterical' - Pakistani cricketers - and Pakistani men in general, really - *are* temperamental and refuse to take responsibility for their actions, because *no one ever holds them accountable*.

As the Daily Telegraph says,

"The impression is that many of the players, like the male-dominated society they come from, are a law unto themselves with allegiance only to Islam and their family. That could be why democracy has failed in Pakistan and the reason military dictatorships seem to be the only effective form of government."

In my experience, that is the truth - except that they hold to Islam b/c it justifies their male-dominated, tribal society, and as for allegiance to their families - well, there have been enough bride burnings and 'family honour' murders and acquittals when a sister was raped or married out of her own choice to show a very...unique sense of family allegiance. So really, Pakistani men's only allegiance is to themselves and eachother - as long as you're from the same tribe.

So let's look at the facts. Have Pakistani cricketers tampered with the ball more than most? Yes. Have they been involved in match-fixing? Yes. Taken drugs? Yes. Have they refused to accept responsibility for how they play and/or behave? Yes. There is evidence for *all of these*. Hence, no one is stereotyping, they're basing their comments on past experience and evidence.

Let's call a spade a spade and not give in to 'political correctness'. Bob Woolmer, God rest his soul, most likely opened the door to his killer. Thus, he must have known and trusted him. That puts the team, whatever its nationality, firmly in the frame.

And let's not forget that Pakistan Television (PTV) reported Woolmer's death as a murder on Tuesday, 20 March. Before the autopsy results were out. So somebody over there knows something.

My cousins in Pakistan are probably wondering out loud if the team had anything to do with it. They won't be offended by the thought; they're considering it as a very real possibility. If *they* can, why not the international press?

If Pakistanis don't have a problem considering the team members as possible suspects and match-fixing as a motive, neither should anyone else.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I share your opinion of political correctness taken to extreme. And I share in your shock and grief over Woolmer's death.