Monday, August 28, 2006

first-world hypocrisy

A comment by Michael Holding in an article dated today caught my eye: "When bombs go off in Karachi and Colombo everyone wants to go home. When bombs go off in London, no one says anything. That is first-world hypocrisy and we have to live with it."

The latest example of this was the South African team two weeks ago. They were on tour in Sri Lanka when a bomb exploded in Colombo on 14 August. They refused to continue their tour, inspite of the fact no cricketer or cricket team has ever been targeted by the LTTE, and being assured the highest levels of security by the Sri Lanka Government. And though the Indian and Sri Lankan cricket teams were willing to stay and play, South Africa returned home. It was not safe, they said.

One week later, the ball-tampering / match-forfeit controversy erupted in London, and it looked like Pakistan may withdraw from their tour of England. The England & Wales Cricket Board was desperately looking for a backup option, and the South African team was suggested.

Now keep in mind the wider security situation in England that week. This was the week every newspaper headline in the country was about a foiled terror plot to cause "mass murder on an unimaginable scale.". Every air-passenger in the country was being checked for liquid explosives and detonators, no hand-baggage was being allowed on any flight. At the beginning of the week, the Government had announced the terror threat level in the country as "Critical - an attack is expected imminently".

So what did the South African coach Mickey Arthur have to say about the idea of going to play cricket in England? Did he express any concerns about security? Or did he say "We would be delighted to go, we'd jump at the chance."