Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Shocking attacks in Lahore

The attack on the Lankan cricket team members in Lahore must be the most shocking attack on sportspersons since the Munich incidents in 1972 when Israeli sportspersons were kidnapped and murdered by terrorists. What makes this incident even more gruesome is the fact that the brave Lankan team embarked upon the test tour of Pakistan as a replacement for the Indians and atleast this cricket crazy fan liked their decision, driven by the desire to watch Ajantha Mendis bowl in another meaningful test series. Sadly, the dastardly attack has resulted in the tour being cancelled and has put a permanent question mark over test cricket in Pakistan itself.

Samaraweera, the unassuming under-the-radar performer was hurt and hospitalised; Ajantha Mendis, the up and coming spinning maestro was hit by sharpnel; articulate and intelligent Kumar Sangakkara was hurt with sharpnel on his shoulder; and young debutant Tharanga Paranavitana was also hurt. So were some others from the coaching staff, from initial reports. Mahela Jayawardane and his cricket team members' band play the game with the "Surangani" spirit. They are among the most well behaved, level headed cricketers on the circuit today. It is so unfortunate that these solid performers (or for that matter any sportsman) could be targetted at all.

I find it difficult even to try to find a motive behind this. I feel that even a thought about the motives would dignify this act by the crazy bunch of monsters who carried this attack out. No one in frame of mind would want to scare away sportspersons. Such has become the order of the day in Pakistan.

From the multiple bomb attacks on Benazir Bhutto and her eventual assassination to the Marriott attacks, to the growing might of the Taliban-Pakistan-version in the west to the Mumbai attacks to this, the degradation of Pakistan's society has descended into a hastening spiral. I feel for all those liberal and modern voices in Pakistan who would want to break away from their country's shattering and shameful past since independence.

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