Fraternity amidst distress
There were many
positives that emerged from Tuesday's Lahore horror chief of
which is the strident outcry by the civilised world on the need
to stamp out international terrorism. Obviously this
unprecedented attack on a national sports team have spurred such
a response which is bound to snowball in the coming days which
world leaders would be hard pressed to ignore.
Especially in the wake of a genuine fear that this attack
would set the tone for similar attacks on sports contingents
which hitherto were spared by terror outfits in their deadly
No doubt many lessons would have been learnt by this attack
pertaining to security, particularly the fact that terrorists no
longer pick and chose their targets in their anarchial projects,
which would make countries more wary and on their guard when
hosting international sporting events.
For that matter all international events such as summits and
multi-lateral forums would see unprecedented security in the
host country putting the world on heightened awareness for
terrorists attacks. If these lessons are learnt and counter
measures taken and more important a concerted efforts made
collectively to rid the world of the terrorist menace, then some
consolation could be extracted from the horrendous events of
What also emerged out of the attack was a spirit of
fraternity and shared sentiment at the unprecedented happening.
Today we carry in our opposite page several letters by Pakistani
nationals expressing genuine regret and commiseration with our
cricketers on their harrowing ordeal. Such outpouring of
sentiment no doubt can only be reserved for sportsmen that gave
vent to this fraternal feeling. All Sri Lankans no doubt would
accept these sentiments in the right spirit even amidst the pain
over the ordeal endured by their cricketing heroes.
Full credit is due to Mahela and his boys for standing tall
amidst the chaos and taking things as they would, on the half
volley. All Lankans are proud of their conduct. They never once
blamed their hosts for their predicament but had only words of
praise and appreciation for the prompt attention received amidst
the tumult. The overwhelming emotions of Pakistani fans may
certainly have sprung out of gratitude towards the Lankan
players who took the challenge to tour their country which had
been a no go zone for sporting events.
The gallant Lankans no doubt repaid their debt by making the
tour as a mark of gratitude to the earlier visit made by
Pakistan(and India) when we were similarly ostracised by
international teams. It is this type of camaraderie that go a
long way in cementing ties with our regional neighbours much
more effectively than a political summit could achieve.
There were also eeri parallels making Tuesday's incident more
significant in many ways. Five Pakistani policemen were killed
trying to protect our cricketers during the Lahore attack. One
recalls the LTTE suicide attack carried out in Colombo targeting
the convoy of the Pakistani High Commissioner to Sri Lanka
Basheer Wali Mohammed. Five Sri Lankans Commandos died in this
attack in August 2006. The Pakistani Government while condemning
the attack paid tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their
lives and specially condoled with the bereaved families.
The Government no doubt would take cognizance of this fact
and respond in kind to the families of the slain Pakistani
policemen. Special tribute is also due to the driver of the
coach transporting the team who drove the vehicle into the
Gaddafi stadium amid continuing gun fire which act saved the
lives of our cricketers. This fact has been attributed to by the
Sri Lanka as a country which had borne the brunt of terrorism
for over three decades could certainly empathise with the plight
of Pakistan. The country should be given all support and
assistance to emerge out of this situation. It is in this light
that one should condemn the many TV spotlights attempting to
demonise Pakistan. Sri Lanka too was one time a victim of this
ostracisation by countries, which affected our country's economy
and damaged its good name.
Those baying for Pakistan's blood should instead strive to
help that country out of its present predicament. These elements
who are using Tuesday's attack to drive knife into an already
battered and bruised nation should take a leaf out Sri Lanka
which has conducted itself with equanimity towards a friendly
neighbour despite being at the receiving end of a dastardly
terror attack on its soil.
Such name calling certainly would not auger well for regional
cooperation that is often the by word at international summits.
Besides this can only antagonise Pakistan and place road blocks
in the campaign to defeat terrorism. As for the Lankan
cricketers they have to regroup and banish the incident as a bad
dream. The world has to move on and harbouring fears and
misgivings can only induce negativity. The nightmare experience
no doubt is bound to haunt many of our players. The sooner they
shake off the effect the better it would be for Sri Lanka's
cricket and the country as a whole.