Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lets try again

Q commented on my post linking to my post over at Different Strokes below. I'm responding to him here. These are my final thoughts on the subject. The floor is open for further discussion amongst youse all :)

Q: Firstly, I imagine CA would make those decisions for the same reasons that someone might approve a visit by a low level official in the State Department to Pakistan, and not a visit by the President. The latter is a high-profile target. The former is not. The risk assessment for the two will be different.

Secondly, I've stopped believing in the mantra, "if India can visit Pakistan, anyone can". The BCCI has its reasons for supporting the PCB. You know what they are. Why does everyone see BCCI machinations everywhere, but not in this regard?

The 1998 marker is a red herring. Australia was scheduled to tour Pakistan in 2001-2002. We all know what happened in 2001.

As for why every other country has toured Pakistan and not Australia, my guess is that it is because the Players Association in Australia is stronger, more vocal, and perhaps because CA does way more advance planning (including listening to security experts).

The problem I see in this entire discussion is that one thesis, that the Australians are hypocrites is advanced, with no thought given to the possibility that they might have *any* good reasons for not wanting to tour. That is why I gave the example of the backpackers. They also make similar decisions. Why do people not accuse them of hypocrisy?

Yes, a bomb is a bomb is a bomb. But the context of the violence is important and threat perception is important. You tell me that everyone knows that the two countries are different and viewed differently. Then why shouldn't people make different decisions on whether they choose to visit the two countries or not?

Personally, I'm a little offended by a lot of the so-called "Pakistan supporters" amongst the Australians and Kiwis and English, who basically land up saying the following: "Look, its just another country with brown people where bombs go off. One just happens to have some fat cats giving out checks". Now, that is racist. But people don't see that. In the rush to support Pakistan, you and I (and our peeps) get lumped into some sort of monolithic entity.

Pakistanis understandably feel disappointed by the lack of international cricket in their country. But a complete refusal to even try and understand that folks might be apprehensive given the unrelentingly negative coverage of Pakistan (and the actual acts of violence that occur there) seems baffling to me.

I would not be offended if Australia said they were worried about playing in Delhi. I'm traveling to India this year with an American friend of mine. I told him about the blasts (he didn't know they had happened). If he had chosen to cancel his plans, I would not have been offended. I know more than him; I have family to visit; I'm used to this from my University days. All I know is, I would not have called him a coward (or a hypocrite because he had visited Turkey where random acts of violence have also occurred). I would have tried to persuade him. But I wouldn't have condemned him.

Lastly, plenty of folks on that comment thread went beyond disagreeing with my conclusions. I was accused of being anti-Islamic and racist. I sure as hell hope you didn't find that reaction understandable.


Blogger Q said...

That reaction Samir was totally uncalled for - people have no right to call you names just because of your article and I agree a lot of the reaction was inappropriate.

Mine was not on those lines at all.

I understand where you were coming from. And I agree with your whole analogy with the backpackers - they are not hypocrites.

But u need to understand my reasoning.

Again I can go on.

But I would just say that I find it hard to understand why a lesser player (A team, U19 team) is a lesser target than a senior player. Cricketer are not targets. Period.

Please visit Well Pitched and go on the link to the post by Sportsfreak - that is what is disturbing. False projections by the media.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Q: Thanks for the link. I saw UJ talking about it the other day. Always glad to see a sensationalist piece get nailed.

I noticed that another bomb went off in Delhi yesterday. Who knows, the Delhi test might get moved now.

Lastly, my attitude towards bombings and attacks is: the show must go on.

7:04 PM  

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