Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Cricket fan's nightmare

For a Pakistani seeing images of gunman firing at cricket players in a bus is one of the saddest sights ever. Cricket is a more than a national pastime for my people. Its something that binds us all together, and is in fact an obsession. Pakistani treat cricketers from all over the world like royalty, amazed at the talent, aggression and intelligence they show on the field. It is hard for an American to fully understand how the term "aggression" can be used in the same sentence as cricket, and because of the terrorist attack today, the word term has found a new, completely disgusting connection with our sport.

Pakistanis love aggressive bombastic cricket, but we love to see it on the field. We love to see a batsmen thrash a quick bowler who has been sending the ball down at him at over 99 Miles/hour.
We love to see the wickets smash when that bowler has got his revenge, chest thumping and being mobbed by his teammates. We blow horns in the crowd, we dance, we sing, we taunt the opposition. The andrenaline is so powerful.
As someone who played the game competitively for many years, there was no better feeling than winning a trying, tiring test match.

We love cricket. We love cricketers. We even love cricketers from other countries. We huddle around televisions and watch, and for a moment all the rest of the hardships of life, the suicide bombings, the taliban, the political instability, all of it doesnt matter anymore.

So, when cricketers are the targets of attacks by fanatical idiots, we feel outraged, ashamed and at total despair. This attack will kill cricket in Pakistan, and the biggest step to the death of our people. I am thankful that our friends the Sri Lankan cricket team were saved from serious harm. But now, no teams will tour Pakistan, and the stadiums will remain empty.

Its interesting watching these images on the screen from here in the states, so far away from the devastation, and then hearing my fathers voice on the phone lamenting the death of all civilization in Pakistan. He has a tendency to be melodramatic, but I have heard him say this over and over again this year and the last. This coming from a man who only a few years ago would never have said something like this about his own country. Pakistan is being slowly overrun but a small minority of nutjobs, who are unfortunately misrepresenting the entire population. How much can I really blame the media representations of me, when I see this violence by my people against my own people. How often can we shift the blame, pass the buck.

Over there bombs are going off, over here I'm writing a show about how unfair it is to be an actor of color. Sometimes, our perspective is so out of whack.
But, I know that just because things are worse somewhere else doesnt meant our own country should be immune from criticism. Voices of dissent, and outrage are what separate us from crazy nutjobs....both the Taliban types, and the ultra nationalists here in America.


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