This is the month of March. We always celebrate our Independence Day on this month, but we were actually celebrating one of the success of this independence with the organizing of World Cup Cricket this year. We could’ve done this long time back in 1996 but couldn’t do it. Why? Well because our players were not good enough to beat teams like Kenya and UAE in the ICC trophy a year back in Kenya. Hold that thought for a while. I used the verb “were actually celebrating” because after watching the scenes in Sher-E-Bangla last night, I can’t say I have the strength to celebrate anything with Bangladesh.
Before talking about yesterday, let me tell you about another experience I had recently. I went to watch the World Cup in Dhaka with a lot of excitement. Reached on the 24th and went to see the Ireland game on 25th. I can tell you, on no other occasion I’ve seen the countrymen so united to support their own country. The players won the game but the emotion and support the crowd gave the team and the wild celebrations after the game; I’ll remember and cherish those memories for the rest of my life. Well that’s what I thought that night. After the very first game against India, all of a sudden we saw all the so called “experts” of cricket dissecting the captain’s decision. Everyone understood every delivery bowled and faced. Unfortunately more than half of those experts were in that team in Kenya a decade ago. And they’ve played and gave us bigger disappointments throughout their careers. Unfortunately unlike most, some of us don’t have a goldfish’s memory. Most will curse the team for getting out under 100 twice and I do understand that’s unacceptable but let’s cherish what those 15 boys gave us thrice. We celebrated and rejoiced victories, we celebrated as a country. We don’t get that opportunity that often and even if we do, we somehow always screw it up. Once with a Noble prize win and now with this cricket team. I have seldom seen soo much criticism by sub standard people then I’ve seen in last few weeks, both for Dr. Yunus and Shakib. But I’m only going to point out about Shakib here. He’s arrogant, doesn’t care because of IPL contract, doesn’t listen or respect senior players!! If he’s so bad and arrogant then please point out someone who’s as qualified as he is and replace him.
The nail on the coffin for me was the euphoric celebration of Bangladeshis in the month of March in Sher-e-Bangla. For this nation, everything is emotional and everything is acceptable when it has to do with some other race. I’ve no problem people going and supporting another country in a game. But there’s a level of acceptability of everything. I’m sure when Indians or Sri Lankans were enjoying games of two neutral countries; they’ll paint that country’s flag on their bodies. Well let’s say they do, because they’re super enthusiasts. Do you think an Irish will paint an English flag in an Ashes game in Dublin? Or English will paint Australia’s flag in a Australia-South Africa match? Do you think a Canadian will shout “Long Live USA!!” in a Olympic basketball game? I don’t think so. Because they know, something are beyond the spirit of sports. That’s why we have supporters of teams. Otherwise everyone will just seat and enjoy sports. But we are again the unique race who’re so passionate about others that we go to the ground with flags of other countries in hundreds and shouted “Pakistan Zindabaad!!” with all our lungs. Seriously, Pakistan Zindabaad?? On the month of March, we could’ve spared this embarrassment. You think Pakistanis would be shouting “Bangladesh Zindabaad” in Lahore? They won’t, because they know sports and politics are not always separate.
When we have to complain against a country, we summon the ambassador of that country. Why, because they represent that specific country in a foreign territory. When a team bares the flag of a country; they’re also ambassadors of that country. Now if I’ve something to say against the country’s regime or I’ve a protest to make, of course I’ll take the opportunity even on a sports ground. Pakistan has not officially apologized to Bangladesh for the genocides of 1971. Imran Khan, who was the captain of Pakistan’s World Cup winning cricket team, said Pakistan should apologize. Many Zimbabwe players refused to represent their country in protest to their country’s political oppression. United States had sent a table tennis team as a gesture of friendship to the Chinese mainland before any political negotiation started back in 60s. The two Koreas jointly send team to Olympics and South Africa’s ban for the apartheid system. They were all political statements using sports. Then how on earth do we justify supporting Pakistan, publicly, on our soil, like a home team??
The Dawn newspaper of Pakistan made the support story in Dhaka one of the lead news. I’m sharing the link at the end, because most of the editorial board still remembers 1971, I can guarantee you. To them it’s a triumph and a spit on all the martyrs. We shamelessly criticized our own boys on every occasion we got and yet we supported a country that has cost us so much pain and blood, in the name of sportsmen spirit? Seriously??
The funny thing is, the same art college kids who painted the flags in front of the stadium for supporters will be staying awake on 20th Feb to paint Dhaka University. Those who were so proud to show off their paintings on TV will shed tears when they’ll see a patriotic TV commercial and will be wearing designers clothing with flag and blood on 26th March. They supported Pakistan and they’ll be in Savar couple of days later with the same 100% emotion. I have no doubt. So the question comes, why? Why are we so forgiving or less demanding when it comes to our glorious days of 1971? Why does a teenager think it’s ok to support Pakistan or hold the banner “Afridi marry me” in Bangladesh? Why don’t I see the same spirit to support any other country, say India; they’re our neighboring country too! We imitate everything from food to cloths and recently language too? Is there any specific reason that we never like our own achievements and lick the spat of others no questions asked?
This World Cup has shown our true colors, maybe it’s time to finally find which color we really want once and for all. 🙂