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Nice guy Pakistan fan at Pallekale

Halaal Sri Lanka tweeted the below this morning. The ACJU already sent what i think is a mass SMS via dialog saying the same.

Interesting. I think the ACJU message was a little blunt and slightly tactless. But in the context of the recent protests i suppose they rightly thought to quell any antagonistic behavior from more disruptive elements that work not out of any loyalty to the Prophet (peace be upon him) or Islam but for their own/inciteful reasons. So maybe we should applaud the ACJU for taking the initiative, but also one wonders if they couldn’t have done it in a more subtle manner. Indi has a post on it here.

As for why some Muslims in Sri Lanka support Pakistan over Sri Lanka. Personally i don’t know. But i can make a few guesses. Number one it is pretty much the only Muslim country that plays cricket. And if you look at the Muslim psyche there is a strong affinity towards Islamic collectivism (since Islam in essence doesn’t subscribe to nation statism). But Muslims in Sri Lanka identify themselves both as this global community of Muslims as well as Sri Lankans.

When it comes to cricket, almost every Muslim i know, including me, will support Sri Lanka over Pakistan. But i have known some Muslims who have opted to support Pakistan. Most of them come from communities that are very tight knit and isolated. So i’ve known this to happen in certain parts of Panadura like Sarikkamulla. I’ve heard of open and defiant support for Pakistan being expressed in towns like Maradana, Thihariya etc. Or at least, i think i have. Some of these displays have been very in-your-face. Like crackers being lit etc. Not very nice.

Muslims openly supporting Pakistan, to me, is quite a dated phenomenon. If you were to ask me what i think, based on my experience, i would say that i used to be aware of this a lot more when i was younger. But as time progressed, especially after the ’96 world cup, a lot less Muslims supported Pakistan over Sri Lanka. So i think it also has something to do with having a strong team in Sri Lanka to support. If your national identity doesn’t work for you, you switch to the alternative. Its an easy way of finding a winning team to root for.

My enthusiasm for cricket also changes with the Sri Lankan team’s performance. Although I’ve never supported anyone against our team, after the world cup throw away i got so dejected that i didn’t really start showing any interest in cricket until Sri Lanka’s last two matches in the World T20. Let’s face it, our team has an uncanny knack of never failing to disappoint. At the most crucial moments. So much pain.

Anyway does Pakistan’s team even represent Islam? I don’t know. Most of them are Muslims that is true. But i don’t even always support Pakistan when they are playing against another team. Truth be told to me cricket is not about religion. Cricket is about cricket. Entirely a different thing. And honestly i think this is the case for most Sri Lankan Muslims. I was at Pallekale for the Pakistan-New Zealand match. I was supporting Pakistan. But there were hundreds of Muslims in the crowd from Kandy. And most of them were cheering for both teams. Some of them even only for new Zealand.

So i don’t know how sports here in Sri Lanka mixes with identity politics. Indi says that even Prabhakaran supported Sri Lanka, but then again did he really have a lot of reasons to support India? If Eelam became a reality would they be sending a team to the SLPL? One thing i have noticed though is antagonism viz India. So much hate for India. I wondered why and asked around. People apparently don’t like their team members’ ‘arrogance’. And there’s also the perception that India has been historically always interfering with Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.

Generally speaking though. Sports is a major outlet of dissent. Take Scottish soccer for example. So if there are elements supporting other teams against Sri Lanka, it’s probably prudent to check why these elements apparently feel so disenfranchised.

Military flexing muscles in post-trouble Puttalam

Is the president really in need of several pints of blood of people who don’t eat pork? Are people in specific districts of Sri Lanka undergoing simultaneous mass hallucinations possibly brought on by the collective effects of coastal winds, fasting and being of a particular ethno religious persuasion?

Like the beggar killings, we might never know for sure. Anyone remember the beggar killings? No. Poor souls.

Excuse or no, grease yakas have resulted in increasingly militarized coastal districts. People there have no love for the armed forces, rather they’d just like the police to buck up and start acting like the police thank you very much. Instead, fear and public unrest have had the undesired effect of increasing the presence of the army in these locations.

Grease yakas themselves, though widely pooh poohed as a ‘myth’, are no lie. The people I’ve spoken to and the consistent fantastic facts that keep popping up from different parts of the country testify to this; spring boots, Wolverine like claws, slippery black clothes, high athleticism etc. They are also silent and operate solely to scare, actual injuries having been caused by them being kept to a minimum. Separate incidents from all the districts in the country have produced witness accounts that corroborate with some, or all of these details.

Mauled. His jaw is broken and due for operation

Last week I spoke to a man that fought a grease yaka. He was overwhelmed when the guy he was fighting was joined by two others, and heavily injured.

Like all scary myths involving creatures that draw blood, the GYs come out at night. They target women, and seem to love targeting Muslim women in particular. Perhaps because it is ramadan and they assume that the men of the house must have gone to the mosque, or that breaking fast would have left the people lazy and less inclined or capable of prolonged chase.

Like all good fear mongering tactics, the damage that the greased yakas have caused have been perpetrated purely by enraged crowds and retaliating armed forces. No evidence of foul play. No greasy fingerprints on dead civilians or cops. All that remains of the actual cuprit are stories of shadows that sound slightly ridiculous in the daytime and a clinging fear that has spread like well, greased lightning.

The cops are free to call the people crazy, and the people are free to go berserk with fear and because no one seems to believe them. The people protest, the forces retaliate, someone dies, military presence is increased to provide ‘more security’. This has been a repeating cycle.

The army gets more excuses to set up checkpoints and continue wielding weapons at poor people.; controlling and monitoring their movements. This is not especially strange to the people of these areas, and they’re generally OK with this, having suffered more during the war. Emergency law is more a concern of the international community and liberal intelligentsia in Colombo, these people just want to be left alone, to live in peace.

Ironically though, they are smack dab in the middle of a geopolitical conflict, and are now pawns. Pawns must die. Unrest here serves the purpose of sending a powerful message, that of the continued need for Control. Emergency has now been removed, but that could just be legislative lip service. The army can’t all start cleaning the roadsides.

Meanwhile, Colombo laughs, is slightly shocked, morbidly fascinated and engrossed in cricket by turns, avidly ignoring the steady uptick of taxation and the Colombo Consumer Price Index.

It’s a zero sum game. But who is winning?

Indian students get flak for being Indian

A lot of Sri Lankans proudly profess their hatred for India. Why? i ask. ‘Cause they’re arrogant’ comes back the answer. Pfft like Sri Lankans aren’t? Please. There has to be something else behind this mysterious hatred for our neighbors. Is it the bad English accent? The hot movie stars? The sledging in the cricket field? The economic success?

Wait hold on, you say, economic success? you scoff. Half the population is below the poverty line! you triumphantly espouse. Yes but a lot of them are now above it thanks to their economic policies, i say. India’s corporations are taking over the world. Educated Indians are enjoying better living standards. They are beginning to get some actual respect out there.

Their leadership is not something to envy. But at least their top rung have got their ducks in a row and seem to be leading the country in a direction. It doesnt matter here or now what direction, let it suffice that they have a direction, something that we seem to be lacking.

And Indian people, arrogant? I’m not sure about you but most Indians i have met have turned out to be quite nice. Sure they’re determined, somewhat materialistic and egoistic. But hello, we aren’t much different. We’re determined, mayhaps for the wrong reasons and terribly uptight about our identities. And besides, are the qualities to be hated?

Also isn’t blind hate what brought about the ethnic conflict in the first place? we hate without rhyme or reason, sense or sensibility, pride or prejudice (i had to throw that one in, sorry Jane) its like we’re shifting our angry eyes from the North to something further North. The big hulking neighbor we all fear, and so we all hate. Are we afraid of colonization? that claptrap the JVP sold us as propaganda to spark an ill thought out insurgency in the South?

Think of cricket. A lot of people want India to lose cause the simply ‘don’t like em’. They don’t know why or how. Their dislike is not a dislike that can be articulated. They just hate em. Well, haters gon hate. India is a strong team and if they win against us, I will still respect their win. This is a big moment for cricket in these parts of the world, and if Sanga and his boys pull through, all well and good i will whoop along with the rest of you. But if India wins then it’ll do a world of good to the confidence of a billion people. And that would be something i’d be happy to watch regardless.

I KNEW IT ALL ALONG.

Some blew off theories connecting the LTTE to the shootings at Lahore as nothing but fantasy, but new evidence has ‘surfaced’ that it may actually be the truth.

Mahinda Rajapakse has told Yousuf Raza Gilani (while chilling in Libya – probably over a poolside pinacolada) that ‘clues’ have been uncovered pointing at the LTTE’s involvement in the grisly March shootings.

And Gilani promptly went and told the media. Although i’ll be darned if i know why Mahinda didn’t tell us first, the discerning citizens of this land; we who stood the most to lose at such despicable disrespect towards sporting personalities. Or maybe he found out when he was already there. Like that time when we won the war.

But this is great news for Pakistan though. With one less  smear against their name, there is less reason for international cricket teams to refuse to visit Pakistan. Because Pakistani terrorists don’t shoot at cricketers, Sri Lankan ones do, or Sri Lankan ones did; before they got wiped off the face of the earth.

Meanwhile, trade relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan escalate to ever greater heights. Hurray for politics!

What really happened? A day after the attacks, speculation is still rife.

The story hit the top of the economist web site today, which followed up with a long account of the incidents and Sri Lanka’s gesture of solidarity that ended up in their cricket team getting shot. But then dwindles down into a rather pointless review of religion and the Pakistani cricket team and irrelevant ramblings about Muhammed Yousuf, a ‘muslim fundamentalist’ whatever that means.

The Economist also goes on to stress on ‘Jihadist’ attacks by ‘Pakistani’ militants. I can understand calling them Pakistani militants because they were obviously operating from Pakistan, but Jihadist? No group has taken responsibility yet for the attacks so there is no way of telling for sure if it was a self-proclaimed Jihadist group or not. Dissapointingly presumtuous especially coming from an esteemed source such as the Economist.

We can draw some parallells with the Mumbai attacks here. The attack out of the blue (like thats anything new), first of its kind in many ways, and no group takes responsibility. Instead suspicions are cast, scapegoats are found along with cicumstantial evidence and before you know it BAm! theres all out accusations.

Kinda reminds me of 9/11. Overally though, i think India handled the Mumbai attacks far better than the US handled 9/11. Killing indiscriminately and invading all over the place, UN be damned.

What am i trying to get at here?

im trying to tell you folks to calm down a bit and dont be so quick to judge. The attacks could have been carried out by anyone for any conceivable reason. Pakistan has been the target and location of many meaningless attacks over the past few years. Most gone unclaimed and un accounted for, it has also seemed to be the target of extreme detabilisation post 9/11.

so lets not assume anything.

Dude, the cricketers have been shot at? In Pakistan, yes. Now wait a minute, whenever we hear about injuries to cricketers in India and Pakistan its mostly injuries to their own cricketers at the handsof enraged fans.

But why in the world would anybody in Pakistan shoot to kill Sri Lankan cricketers? Thats just really strange. At least four players are reported injured. Among them Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (reported shot to the leg), Thilan Samaraweera and Ajantha Mendis.

Effectively the cream of the crop. A pre emptive strike prior to the world cup? maybe cricket is taking a turn for the ugly.

The actual motives for such a strike are extremely unclear. If it was a terrorist group in Pakistan would they really attack the Sri Lankan cricket team? I cant think of any reasons for that.

It could be an attack by the LTTE. They could easily establish contacts there.

Or it could also be a plot to discredit Pakistan even further. Perhaps a counter move as revenge to the Mumbai attacks?

All we can do is speculate. And hope the truth will come to light soon.

Skimpily clad cheerleaders offending ‘traditional’ Indian values, Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth and making the poor chap cry (and getting banned for 11 matches in the process) and now in the latest controversy surrounding India’s IPL, it has been revealed that one player has tested positive for a banned substance. (The reason for the delay in carrying out the tests of course was based on advice of doctors who said that new players might not be aware of the specifics and that they needed to be informed prior to conducting them.)

Anyway, the identity of the player in question has not yet been revealed. Indeed, officials are in the process of matching the sample with the player identity and will then compare his list of pre-declared drugs (if any) to see if he is in the clear. If not there will be another sample sent in for testing and if that tests positive, kerrthump! Down on the chopping block.

Prime suspect  of course is recently notorious Mohammed Asif who had a bit of a mash up with drugs in Dubai and was detained for a while as a consequence. Asif has claimed that since he had cleared two doping tests during the IPL, it proved he had not consumed the drug. Also under suspicion is the Rawalpindi Express Akhtar who is alleged to have been carrying around syringes along with him during the time of the league (diabetes, I bet). Another high profile former offender is the ultimate winning captain Shane Warne. All this however, Is speculation for now and we will not know for sure who the offender is until (and if) the tests are taken to the next level and the players identity is eventually revealed.

The substance also, remains unknown for now. We’ve seen the sex(-y cheerleaders), violence(at least some bitch slapping), rock’n’roll(or as close as Shah Rukh can get) and now it appears that the Drugs are in the ball game as well.. Rock on!

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