Reverse apartheid? Give me a break!

Written by: Vineesh Krishnan
Published: Tuesday, April 27, 2004, 17:40 [IST]
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It appears that everyone is pointing at a reverse apartheid as the reason behind the current crisis in Zimbabwe cricket. The victims, Whites, fight a battle against racial discrimination with the support of the world. The Western media machine has started working on it and has roped in erstwhile anti-apartheid activists residing in UK to voice its concerns over the treatment meted out to the White minority.

It appears 'parachute Journalism', the disease associated with Western journalists dropped at short notice into Eastern disasters, has gripped the scribe tribe currently camping in Zimbabwe. They see everywhere the tell-tale signs of a draconian dictatorship. When officials hesitate to answer their 'piercing' questions, they surmise it is because of the fear of ending up in one of Mugabe's 'concentration' camps. They have not said it explicitly till now, but that is what they mean.

Anywhere in the world, officials are the same and dislike answering questions by journalists, especially when there is a crisis. The American occupation of Iraq is an example worth mentioning. Compared to Americans, Mugabe's 'dictatorship' has been much more transparent.

Reportedly, the White victims have breached the contract they signed with Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU). If ZCU had enough quality players, I do not think Heath Streak and company could have dared to make the threat of quitting.

ZCU was accused of bowing to pressure from Government. I ask, which cricket Board has not? Cricket Australia retained Mark Waugh in the team on the insistence of the then Australian Prime Minister. Board of Control for Cricket in India decided it will not play any match with Pakistan on directions from the Indian Government. Even if one denies it, sports and politics are linked. Therefore accusing ZCU on that count does not add up much.

It must have been the policy of ZCU to select more Black players into the national team that put Heath Streak in a rebellious mode. He had the support of the global media and the White members of the team.

The majority of people in Zimbabwe being Blacks, ZCU's policy without doubt encourages the growth of cricket in Zimbabwe. The Western media has completely ignored this part in their eagerness to portray the crisis as the end of cricket in Zimbabwe. This may well be a new beginning. With the end of White supremacy, cricket may become the game of the masses in Zimbabwe. It will take a while, but it will happen and Zimbabwe may emerge as a cricket power.

The Asian cricket Boards must not fall into the trap set by the Western media and the Western (does not denote geography) cricket Boards. If Zimbabwe had a media machinery as powerful as that of the West, the story reaching us would have been different.

Robert Mugabe's methods may be harsh, but the coloniser's methods, I think, were many times harsher. Behind the Western affluence lies stories of mass murders. Whole races have been slaughtered to accommodate the ever-expanding population of Europe. Zimbabwe's natives have a right to claim everything including cricket.

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