Kusal Perera in Sunday Leader, 13 March 2011
Cricket was a gentleman’s game in the past. Cricket is a businessman’s game in the present. Cricket could be politics of the fundamentalists in the future. Cricket is what’s spooned now into such racist campaigns here in Sri Lanka, with the 2011 Cricket World Cup just getting its pads on, for big time matches to come.Government MP Sumathipala is on record, hitting out at those who may have cheered Pakistan at the first game which Sri Lanka lost by 11 runs. Sri Lankans have no choice. They have to cheer Sri Lanka and none other. Sumathipala wants all houses to fly the “Lion” flag too during the World Cup tournament, calling it a national event. There was news in mid February, of two other prominent but not necessarily popular Muslim politicians with the government, asking all Muslims to cheer Sri Lanka and not Pakistan at the World Cup matches. A chorus taken over by the mosques in Colombo on a Friday, according to loud whispers that made the rounds.Cricket is getting a new patriotic dressing by a Sinhala regime, making it different to the old “imperialist game” of the British. Cricket is being turned into a political staple, garnished with Sinhala patriotism and served as a salad of “Mahintriotism” that makes everything taste conspiratorial and ghostly.
It is right therefore to assume that Pakistan won the match even by that tiny, hard fought margin, due to a conspiracy that had 18,000 dollars packed in a State employed laundryman’s fantasy, scripted for the State owned and controlled, ITN. Neither Abeysundera nor ITN thus have any reason to apologise to Mahela and Thilan or to Pakistan, for belittling their keenly contested win or to Asif Ali Zardari who wanted ten large bulls donated to the Rajapaksa government as a token of friendship.
Mahintriotism is therefore a right to accuse any, with no responsibility in proving the accusation(s). Its the responsibility of the “accused” to steer clear of further damage. That’s what the war against “Tamil separatism” was fought for. To give the Rajapaksa regime, the unquestionable power to do as it pleases. With brutal State repression, continuously endorsed by Sinhala votes.
The Sinhala supremacy has to be preserved, nurtured and carried forward and needs barbarians stopped at the gates of the “kingdom”. The barbarians come in many assorted forms. As the LTTE through the Diaspora. As external and internal enemies supporting the regrouping of the LTTE. As federalists who still believe in power sharing as a political solution. As democrats who opposed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and talk of de-militarising of society. As media that criticises the government. And now as unpatriotic Muslims, who cheer Pakistan and as conspirators who team up to fix games against Sri Lanka.
Tomorrow there has to be another barbarian at the gate. How else can Mahintriotism keep this regime in power? But there are big time, covert allies too who help, apart from Selvarasa Pathmanathan and his Tamil Diaspora.