« Book Report: The Fellowship of the Ring | Main | Ladies and Gentlemen »

Mumbai and Lahore, and pulling up stumps

After talking about terrorism, cricket and the subcontinent (well, that’s not quite what I was talking about, but it was in there), I feel I should say something about Tuesday’s atrocity.

Er, something. Not sure what.

As I understand it, the context is this: nobody wants to go play cricket in Pakistan. Now, nobody wants to go play cricket in Zimbabwe, either, but then Zimbabwe is a failed state, and Pakistan is…very large. As I understand it, the number of people in Pakistan who know more about Cricket than I know about baseball is approximately one point eight three gazillion. And nobody will play there. Not India, fine. We understand that. Actually, before Mumbai, India was scheduled to play in Pakistan, and that was a Big Deal, but after, not so much. Not India, not England, not the West Indies, not Zimbabwe, not the Lastfarthing County Girls Eleven.

Well, until Sri Lanka took a chance. I mean, things are bad in Sri Lanka, too. So perhaps they thought it was worth a shot. And, you know, if you’re Sri Lanka, there’s some point in showing people not to be too worried about touring areas with a history of terrorism and governmental failure.

And also, just to point this out, the host for the 2011 Cricket World Cup is, essentially, the Subcontinent: matches were to be played in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and, yes, Pakistan. And if that was actually going to, you know, happen, then perhaps it would be a good idea to test it out a bit, see what happens.

And what happened, happened. Fortunately, due to incompetence and chance, the grenade under the bus didn’t explode, and none of the Sri Lankan cricketers died. So there’s that. Could have been worse. But it was very bad.

And that’s it. I mean, that’s the context, as I understand it, and now we will see what we’ll see. I mean, there’s a possibility that an attack on cricket will be seen as crossing some sort of moral line and that particular terrorist organizations seen as responsible, or even organizations viewed as using terrorism, will lose popular support, and this will all redound to the benefit of an actual working state governing all of Pakistan. Not likely, just on the face of it, but possible. That will take a lot of doing to make that the Story of What Happened. More directly, the Story of What Happened is that Tuesday was the day that Pakistani people recognized that they were living in something awfully close to a failed state, and— what do you do if you realize that you are living in something awfully close to a failed state, and your government can’t protect your cricketers?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,