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Murali's latest "doosra"

Ramanie de Zoysa

The world famous Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan's comment while on a charity mission in the North of Sri Lanka that he 'doesn't know about the Sri Lankan Government's stance but the LTTE is ready for Peace' should be viewed very seriously by the Sri Lankan Cricket Board, the Security Forces and the Government. It is either a case of a sudden dawning of immense political 'wisdom' on Murali or the Tiger terror machine in Jaffna threatened him with life and limb at his 'meeting' with Daya Master. My money is definitely on the latter. It was always a matter of time when the Tamil Tiger terrorists were going to get to him; and, now thanks to whoever thought that it was a great idea to take Murali to the North to do charity, the inevitable has happened.

No terrorist should be idiotic enough to think that they can pose a threat to the life of a celebrity such as Murali and get away with it; any such attempt would only discredit the terrorist organisation further. The LTTE has over the years been stripped of all the hoopla about being 'freedom fighters' or martyrs and can hardly afford anymore adverse publicity. Murali, the cricketer, is immensely more powerful than any terrorist group in the world for the simple reason that he is loved and held in high esteem by ordinary people both nationally and internationally. When all is said and done, the real power always rests with the ordinary civilians; their simple opinions will make or break heroes, dictators, rulers and celebrities. Terrorists, dictators and Pol Pots come and go without being able to make the slightest change to the status quo.

The issue here is that Murali with his international standing can't afford to engage in loose talk. The non- LTTE Sri Lankans would not stand for that! Whether Muralitharan said what he is reported to have said as a result of LTTE threat, LTTE brainwashing or simply out of his own free will, the ball is definitely in his court now. My view is that Murali has two choices; he can either play cricket for Sri Lanka or join the LTTE terrorists to discredit the Sri Lankan Government. He can not do both. The Sri Lankan Cricket Board should take immediate action to interview Murali with a view to understanding which path he wants to take. Until and unless Murali explains himself publicly and makes a suitable apology and a retraction he should not be allowed to play cricket for Sri Lanka while being a mouthpiece for the worldwide Tamil terrorists. Murali mustn't play with words. He shouldn't think that 'not lying outright but not telling the truth also' is a good enough strategy! It is not good enough to say that the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka play cricket together as if these three groups don't do anything else together. He must come out and tell the whole truth as it is. No twists- no spins- no doosras. This truth must include how not only these three ethnic groups but also other Sri Lankan ethnic groups such as the Burghers, Chinese and Malays live together, study together, work together, and play together. The truth must include how the Tamils in specific enjoy all the human freedoms among the majority Sinhalese; the fact that the Tamils enjoy the same state subsidies, the freedom to choose any school/ university to attend, the freedom to purchase land, build houses and places of worship in any part of the country, the freedom to speak, the freedom to carry out economic activities anywhere in the country. The truth must include the story of how the 'system' in Sri Lanka worked for him as a citizen regardless of his ethnicity to pick him up from a dusty little trader's store in Kotahena and placed him at the level of a top celebrity. He must have the integrity and the courage to mention all the Sinhalese men who stood up for him in the name of justice in the international sports arena to make him what he is today. If he has no such courage, then, 'Murali' is a fraud. He is nothing. He is just another Tamil racist with a bent arm!

 



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