November 29, 2004

England's Cricket Shame

Protesters outside the Zimbabwe v England One Day International

It is, as they say, just not Cricket. England's cricketers are currently in Zimbabwe playing for the 'Robert Mugabe PR Trophy' - also know as the 'let's see how many ways the English team can help to legitimise Mugabe's fascist, murderous, brutal dictatorship' tour. Well for a start they can play his sham of a cricket team in which all the best players have been kicked out for not supporting his government. Yep done that. Then they can then appear on TV with the patron of the Cricket Board - a Mugabe appointee. Yep done that. Finally, perhaps they can give Mugabe the biggest coup of all, and have Michael Vaughan shake the dictator's hand. Haven't done that yet, but Maggies Pants wouldn't bet against it. If and when that shameful event happens, perhaps Vaughan should take a leaf out of the Jack Straw book of diplomacy and bigotry and claim it was too dark to see him. Of course, the team should never have been in Zimbabwe in the first place. No tour should have been arranged, the players should never have agreed to go and the government should have demanded that it did not happen. Mugabe is systematically killing off half the country. It's genocide and Maggies Pants doesn't use the word lightly. This tour is every bit as disgraceful as those to South Africa in the 1980s. Just as those tours did, this one supports and legitimises a brutal and represive regime. Indeed, the only person who comes out with any credit is Graham Thorpe who refused to travel on moral grounds. It's a shame that more of the team didn't take that principled stand. Never again should the England cricket team be forced to support a murderous regime such as Robert Mugabe's