By Shane Dell 23/04/04
Congratulations to Stuart MacGill from Australia who has taken a stand against issues of racism in cricket and other human rights abuses evident in Zimbabwe, by refusing to tour that nation as part of the Australian team for the scheduled cricket series beginning in May.
MacGill, who at this time is a lone voice from the Aussie team, but likely to be supported by other players with a conscience in coming weeks, is to be commended for his stand, a stand made on moral grounds after much thought and consideration given to the pros and cons of touring Zimbabwe. It is believed the lucrative match payments MacGill would have earned from touring, were given no consideration as he juggled with his emotions in formulating his decision to boycott the planned tour. Having sought advice from many quarters, MacGill’s decision was recently backed up by an internet poll that found 70% of respondents supported him.
Many people will say MacGill is wrong to muddy the waters of cricket with politics, but those who do are obviously not up to date with what is happening within the African nation and have lost sight of who it actually was that introduced political interference under the guise of racial policies to cricket in Zimbabwe, that despotic, murderous idiot Robert Mugabe.
If Mugabe and his racist regime can use the sport for political gain, then why is it wrong for someone to take a stand against it!
Certainly, MacGill’s boycott would have much more impact if it enjoyed the active support of his Aussie team mates as a whole, rather than the statements of “understanding” that we are continually hearing from them, but the mere fact MacGill has found the courage to stand up for what he believes in, is enough to ensure the issues in Zimbabwe receive the media attention they deserve. Speculation has it, that if one or two more Aussies decide to withdraw from the tour, Cricket Australia may be forced to rethink their current position and in fact cancel their plans for the team to travel to Zimbabwe for the coming series. Considering the fact that at least Darren Lehmann may also be strongly considering the moral issues associated with a tour of Zimbabwe, according to a report in the Herald Sun, it’s possible that a complete boycott by Australia may still be on the cards, even though Cricket Australia say at this time the tour will go ahead as planned, with Lehmann expected to participate.
Adding fuel to this speculation is a comment from Glenn McGrath that he “would not be totally surprised if team mates reconsidered their position.”
MacGill’s decision is a very brave one, especially taking into account that he is considered to be at the wrong end of his long cricket career and has opened the future selection door for a younger player in Cameron White, who is his replacement for the tour. MacGill has definitely shown to the world that he is prepared to sacrifice all, rather than accept a political regime that is prepared to use any agenda including cricket, to further its own ideals and propagate a policy similar to ethnic cleansing throughout the nation, which has most recently resulted in the sacking of 13 white skinned players from the Zimbabwe National Cricket Squad.
Hopefully the thought of losing lucrative match payments is not the most important factor being considered by others who at this time have refused to stand with MacGill. One can understand the importance of money to some people in today’s morally baseless society, but when that money often comes from playing cricket matches against a side selected by skin colour, rather than cricket ability, that’s money no-one should need or want. Maybe, if the Australian tour goes ahead, those players who attend might pass on their match payments to the sacked 13, as a way of compensating them for the losses they have suffered in the name of cricket in Zimbabwe. What a wondeful gesture that would be!
Hard decisions are required from all those involved in coming weeks as plans further advance for the Zimbabwe tour, but players still juggling with the prospects of touring and less than 100% committed to their current stand, just have to ask themselves if they really want to visit a nation ruled over by a despot that can only be described as the Hitler of the 21st Century.
Whilst International teams continue to tour Zimbabwe under the rule of Mugabe and pump lucrative income into the coffers of this dictator raised from all aspects of these tours, they will continue to legitimise the policies of the Mugabe regime and give the go ahead for the ongoing political domination of cricket and the population as a whole. By not saying no to tours, cricket authorities are unwittingly condoning Mugabes agenda to get rid of white players from the sport of cricket and to a lesser extent supporting the brutalisation of the Zimbabwe people.
Why, as decent humans beings are we accepting of tours to Zimbabwe?
By saying no to these tours and demanding change, we can all send the message that the current policies of the government in Zimbabwe are racist and wrong.
Let’s not continue to support the lame excuses many teams are now using to justify Zimbabwe tours, those being, to support the people and promote cricket. These excuses are just that, excuses and should be recognised for what they are. The fact is, neither the people or cricket benefit in any way, but Mugabe does. He gains International recognition and believes his policies are legitimised by the recognition these high profile International cricket teams bring to Zimbabwe, even if it is teams sent by those two “white honkies” as Mugabe once called them, Tony Blair and John Howard. After all, things in Zimbabwe can’t be as bad as they say, because those nations who criticise the regime the most, keep sending cricket teams to play matches.
It is essential and imperative that ALL cricket authorities boycott tours to Zimbabwe until radical change takes place and current racist policies are sent packing back into the dark dungeons of National Socialism from whence they were dragged by the 21st century Hitler clone Mugabe.
It’s also time that the ICC got off its arse and formulated a real response to the Zimbabwe issues rather than continue to duck them and place them back into the lap of individual cricket boards. As the governing body of world cricket, the ICC has a duty to become politically involved to ensure the survival of the sport in Zimbabwe for all generations, be they black or white.
For nearly 30 years the world refused to compete on the sporting arena with South Africa’s apartheid regime. Is what we are seeing in Zimbabwe any different?
Did I just hear you say NO?