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Dear Pakistanis…it’s more than just a cricket game!

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Today, millions embarked and witnessed the unfolding of a historic event; the semi final match between Pakistan and India as the ICC World Cup 2011 continues to poke at the hearts of many.

This sporting event was one of the first for which I not only got up for at 5am but stood by also finding myself standing affirmatively by the men in green in a state of submersion as I engulfed myself with the world of Cricket.

Pakistan unfortunately was defeated, allowing for the masses in India to illustrate the behemoth of all celebrations. All in all it can be said that Pakistan truly displayed astounding talent and exceptional sportsmanship to have made it thus far.

For a Pakistani who is geographically situated far from the mother country, such a match became the vehicle for being transported back to Pakistan, in every way one can be mobilized. And that’s what this is about…the role that sports (in particular cricket for the Pakistani people) play in harmonizing and further creating an “imagined community” as Benedict Anderson would so eloquently allude to first in 1983. Furthermore, it allowed me to reflect on the role sports play when considering the outburst of Nationalism and mobilization of the masses.

Can such outbursts of nationalism further foster a growth igniting self-consciousness for the people of Pakistan?…and for Pakistani’s dwelling within foreign frontiers?

When considering the amalgamated groups of Pakistani’s that watched this sporting event together it is safe to say the religious and ethnic makeup of such groups was diversified. There were diminished lines of boundaries in the areas of interaction, bondment, co-existence and mutual respect.

Than why the separated lines and boundaries of co-existence within Pakistan? Why the acts of blasphemy for example? Why the impinging imposition of economic and social hierarchy? why the aggregated demand and need for corruption, lack of access to education and imbalance within the horizon?

The streets of Pakistan, I’m told are itching with disappointment and anxiety. But let’s stop in our tracks and take a look at what these players have achieved…!

They’ve brought citizens of their nation together under the umbrella of that very ‘imagined community.’ How you ask? Transport yourself back a few hours and reflect on your thought process when it came to the future of the team and the level of joy and understanding you exhibited. I can vouch for myself and attest to the reality that for the duration of this game I was just as much of a Pakistani, Muslim, Woman and Believer as the individual next to me. I was co-harmonized with the millions of Pakistanis that were up at the crack of dawn with me…we were all equal!  

When will the ‘imaginative’ evolve into a platform of reality?

Yesterday, any and all Pakistanis, regardless of their geographic location, religious affiliation, economic standard, political connection and/or ethnic make-up could converse, trust and depend on their fellow Pakistani…even to be updated with the score of the match. For us outside of Canada, the joy of running into a Pakistani on the train, bus, school or restaurant was as significant as finding a piece of home as it provided the psychological attainment of having a common ground.

So you see its more than just a game. With every pitch and every hit. Within ever catch and every fall. With every cheer and every dismissive word…the men reminded us of merely one thing; Unification! And I saw the ability within the people of Pakistan to obtain and execute that unity and Nationalism. Therefore, it’s become evident that the ability and drive is there. Than what are we missing?…a cricket match to re-ignite the rationality that will serve us to become better citizens? Let’s hope not…

So as you sit there dwelling on the lack of progression to the final on the part of the Pakistani team today, I’m sitting here asking you all to reflect on something beyond that as progression is one that is measured by the willingness to realize and evolve towards obtaining a larger goal. The goal to unite, the goal to speak and to be heard…the very premise on which Pakistan was coined!

…well that’s my take on it!

Kudos to the Pakistani cricket team for their heightened efforts and for illustrating the essence of what one may call a torch-bearer! These men have truly left us all with some pivotal thoughts to unravel and tackle. Vitruvius indeed!

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