Why Shane should wait
It's easy to understand, then, why Kiwi cricket fans have been so frustrated by the way that a feud between Indian businessmen has kept Bond out of contention for our national side for the last couple of years. A player of Bond's class and delicacy should not have been confined to the Indian Premier League and New Zealand domestic cricket because of arcane contractual disputes.
Now Bond has walked away from the IPL, and Black Caps Fans are rejoicing. I'm very pleased that the man will be playing for New Zealand again, but I won't be watching him make his comeback on the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka. It may be hard for some of us to realise at times, but there are more important things than cricket. My friend Dhaya - a cricket-lover himself - explains what is really important in this letter, which is published in the latest issue of the National Distribution Union's paper Union News.
New Zealand Tamils are calling for the Black Caps tour to Sri Lanka that has been scheduled for August to be called off on the grounds that the Sri Lankan government has committed serious human rights violations and war crimes over the past few months.
Most of us know Sri Lanka for the 'Ceylon tea' and the Sri Lankan cricket team but many of us are not aware of the political situation and humanitarian crisis in the country. The majority Sinhalese government has discriminated against Tamils in Sri Lanka since independence from the British. Tamil politicians tried unsuccessfully to gain equal rights by democratic means before the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam took up an armed struggle over the last thirty years.
Recently the Sri Lankan government has claimed that it has defeated the Tigers. In their final battle, the Sri Lankan forces killed between 20,000 and 50,000 Tamil civilians. These claims cannot be verified as the Sri Lankan government has banned all non-governmental organisations and media from the conflict zones to hide their atrocities.
Currently there are about 300,000 Tamils being kept against their will in camps run by the military. Reports of torture, rapes, and killing have leaked out of the camps. Calls by many coutnries including New Zealand to permit aid amd media to enter the camps have been ignored by the Sri Lankan government. Yet the New Zealand government has remained silent about this tour and the New Zealand Cricket Board has stated that unless the New Zealand government instructs them not to go on the tour they will have to go ahead.
After reading Dhaya's words, and meeting some of the Auckland-based Tamils who have had family members caught up in the chaos in their homeland, I lost my enthusiasm to see Shane Bond back in action in August. If the price of his return is the endorsement of a regime which has committed massive human rights abuses, then Shane should wait a few months.