As England’s cricket team departed for their tour of Sri Lanka, Channel 4 questioned England coach and former Zimbabwean cricket Andy Flower, on whether England should be playing against Sri Lanka, at the team's press conference on Saturday.
See his report below.
Channel 4 News Foreign Editor Ben De Pear also questioned England’s decision to tour the island commenting that Sri Lanka had,
“allegations of perhaps the most serious war crimes and crimes against humanity committed this century.”
“The England players management, and the journalists following the team will find it difficult to talk openly about these subjects in the country, let alone report them; the country has one of the worst records in the world for press freedom and does not tolerate criticism.”
“This morning they seemed perturbed again when questioned by Jonathan Miller about the allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka.”
De Pear went on to state that Flower, along with team mate Olonga, had bravely protested against the “death of democracy” in Zimbabwe, forcing them into retirement, and had been shocked by Channel 4’s documentary “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”. Flower however, also told Channel 4,
"As I understand it, those investigations by the UN are still on-going, it is certainly not my position here to take a political stance.
"I know yours is a human rights question, but it's my position here not to take a political stance.”
De Pear continued to say that despite Flower’s statement,
“as a man who made a brave and principled stand he is unlikely not to think long and hard about this issue, and whether England should be touring Sri Lanka at this time.”
See his full piece here.
See our earlier posts:
Sri Lanka’s killing fields are ‘beyond the boundary’ (01 Feb 2012)
The myth of sports and repressive regimes (03 Aug 2011)
Australia’s cricketers should shun Sri Lanka (18 July 2011)
A force for good or ill? Cricket and Sri Lanka today (08 July 2011)
Why a sports boycott is essential for justice (02 July 2011)
Atherton: Tamils’ plight must prick English consciences (16 June 2011)
Impossible to ignore (21 June 2011)
The link between Sport and Politics (20 June 2011)
Desmond Tutu: Sports boycott crucial to ending apartheid (04 April 2011)