The SL cricket team is under stringent security arrangements, as they risk suffering a backlash from the war in SL from the Tamils in the UK.
However, the UK has a large Sinhalese diaspora as well, and a lot of them will be going to see some of SL’s matches in the Twenty20 – how many matches will be determined on how well the team performs. SL play their Group C matches at Nottingham. Now, I don’t know how many Sri Lankans live in Nottingham, but it is sure to be a substantial amount, and of course, they will be attracting people from Birmingham, and maybe even from Manchester, as well as other parts of the country.
Following the largely negative press that the Sri Lankan government, and thus, by default, the Sinhalese people have been getting, large gatherings of Sinhalese fans risk becoming the focus of some angry Tamil protesters. I don’t mean to say that the Tamils (when I say Tamils, I mean LTTE supporters – they are not always the same thing), would go as far as seriously injure a Sinhalese person, but say around 10 – 20 Tamils went to protest against the SL team outside say, Trent Bridge on matchday, and came into contact with 10-20 Sri Lankan supporters, things could get out of hand. The authorities should be wary of this, and take the necessary precautions.
Obviously this is unlikely, as the Tamil diaspora do like to promote a ‘whiter-than-white’ image of themselves, and so attacking a member of the Sinhalese community would go some way towards turning the British public against them.
But, it is a possibilty. I mean, I’m going to Lords on Wednesday with some (non-Sri Lankan) friends. I will be meeting up with them at St Johns Wood, which means travelling on the tube on my own. Now, I don’t mind this, but it does mean that wearing an SL shirt, and maybe carrying a flag in my bag, around London would not be wise. And going to see an SL match for me is not the same without my SL shirt and flag.
I’m sure others around the country will be feeling the same thing. What I am trying to get at is that at this time, when SL supporters in the UK will get the chance of seeing the team play in the UK in a ‘major’ competition, they should not be deprived of the chance to show a little bit of patriotism, and should be able to do so without feeling a little apprehensive of being singled out by an angry Tamil public.
I’d like to think that SL fans will turn out in their numbers, decked out in Royal Blue and Gold, in their flags, and maybe, if allowed, some instruments.
Lets hope the Tamils will keep their political woes political eh?