The Corner

Not Cricket

Michael, I take your point, but the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan is very different from what happened at Munich.

The slaughter of the Israeli athletes was extremely popular among wide swathes of Arab public opinion. By contrast, the attempted slaughter of Sri Lankan cricketers is unlikely to be terribly popular among Pakistanis at large. Pakistanis like to watch first-class cricket: It’s one of their few functioning links with the wider world — or, at any rate, the British Commonwealth bits of it — and one of the last things that prevent them from sinking entirely into a toxic Islamist squat. The New Zealand team has already canceled its tour on security grounds. England, Oz, the Windies, South Africa will do likewise. The scheduled co-hosting of the 2011 Cricket World Cup by Pakistan now has a big question mark over it.

So, unlike the Arab assault on Israel, this seems less a terrorist attack on your enemy than a terrorist attack on one of the last prominent remnants of civilized norms in your own country. Whether it’s the LeT or some other group, it’s a significant move in the Islamist campaign to hollow out the Pakistani state and seize what’s left (including the nukes).

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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