South California Cricket Communities Hold Solidarity Rally
By Shaista Khan
Pictures by Faiz Ahmed 

Pictures above: Glimpses of the Solidarity Rally held in Los Angeles

Los Angeles , CA : On a crisp March morning, they converged with an aim to relay a message. On the steps of City Hall Los Angeles the conveyors joined hands to condemn terrorism – loudly and unequivocally.

The message relayed on Saturday was that the atrocious act of terrorism  on March 3, 2009 at the Gadaffi  Stadium Lahore where six people were killed and members of the visiting Sri Lankan team injured, was not to be tolerated.

The congregation then marched around the small park, hand in hand with placards, banners, and flags chanting for peace and unity through cricket.

The event commenced with a welcome speech by Ms. Hassina Leelarathna, a leading Sri Lankan community journalist and activist.  “Violence in the cricketing world becomes all the more jarring because the game is associated with civility and decorum,” said Hassina.  She added, “These very endowments give cricket the potential to become a great unifying and healing force in our troubled world.”

Ms.Hassina then invited Ven Punyasiri, a Buddhist monk, to perform a prayer.

He was followed by Shaista Khan, COPAA BOD, who made a short speech and read out the names of the slain heroes. The brave policemen who died in the line of duty were: Mohommad Afzal  Butt, Zafar Khan, Mudassar Nadeem, Sultan Ahmed< Tipu Farid and Tanveer  Iqbal.  This was followed by a moment of silence.

Representative speeches were made by the three Consulates: Sri Lankan CG Mr. Ananda, acting CG Pakistan   Ahsan Wagan and Deputy CG Great  Britain David Wild. They spoke standing tall upon the steps, condemning the despicable attacks and cementing the camaraderie of cricket. Each spoke with fervor, captivating the congregation, and was generously applauded.

They were followed by individual and passionate speeches by COPAA President Adnan Khan; SCCA Cricket President T’ Shaka Lee; CPACC  President Jamal  Khwaja, Compton Cricket Club’s Ted Hayes; Abid Hussain, and finally, Mr. Dessa,  President of the  Sri Lankan Patriots.

Mrs. Shaista Khan then mentioned the names of two heroes: driver Zafar Khan ( Pakistan Cricket Board) and Mehar Khalil. They too were applauded for their brave acts.

The event ended with a peaceful rap song performed by Isaac of the Compton Cricket Club.

This event took five days from conception to birth and was successful in delivering a clear message. What more could one ask for on a Saturday morning?




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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