It's time for Sangakkara's class to recall Martin Niemoller's poem over the right of free speech

Sri Lanka Cricket announced that the Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage directed the new Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee Jayantha Dharmadasa to express his views on the content of ex-captain Kumara Sangakkara's 2011 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture.

The Minister has directed the Sri Lanka Cricket interim Chairman to look into if Sangakkara's criticism on the Sri Lanka cricket administration amounted breach of sports law of the country.

Stating "In Sri Lanka, cricket and politics have been synonymous", Sangakkara went on to say "After 1996 the cricket board has been controlled and administered by a handful of well-meaning individuals either personally or by proxy rotated in and out depending on appointment or election. Unfortunately to consolidate and perpetuate their power they opened the door of the administration to partisan cronies that would lead to corruption and wonton waste of cricket board finances and resources.

"It was and still is confusing. Accusations of vote buying and rigging, player interference due to lobbying from each side and even violence at the AGMs, including the brandishing of weapons and ugly fist fights, have characterised cricket board elections for as long as I can remember.

"The team lost the buffer between itself and the cricket administration. Players had become used to approaching members in power directly trading favours for mutual benefits and by 1999 all these changes in administration and player attitudes had transformed what was a close knit unit in 1996 into a collection of individuals with no shared vision or sense of team."

Sangakkara further says, "We have to aspire to better administration. The administration needs to adopt the same values enshrined by the team over the years: integrity, transparency, commitment and discipline.

"Unless the administration is capable of becoming more professional, forward-thinking and transparent then we risk alienating the common man. Indeed, this is already happening. Loyal fans are becoming increasingly disillusioned. This is very dangerous because it is not the administrators or players that sustain the game– it is the cricket-loving public. It is their passion that powers cricket and if they turn their backs on cricket then the whole system will come crashing down.

"The solution to this may be the ICC taking a stand to suspend member boards with any direct detrimental political interference and allegations of corruption and mismanagement. This will negate the ability to field representative teams or receive funding and other accompanying benefits from the ICC. But as a Sri Lankan I hope we have the strength to find the answers ourselves."

Daily Telegraph that posted the full speech delivered by Sangakkara quoted, "Kumar Sangakkara delivered an exceptional speech in his 2011MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, touching on the history, culture and opportunties for Sri Lankan cricket as well a moving recounting of the terrorist attack on their team bus in Pakistan."

Martin Niemoller's poem we mentioned in the topic is as follows:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

This is what Wikipedia says about Martin Niemoller:

Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a German anti-Nazi theologian[1] and Lutheran pastor. He is best known as the author of the poem First they came....
Although he was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler,[2] he became one of the founders of the Confessional Church, which opposed the nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis' Aryan Paragraph,[3] but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic.[4] For his opposition to the Nazis' state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen andDachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945.[5][6] He narrowly escaped execution and survived imprisonment.[7] 

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  1. Sports minister's reaction to Sanga's speech again proved Sanga's point that there is too much political interference in Sri Lankan cricket. If Sports minister was a clever and intelligent person, he would have just kept quiet allowing Sanga's employers to deal with it if they deemed appropriate.

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