What’s the news in Bangladesh this week? World Cup Cricket.
Bangladesh is one of three South Asian nations co-sponsoring the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and they couldn’t be more excited. It’s the first international sports tournament ever held here, the local team is doing decently (which is not always true in other years), and the place has been all spiffed up to accommodate tourists and reporters who want to take good pictures and good impressions.
(Don’t ask me to explain the actual game, because I am American, and it’s not cool to understand Cricket. It’s against patriotism or something to understand the game, I might be sent back to Washington for sports re-indoctrination!)
Cricket is not just a source of national pride these days, it’s also a source of national zaniness. Why? Because televised cricket (8 hour long matches) + rolling blackouts = panic. It happens with World Cup Soccer/Football too, and those matches are much shorter…. The government doesn’t want their citizens to miss out on a second of that crazy cricket action. So… they shut down the manufacturing sector on game nights and hope the reduction in power usage by factories will enable all the TVs in Dhaka to keep glowing.
If they didn’t, they might see a repeat of the 2010 Soccer World Cup riots, in which tens of thousands of people took to the streets when the live broadcast was interrupted by power cuts.
And, just FYI, it’s not working. We’ve still got rolling blackouts. Not to mention the garment manufacturing sector is the only significant economic sector here (80% of exports!), so they’re legitimately protesting the loss of income and wages.
There must be a reason why Dhaka signed a deal this week with Russia to build a nuclear power plant here.