Living In 1984

In 1984, the government controls every aspect of its citizens’ lives: speech, actions and thoughts are policed. Omnipresent surveillance hangs in a perilous gloom over the heads of all people.

It was, of course, a fictional, worst-case scenario envisaged by Orwell in a dystopian future, but several governments around the world have flirted with concepts described in 1984.

I view the BCCI as a wannabe government; a totalitarian micro-state operating in a purely solipsistic existence. Indeed, many of its senior members are seasoned politicians, and this is reflected in both its actions and its policies: it is an organization infected by greed to its very core.

Broadly speaking, poor governance can either be borne out of sheer incompetence or willing maleficence. When one looks at the broad history of the BCCI, its financial successes must be appreciated in the context of its steamrolling nature – both on a business level (read: monopoly), and on a personal level, where abuses of power are whitewashed in kangaroo courts, should they ever reach that stage.

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For us, the Orwellian parallels became all too clear a few days ago, as we were informed that we were to be ‘suspended’ by Twitter, due to a BCCI complaint.

Ostensibly, this complaint was made under the guise of a a copyright breach – I shared a link to an online stream to one of our followers on Twitter, over a year ago, during a Pakistan vs Australia match, outside the jurisdiction of the BCCI. This ‘breach’ was back-fitted so as to be relevant to the ongoing Champions League T20.

I hope that game was worth the drama, @sdata11...

I hope that the game was worth the drama, @sdata11…

Yes, dear friends. We were banned by the BCCI, for being cricket enthusiasts.

The fallout is that if you’ve ever linked to a site on Twitter and – even if it didn’t at the time – it now hosts a stream, your account could be suspended.

Especially if you’ve previously embarrassed the BCCI on a worldwide scale, and they’re now aware that you’re gathering evidence for a match-fixing investigation.

The fallout was phenomenal, and the support of our readers was brilliant. From tongue-in-cheek hashtags to photoshopped pictures to a #FreeAltCricket Twitter account, our readers and listeners mobilized within a matter of hours of the suspension being revealed.

Even Gideon Haigh wrote a flattering article in support of our mini-plight: “Nothing so recommends a message as the idea that someone, somewhere doesn’t want you to hear it – it’s the history of the samizdat.”

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If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

The bittersweet irony about our Twitter suspension was that it occurred at the same time as a feature on alternative cricket coverage was published in The Hindu. The piece opens with a quote from our website: “We do not bow to popular notions of censorship.”

I’m not one for fate or divine coincidence, but it was hard not to let out a wry smile. Which may or may not have soon resulted in falling to my knees with tears streaming down my cheeks, as I shouted: “CURSE YE, OH CRUEL FATE!”

I’ve personally received at least 2,000 messages in the past few days, as my inbox will attest to. Below is a pic of the emails I’ve not even had a chance to open yet – they’ve been coming in faster than I can type, so if I don’t get to you, please accept my sincerest thanks in supporting our cause.

Yes, I still use Hotmail...

Yes, I still use Hotmail…

And if you’re a member of the BCCI to whom I haven’t got back to just yet, please imagine that I replied with any two-word combination of expletives as per your own persuasion.

Largely thanks to your emails to Twitter, we have now been reinstated. Once again, I can only extend my gratitude to you for your warmth and appreciation upon our return.

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The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.

If only the BCCI were as zealous about stamping out corruption within their own organization, as they are intent on clamping down on those who a pose a threat to its reputation.