Letter: Unrepentant rebels

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The Independent Online
Sir: Sir Colin Cowdrey says the lifting of the ban on Mike Gatting and his rebels is a 'conciliatory move forward' ('ICC ends exile for Gatting and his rebels', 9 July). The theological concept of reconciliation has the added dimensions of repentance and restitution. The South African government, too, finds both of these difficult to grasp. It talks of reconciliation, prefers not to mention repentance (apartheid was an error, not a sin) and clearly sees no need for restitution, despite the glaring injustice apartheid has created.

Mr Gatting himself has never expressed regrets, either to the millions of victims of apartheid whose plea for sanctions he ignored, or over the effects of his actions on his fellow sports people. Indeed, at the end of his protest-ruined tour, he wanted to complete a second proposed tour. It was Dr Ali Bacher's change of heart that stopped it, and it was the conciliatory African National Congress that opened the doors for South Africa's full return to international cricket.

Should the English cricket establishment consider cricket rebels who are still unrepentant worthy of a return to the nation's colours they spurned - for rather more than 30 pieces of silver?

The ICC and the rebels should read Amnesty International's 1992 Report. The section on South Africa begins: 'Hundreds of opponents of the government were victims of politically motivated killings carried out by the security forces or with their complicity.' Reconciliation is an empty word if the injustice continues and there is no repentance and restitution.

Yours faithfully,

MAGGIE PATERSON

Southern Africa Desk Officer

Catholic Institute for

International Relations

London, N1

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