Lahore attack memories fresh in Broad’s mindMay 12th, 2009 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS
London, May 12 (IANS) Memories of the gruesome Lahore attack are haunting match referee Chris Broad, who along with Sri Lankan cricketers miraculously escaped the terrorists’ gunshots in March.
Broad, who was officiating in the Test series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, spent last weekend looking forward to a relaxing Sunday night at the cinema with son Stuart and daughter Gemma. Little did he know that the flashbacks of that life-threatening moment would come alive in the first scene.
“We went to watch State of Play,” Broad said.
“It is the new Helen Mirren movie, my kind of film, but we were sat right at the front of the auditorium and the film starts with an attack, a bullet being fired at one of the characters. Instantly I recognised it as exactly the same sound I heard when I was lying in the van at Liberty Roundabout. It’s very difficult to describe, but it is the real thudding sound of a bullet hitting a body.
“As soon as I heard it I thought, ‘Oh.’ It was unbelievably real. That is probably the first film I have seen where there has been gunfire and a very lifelike event, and because I have witnessed it, perhaps it brought it all back. Or maybe it was just that the sound was so loud it made me shudder.
“It will never leave me. You can’t erase memories like that. But hopefully there will be some good that comes out of it,” Broad was quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph.
In Lahore, the terrorists fired bullets at a bus carrying the cricketers and match officials, killing seven policemen and a bus driver.
The chief targets, the cricketers and match officials, have all been able to recover from their injuries and go back to work. This takes real courage, especially in the case of Pakistanni umpire Ahsan Raza, the fourth official who suffered a collapsed lung and a damaged liver as a result of a bullet that struck him in the back.
“It’s fantastic news that Ahsan Raza has actually umpired a game since then. I’ve been in touch with him on email and he has made a remarkable recovery in such a short space of time. The problem is that with no international cricket in Pakistan, he is going to have it tough in the next couple of years.”
Broad himself spent much of last month refereeing the World Cup qualifying tournament in South Africa.
“It was a nice, low-profile series, and they all behaved themselves.”
But he, like fellow umpires Simon Taufel and Steve Davis, has had to undergo counselling for post-traumatic stress.
“You can never be totally confident that this sort of thing won’t happen,” said Broad,
“But you want to get to the situation where security is thought about and properly considered, and not just for players, but officials too.”
Tags: ahsan, bullets, bus driver, collapsed lung, courage, daily telegraph, damaged liver, fantastic news, flashbacks, gemma, gunfire, helen mirren, memories, policemen, referee, sri lankan cricketers, state of play, terrorists, test series, umpire