With my daughter entering her last month of pregnancy, and the London Olympics dominating the airwaves, I am reminded of the birth of my son. The Rocker was born on August 1st during the summer Olympics in LA. From our nest on the edge of a bird sanctuary in Pittsfield, MA, we got to know each other to the background of diving, swimming and gymnastic events. Without PCs or cable channels, the Olympic coverage was our only form of entertainment between nursing and napping. At his Bris, we had 2 Rabbis – the new one who had a portrait of Bob Dylan hanging in his office, and the elderly Rabbi Emeritus who has served the congregation for 60 years.
The Rocker was doubly blessed.
To be honest, I don’t remember much about the Munich 11. Twelve years before my son’s Berkshire birthday, a group of Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes in cold blood in the Munich Olympic Village. And this year, while I was visiting with the Bride and later attending my brother the Viking’s funeral, I became vaguely aware of a petition that was signed by presidents and dignitaries around the world. The petition asked for a “moment of silence” during the opening ceremony, a pause to remember those athletes who had been slain in Munich because they were Jews. The IOC denied the petition. Instead they had a moment of silence for those who have died in war before the televised opening ceremony, before the Queen and her Corgis made their spectacular entrance.
Sportscaster Bob Costas said, “For many, tonight, with the world watching, is the true time and place to remember those who were lost, and how and why they died.” Then I began to hear more about this petition. It was nothing new, in fact 2 widows of the Munich 11, Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, have been asking the Olympic Committee for a moment of silence since the massacre happened in 1972.
“This is something the I.O.C. ought to do,” NY Rep Elliot Engel said. “Those in the I.O.C. said this is political, and they don’t want to have politics in the Olympic Games. It’s the opposite. It’s political not to have a moment of silence. And if it were any other nation but Israel, there would be a moment of silence long ago. It’s the decent thing to do.” http://london2012.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/munich-widows-to-meet-with-rogge-to-urge-moment-of-silence/
My first thought, after the tragedy in Colorado, upon seeing my beautifully serene Blue Ridge Mountains, was why stir up the pot. I had seen Spielberg’s movie “Munich,” and thought this is madness, a biblical blood feud. But then I thought about those widows, and the mothers of the Israeli athletes, and I thought about how political it was for all the Arab states to threaten a boycott of the games if a moment of silence were observed. http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/07/24/olympic-committee-vp-fear-of-arab-boycott-led-to-minute-of-silence-rejection/ “Moments of silence have been held at previous Olympic ceremonies, including one remembering the victims of the 9/11 attack at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.” And then I thought…never agin. We must keep remembering; it’s politics that placed the Black athlete’s fists in the air in 1968, and it was politics that thrust thousands of Nazi arms out in salute to Hitler on August 1, 1936 at the Berlin games. Politics is interwoven in everything we do, but a moment of silence is testament to our humanity.