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Choosing Shame Over Honor

IOC president Jacques Rogge with Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad

IOC president Jacques Rogge with Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad
Photo Credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90

The rescue was an example of supreme incompetence. I’m not sure that the Germans could have done a worse job if they tried. If you doubt this, read about it here. I struggle today to try to believe that the outcome would have been the same, even if the victims hadn’t been Jews.

On September 6th, before callously resuming the games, the IOC quickly threw together a “memorial” service of sorts – a pathetic attempt to pay lip service to the blood and sacrifice Israel had made. The remaining members of the Israeli team flew home – there was nothing for them in Germany after the massacre. The bodies of the terrorists were given to Libya to a hero’s welcome. Outrage piles on top of outrage. Later, to release the few terrorists the Germans actually managed to capture, Palestinians easily hijacked a plane, made their demands, and Germany quickly crumbled and released them to more celebrations. Outrage piles on top of outrage.

Each time the International Olympics Committee refuses to build a permanent memorial or commemorate in any way the desecration of the Olympics and the murder of the Israelis, I remember the feelings of anger, helplessness and yes, sheer disbelief.

And yet again…the IOC has shamed the Olympics – this time by refusing sixty seconds of silence in memory of the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre. These are sixty seconds they will not give to the memory of athletes who died believing the IOC and others would adequately see to their security (Israel was forced to accept German and IOC assurances when they raised their concerns in advance of the Olympics in 1972).

In 1976, the Israeli team came to the Olympics with a black ribbon tied around the Israeli flag during the opening ceremony. I hope this year, the Israeli team will do the same. But more, I hope other countries will do this as well.

Peace and sports cannot be advanced by ignoring the terror, the anger, the hatred, and the murder aimed at those Israeli athletes. Sixty seconds can be used to pay tribute…or they can be ignored as yet another dose of outrage.

If you are attending the Olympics – please tie a black ribbon on your arm. Almost 90,000 people have signed a petition asking for those 60 seconds. The petition, though I signed it, is meaningless because the IOC continues to refuse this request and in their refusal, they do honor not to the Munich 11, not to our Israeli athletes who trusted the IOC with their lives, but rather, the IOC does honor to the terrorists who violated the Olympics and forever draped the games with the blood of the innocent.

The honor and dignity, if there can be any, goes to the Israeli athletes and to Israel itself; the shame and disgust goes to the Olympic committee. And the 60 seconds of silence – it will be observed in my home as I light a memorial candle and let it burn; for the victims and for the games themselves that have been forever tarnished. For 60 seconds, the athletes and audience and around the world, 60 seconds of silence could have been a show of triumph over terror, of honor in brotherhood and peace – instead, they will remain, 40 years late and beyond, an endless mark of shame.

About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.


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