In the Summer of 1972 the Olympic games were set to take place in Munich, Bavaria, in Southern West Germany. As usual many people flocked to the host nation to get a good view of the best athletes in the world. But, what was supposed to be an Olympic games centered around the hype of USA swimmer Mark Spitz, and his attempt at a then Olympic record seven gold medals, turned out to be one of the worst Summer games of all time.
Well into the second week of Olympic competition a Palestinian group by the name of Black September kidnapped, and took hostage, several members of the Israeli Olympic team. Black September demanded that 234 prisoners held in Israeli jails, founders of the Red Army Faction Andreas Baader, and Ulrike Meinhof to be released immediately. After the terms were not met, and following a failed rescue attempt by the USA, 11 Israeli athletes were killed. Five of the eight members of Black Spetember were killed during the failed attack, and the three others were captured, but later released.
So, since this event marked one of the worst Olympic games of all time, and seeing how the 2012 London Olympics marked the 40th anniversary of said event, why has the IOC repeatedly refused to honor the Munich vitcims? I asked myself the same thing so, since I did not know the reasoning behind the IOC’s actions, I decided to research it, and found an interesting answer.
In a recent piece done by Benjamin Weinthal, and according to Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Israeli fencing coach Andre Spitzer talked about her conversation with IOC president Jacque Rogge. Rogge told her that his hands were tied, due to the fact that a 46 member bloc of Arab and Muslim countries were prepared to boycott participation in the Olympic games. Rogge told Spitzer that “his hands were tied” because of this, whereupon Spitzer replied, “No, my husband’s hands were tied, not yours.”
But, amidst all the blame being put on the IOC one must not forget that the USA is also at fault here. While the government cannot really make, or force anything to happen, there must be some people who are wondering why President Barack Obama has constantly refused to invite Israel to the U.S sponsored Global Counter-terrorism Forum. Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger had this to say about this situation, “the Liberals and Democrats who work on human-rights issues won’t like to hear this, but with the Obama presidency, human rights has completed its passage away from the political left, across the center and into its home mainly on the right — among neoconservatives and evangelical Christian activists.”
With a situation like this there is no real need to blame on specific person, rather the question needs to be asked, when will someone finally muster up the courage to take a stand and honor the Munich victims?
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