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Friday, 27 July 2012

A Minute for Munich

I am pleased that several Liberal Democrat MPs joined MPs from other parties to sign this Early Day Motion calling for an official minute's silence in memory of the eleven Israeli coaches and athletes murdered by terrorists at the Munich Olympics in 1972 (a terrorist being "someone who uses violent action, or threats of violent action, for political purposes"). 

During this minute's silence (I was not myself in Trafalgar Square), I thought of the eleven people who were murdered, and the West German policeman who was killed during the failed rescue attempt. I also thought of the people killed in the terrorist attack during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and of the people murdered by terrorists in London on 7 July 2005, a mere day after we had heard that London had won the 2012 Olympics.

By the way, the terrorist group at Munich called itself Black September, named after King Hussein's disgusting massacre of thousands of Palestinians in Jordan in September 1970. Had Black September used that Jordanian massacre of Palestinians as some warped justification for attacking Jordanian (not Israeli) Olympians in Munich in 1972, it would still have been an appalling terrorist atrocity, and one that could never be justified. Surely it is possible to be pro-Palestinian, and perhaps to be harshly critical of some Israeli policies and actions, without opposing a minute's silence for the Israelis murdered at Munich in 1972? Yet, according to the head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, a minute's silence for the Israelis murdered in Munich would contribute towards "divisiveness and the spread of racism". 

So, if a dislike of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians is to be a motive for not memorialising murdered Israelis, should a dislike of the the UK's war in Iraq be a motive for not memorialising the victims of 7/7? If Kurdish terrorists murdered Turkish athletes in the Olympic village, would we see Turkey's appalling treatment of the Kurds as a reason not to observe a minute's silence for those Turkish Olympians who had been murdered? What about if it was Kashmiri separatists murdering Indian athletes? Or Chechen terrorists murdering Russian athletes? 

The International Olympic Committee really should institute a minute's silence every four years for everyone murdered by terrorists in or around the Olympic Games.

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