By Sarah Walton
There are events so catastrophic that they must be remembered … because they cannot be forgotten.
Further, these monstrous events must be remembered because, despite the annihilation, pain, anguish and suffering, they are events that chronicle survival and growth out of tragedy. They are events that teach profound truths to humanity, lessons that must be learned if the human race – not just the Jews and Israel – are to survive, change and grow.
For the Jewish nation and Israel, there have been several historical tragedies that cannot be forgotten -- some ancient, some recent.
Ancient tragedies -- such as the Babylonian Captivity, the enslavement in Egypt and the several colonial conquests of the ancient land of Israel -- are chronicled in the Torah and/or memorialized in various Jewish holidays and holy days.
The Holocaust, historically but a moment ago, is undeniably the most catastrophic event in the entire history of the Jews. Yet the death of the Six Million has strengthened the resolve, the ethos and the soul of the Jews.
Furthermore, the Holocaust, in several ways, led to the return of the Jewish Nation to the land of ancient – and now modern – Israel. Thus it MUST be remembered, because from near-annihilation came burgeoning restoration.
In a few short weeks another event will occur that will mark a tragic anniversary for Israel and the Jews: the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England. However, the event that was so horrible for Israel will pass unnoticed by the rest of the world.
And what was that tragedy?
Forty years ago eight Palestinian terrorists -- part of the Black September group – entered the residential complex of the 1972 Munich Olympics and violently took most of the Israeli Olympic team hostage (killing two at the onset). Ultimately their heinous action would lead to the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches, five of their own members and several Germans,
Will this 40-year anniversary be commemorated in London? No.
Has their ever been an international memorial performed for those lost Israeli athletes? No.
All that exists are small plaques at the Munich Olympic site and where the athletes were housed, a small monument in Ben-Shemen Forest in Israel and a plaque situated near the site of the 2000 Sidney Olympics.
(Aside: Isn’t it ironic that a country founded by ex-criminals, containing fewer Jews than virtually any other major English-speaking nation would finally memorialize the Munich Massacre? Good one, Australia!)
And, while the world once again takes no notice of tragedies that have happened to the Jews and/or to Israel, there are a host of underlying factors, results and consequences also being ignored.
For instance, hostilities occurring elsewhere in the world traditionally are suspended during the Olympics, as a nod toward the myth of world unity and cooperation they supposedly represent. The 1972 Munich Olympics was the first – and only – violation of that tacit understanding. The moral outrage and resolve that should have been expressed by the entire rest of the world was NEVER, ever manifested.
Never was there universal, worldwide condemnation of the event, nor of the Palestinian monsters who planned, backed and perpetrated the crime. Instead there was some minor hand-wringing and a series of nervous "tsk, tsks" muttered.The cowardice and fear shown by Israel's supposed allies, like the United States, was quite remarkable.
Nor has there been acknowledgment of the fact that the world changed after Munich, 1972.
One simple instance is the athletes themselves. Obviously it took years for Israel to re-establish it’s wrestling and fencing teams. Plus several countries’ athletes withdrew from the remainder of the 1972 Games, having lost any ability or urge to compete.
For Germany the consequences were never acknowledged. Yet the German police -- totally unprepared and tragically inept for what occurred -- instantly began building an elite counter-terrorist force, GSG 9, which still exists today.
Babylonia, Bergen-Belsen or Munich … the rest of the world tries to bury monstrous crimes by pretending they never happened, by forgetting.
Israel never forgets.