The Edmond Sun


July 27, 2012

Ghosts of Munich 1972 deserve London moment

ENID — The Olympic ideal is indeed a lofty one. “Citius, altius, fortius,” or “faster, higher, stronger,” is the Olympic motto.

The spirit of the games is captured in the Olympic charter, which outlines the principles of what it terms “Olympism,” the second of which is “to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

Peace, harmony, dignity are certainly all admirable objectives.

Sadly, the darker side of human nature often seems to hang over the games.

Friday in London, thousands of athletes from all across the world marched into the Olympic stadium, in the wake of their country’s flags, reveling in the moment and nervously anticipating their upcoming competition.

A similar scene played out in Munich, Germany, nearly 40 years ago.

The games were making their triumphant return to Germany in 1972, the first time the Olympic flag had flown over Deutschland since Adolph Hitler’s 1936 games.

They marched in blue blazers and white slacks, wearing matching hats. There were no smiles, their faces set, their expressions determined.

They walked into the stadium behind Henry Herscovici, a competitive shooter, who bore the Israeli flag.

Before the games, Herscovici said he had nightmares of being shot while carrying a flag bearing the Star of David in a German stadium.

He wasn’t. The parade of nations went off without a hitch.

Ten days later, in the wee hours of the morning, after spending a night out enjoying a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof,” members of Israel’s Olympic team were sound asleep in their apartments.

Their slumber was disturbed by the presence of men in tracksuits carrying duffle bags.

They scaled the fence around the Olympic village with the help of some Canadian athletes who were likewise sneaking in after a night out on the town.

But these intruders were not athletes. They were members of a Palestinian terror group called Black September. Their aim was to kidnap the Israeli athletes, to use them to barter the freedom of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, plus a pair of German radicals.

The Israelis fought the intruders and two men died in the struggle, the wrestling coach and a weight lifter. Herscovici was not among the remaining hostages, as he and several other Israeli athletes escaped.

During the course of the day, the world watched and waited as the kidnappers and authorities negotiated. That night, authorities told the kidnappers their demands were being met, including an airplane to carry them to Egypt.

The kidnappers and hostages were bused to the Munich airport. Helicopters took them to Furstenfeldbruck, a NATO air base, where a plane waited.

There, authorities had set a trap, the goal to free the hostages and capture or kill the Palestinians. The ambush failed, miserably.

In the wake of the botched rescue attempt, 11 Israelis, five kidnappers and one German policeman died.

Another casualty of that terrible day and night was the innocence of the Olympic movement.

Today’s games are a billion-dollar business whose competitions feature many highly paid professionals.

Today, four decades hence, we stand on the brink of the London games, which figures to be the most closely guarded, most heavily insured Olympiad in history. One would think it appropriate to mark the coming anniversary of the Munich massacre in some highly public form or fashion at the London games.

A group of widows of the slain Israeli athletes appealed to the IOC to observe a moment of silence during the opening ceremony to honor the slain hostages.

The IOC refused, instead deciding to observe a moment of silence this past Monday in the Olympic village, before a crowd of about 100 people.

The kidnap drama and subsequent blood-letting was played out in front of the world. So too should be the observance of the anniversary of the massacre.

Is the IOC bowing to pressure from international supporters of Palestine and foes of Israel, or do its officials simply not want to spoil the glitz of the premier of another Olympics with the somber remembrance of past despair?

“They came to Munich in the spirit of peace and solidarity,” Rogge said during the small ceremony. “We owe it to them to keep the spirit alive and to remember them.”

The slain Israeli athletes and coaches deserve to be remembered on the world stage, by the billions expected to watch the opening ceremonies in person and on TV, not before 100 people in a cloistered ceremony.

Certainly the IOC can spare the murdered Israelis a minute.

JEFF MULLIN is senior writer of the Enid News & Eagle. Email him at

Text Only
  • Hinkle, Mike 2011 copy.jpg HEY HINK: Border crisis shows nation’s unforgivable unwillingness to act

    After years of unforgiveable neglect, the festering illness on America’s southern border has erupted into a full-blown crisis. Thousands of vulnerable children are being used as pawns in a cynical, multifaceted game where unscrupulous powers maneuver behind the scenes to exploit them for money, political advantage and soulless ideology. Our government is responding with the precision, speed and effectiveness of the victim of a stun grenade.
    We may have our doubts, but for the moment, let’s credit the rehearsed explanation we’re getting: These children are fleeing violence of their home countries in Central and South America. Let’s assume Mexico is either powerless to stop the flood, or has a credible explanation for why it won’t.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • AGAINST THE GRAIN: Author’s account of Johannesburg features growing pains

    American journalist Douglas Foster wrote in “After Mandela, The Struggle For Equality in Post- Apartheid South Africa” of the City of Johannesburg in South Africa that “It does not have a humble bone in its body.” And Johannesburg native Mark Gevisser recently has authored a memoir titled, “Lost And Found In Johannesburg” in which he gives some insight into the civic pride of that city.

    July 8, 2014

  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A robust armed force for Japan could be a plus for the U.S.

    Japan, changing course from its post-1945 posture of pacificism, is turning toward assuming a more vigorous military posture.

    July 8, 2014

  • Oklahoma’s iron triangle resists educational choice

    Survey data continually show that Oklahomans favor policies that give parents more educational options. However, enacting those policies has proven to be difficult. A simple metaphor can help explain why.

    July 7, 2014

  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Boehner’s lawsuit against Obama is a bad move

    Most Americans would agree that this nation has too much partisanship and too many lawsuits. In announcing recently that he will seek legislation for the House of Representatives to sue President Barack Obama, Speaker John Boehner embraces a double dose of negativity.

    July 7, 2014

  • Rise of regional government may prove taxing

    I recently have written about bills from the last legislative session, which mostly escape wide public purview but contain far-reaching policy. The news has been mostly positive as I have either described harmful bills that were defeated, or good policy that won approval.
    Now for some bad news.

    July 7, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Dissenters from all sides should read Hobby Lobby ruling fully before judging

    This May, the Crown Publishing Group published Timothy Geithner’s book, “Stress Test,” which covers some aspects of his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury in the Obama administration. One episode he covers relates to the prep he received from Dan Pfeiffer prior to Geithner’s appearance on a series of Sunday TV talk shows. At the time, Pfeiffer was President Obama’s senior advisor.

    July 3, 2014

  • The American way of war: It may surprise you

    When you study how the U.S. goes to war, there is a prevalent though not perfect pattern. The triggering event is often a sudden crisis that galvanizes popular opinion and becomes the immediate occasion for military intervention but subsequently is exposed as a misguided perception or outright fabrication.

    July 3, 2014

  • Get ready for an even bigger threat to Obamacare

    Now that the Supreme Court has issued its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, the legal fight over the Affordable Care Act will shift a few blocks away to another Washington courtroom, where a far more fundamental challenge to Obamacare is about to be decided by the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Indeed, if Hobby Lobby will create complications for Obamacare, Halbig v. Burwell could trigger a full cardiac arrest.

    July 3, 2014

  • Happy birthday, America. Now legalize fireworks.

    Through the smoke of Roman candles and bottle rockets, the absurdity of Americans' obsession with do-it-yourself explosives is nonetheless clear: One day each year, we gather with neighbors, friends and loved ones to blow stuff up in our backyards. Go, U.S.A.!

    July 3, 2014


U.S. Senate candidates Randy Brogdon, U.S. Rep. James Lankford and state Rep. T.W. Shannon recently discussed their views about the Federal Reserve and its monetary policies at a forum. All three called for an audit of the banking institution. Do you agree?

Yes, there should be an audit of the Federal Reserve
No, an audit is not necessary
     View Results