Monday, July 4, 2011
TERRORISM IN MUNICH ~~ PERSONAL ~~ FACE OF EVIL
I was motivated by two events these days to write about my personal experience while working in Munich, Germany at the "Olympisches Dorf" which in German means "Olympic Village" This is where the athletes lived during the games and where the workers who provided services to the athletes also lived including myself. This was the 1972 Olympic Games.
Today is the fourth of July, representing the US Independence from Great Britain and commemorating the adoption of the declaration of Independence on July 4th here in the United States.
I have been following the Women's World Cup in Soccer which coincidentally are being held in Germany.
In one event we are united as a nation and in the other, we are united by all nations, or so that is the intent.
The following are the events I personally experience in the Massacre of the Israeli Olympic team:
The above images reveal me working in the Kitchen at the Olympic Village and then you see the "Security Badge" we had to wear to gain access to the Village when leaving for the city.
I had taken a break from my studies in Greece and went to Munich since people from the entire world would be flocking to Munich for the 20th Olympiad. There would be plenty of jobs, I was thinking. Without going into details, lets just say I must have been at the right time and place. I have to characterize my finding a job at the Olympic Village nothing short than a miracle as I was about to get back on the train and return to Thessaloniki Greece when I met a person on the streets of Munich and then directed me to too other people who then sent me to the Olympic Complex
I was hired to work for the Kempinski Hotel chain in which was at that time and maybe still is known as the "Hilton of Germany". I was delegated to the food services department. I worked in the kitchen and the main floor where the athletes eat. I had the opportunity to meet King Constantine from Greece. He is known for his medal in sailing. Of coarse, met all the stars of medal winners including Mark Spitz, etc.
One or two days prior to the Massacre I met one of the athletes from the Israeli team. His name was David Berger. He was a weightlifter. He was living in New York at the time but was of Israeli heritage , therefore made the Israeli team. Think about it for a second, ~~ because of his race he was murdered as were all his colleges on the Israeli team.
Me, being a very friendly person engaged in conversation with him when serving him. He spoke Hebrew and I was studying Hebrew at the University in Greece. I solicited his tutor. My project was to learn the book of Ruth in the old testament. To be able to read and translate any verses in the book. David Berger was not given the opportunity to meet with me as his live was taken from him.
I woke up the next morning, it was my day off. My roommate and I had breakfast together and he taught me some words in his native Language as he was from a Sioux tribe in South Dakota, USA.
As I was walking through the village complex towards the dorm I was living at, I saw an unusual gathering of cameramen in front of the athlete's dorms. Now, it was not unusual that there are gathering of cameramen surrounding an athlete or two but this was massive. It caught my curiosity as I was walking towards the crowd of reporters and cameramen. I asked what was going on and I was shocked to hear what I was told. I learned the details of the hostages and was told two athletes from the Israeli team were already shot and the body was thrown outside the door by the terrorists to show they were sincere in their objective to kill all the members of the Israeli team if the German officials did not release 236 prisoners incarcerated in Israel and Germany and then their own safe passage to Cairo.
I personally was in shock the entire day. Even though I was young I felt the spirit of unity of the world until this moment. I had seen each country check in with their national anthem played. This was done in the village in addition to the ceremony traditionally played in the stadium. This meant so much more to me and the athletes. It was much more of a personal experience. It was like seeing what is happening with the athletes behind the scene. We would be in our dorms and could hear what country arrived when he heard their national anthem was played. In fact my native friend and I played a game, to see who could identify the country when hearing their anthem.
That night was the longest night of my life. We could hear helicopters outside and when we looked over the balcony of our dorm we saw the terrorists with machine guns in the back of the hostages who were handcuffed, leading them to the nearby parking lot where later we learned that the helicopters picked up the hostages and the terrorists and took them to the nearby Munich airport. About two hours later we heard that all the hostages were murdered and two of the terrorist were captured.
By morning time, the next day, we got a bulletin that the if the two terrorists held in jail in Munich were not released, the Olympic village would be blown up. We all took this threat to be real after what we just witnessed the day before. I then learned that one of the two murdered in the village was David Berger. My heart skipped a few beats.
The games were postponed one day. Flags were at half mass with the exception of those from the Arab nations who refused to lower their flags. I was given the option to leave and I decided to stay at least until the end of the Olympics in honor of David Berger and the entire Israeli team. Needless to say, no further attacks were made on the village.
I cannot conceive of anything more dark and distant from the light of our creator than not only taking the life of another, but willing to kill ones self to do so. A form of disrespect for the gifts bestowed us by our creator that is as dark as it gets. I can only suggest that this is truly the face of EVIL.
A venue of world peace attacked in the Olympics, or taking the lives of women and children with no faces. Humans whom you have never seen or knew anything about in the Twin Towers.These were humans who may have just created plans for marriage, who were about to honor a loved one who just passed on, whom had not been seen in years ~~ some mother may have just given birth to new life.
How does one deal with such pain. I say ~~ Prayer:
Please join with me a prayer for those who lost lives from terrorism and for those who took them.
The Israeli 1972 Olympic team with David Berger in far upper right corner.
Oh creator of all things good, we solicit your light in times of darkness when our understanding of life's events challenge our reason. For those who have survived the victims of atrocities. For those who have strayed from your path and for those families of who commented those atrocities. The pain is from opposite poles, but nevertheless deep human pain. May your gracious rule be extended to all those who need comfort, that those affected may see the wrong path clearly from the right path. That they find the good path and promote unity and peace for this world! May we be conscious of love this 4th of July.
Does peace really have to have a price of human life in this world as historically been the case? I will always exercise the philosophy of Gandhi who preaches non violence methods for peace and unity.