Saturday, July 28, 2012

Watching the Olympics

Like a lot of people, we watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics yesterday.  This is the first Olympics in eight years that I haven't been traveling, so it was nice to watch.  I'm not sure it was my favorite opening ceremony, but it had a beauty.  I loved hearing all the hymns sung and the children's stories.  Those were prettily done.  And Rowan Atkinson!  You can't help but laugh!

I watched interested, aware of the request by the families of the Israeli athletes killed 40 years ago in the Olympic village for a moment of silence, a memorial of sort.  I was aware that it had been denied explaining it was "inappropriate" to have a memorial on a night like this.

Then we watched the ceremony.  There was a beautiful scene where Emile Sande sang "Abide with Me" and they showed photos floating across the stadium.  (How they did that, I don't know.) They were photos of loved ones that members of the audience had lost in the last years.

Excuse me?

Now, it seems on the news this morning that if you were in the US, you didn't see that part as the US network chose to cut it and show a interview of Michael Phelps.  There is a lot of chatter on the web from people in Britian offended that their memorial - unspoken perhaps, but clear that some of it was at least dedicated to the victims of the terrorist attack of 7/7 - was left out of American broadcasting.  Poor taste, and I am ashamed of them.  Not only was it beautiful and worth seeing, it is insensitive, as the British understand, to cut out a memorial to people brutally murdered.  I hope America apologizes.  It needs to.  As an American, I am sorry we did this.

Let me get this perfectly clear.  I am glad they had a memorial to those killed on 7/7 and to other loved ones members of the audience lost.  Grief and loss are common to all man and has a place even on our happiest days.  Joy and grief walk hand in hand in our lives.  I'm glad they included that section.

But my mind went to the families of the Israeli athletes, to the Israeli team, to those who were told NO.  Your grief does not have a place here.  Where else?  Is this not where they were killed - at the Olymics?  Is this not who they were - part of the Olympic family?

I wonder if the answer would have been different if it had been a team from Chili whose place crashed leaving the Olympic Village?  If it had been a Latvian team who a crazy man gunned down?  All it should have come down to was that a whole team of athletes from a country were murdered by a group of men simply because of who they were.  And they deserved their memorial for that massacre.  It would have been fitting.  They have waited long enough.

It hurts when that memorial is cut out.

I hope that their day will come, and we will remember before we forget.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Hi, Ellie, and thanks for leaving a comment on my blog last week. I appreciate all the time you took to explain about living and sharing homes with others, and embracing that generous spirit that so many cultures have but which North Americans can't figure out. Your insights are wonderful, and thank you so much for sharing them. Bless you!