London’s Opening Ceremonies May Include Munich Memorial After All
Memorial for Munich victims being considered for Olympic opening; likely won’t include moment of silence
After months of lobbying by Israeli officials for a minute-long moment of silence at the opening ceremony of this year’s London Olympics to mark the 40th anniversary of the brutal terror attack at the 1972 Munich games, a memorial is reportedly being considered by London’s Olympic planning committee, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organizing Committee for the 2012 summer games told staff at London’s City Hall that a memorial was being considered, the JC reported, however the form of the memorial is still unclear.
It is not believed to be the minute of silence requested by the Israeli government as part of its “JustOneMinute” campaign, which has been backed unanimously by the Canadian parliament.
More than 50 British MPs, led by Conservative Bob Blackman, have signed an Early Day Motion calling for a minute's silence, and the governments of Germany, Australia, and the US Senate have also called on the IOC to hold the public tribute.
Meanwhile, close to 90,000 people worldwide have signed the official “JustOneMinute” petition thus far and almost 3,000 have “liked” the campaign on Facebook.
Lord Coe reportedly met with members of City Hall staff for a “Tea Break” session and while in the process of thanking them for their work on the London 2012 games, he was quizzed on potential plans for a memorial, according the JC’s report. He then revealed plans to honour the 40th anniversary of the tragedy at some point during the opening ceremony and told the staff to prepare for such a memorial.
In May, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) denied a request made on behalf the families of the 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered in the 1972 Munich massacre to hold the moment of silence at the July 27 ceremony.
IOC President Jacques Rogge told Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who has since led the viral “JustOneMinute” campaign that while “the memory of the victims of the horrible slaughter in Munich in 1972 will never fade in the Olympic family,” the IOC has “already held official memorials for the athletes a number of times.”
Ayalon called the response “unacceptable” as it “rejects the central principles of global fraternity on which the Olympic ideal is supposed to rest.”
On Thursday, Ayalon welcomed the JC’s report.
“I hope what's reported is true. It shows that the IOC hear loud and clear the request from governments,” he tweeted.
“The news that there might be a memorial during the opening ceremony for the Israeli sportsmen murdered in Munich is positive, but I still the urge the IOC to accept what is being asked from them from around the world, namely a one minute silence at the opening ceremony,” Ayalon told The Times of Israel. “Such a request has been made by many government and parliaments, which showed that it was never a political or a contentious demand, but a request for a basic humanitarian gesture.”