Watching the Olympics

It’s starting and people in Israel are asking where they can watch the Olympics live. I don’t have a television. I did up until a couple of years ago and for many years before that I was angry with SONY because I wanted our television sets to break just to get rid of them. There is quality programming – but just so little of it. I just wanted quiet.

There are many people I know who don’t have a television – but watch all the shows they can over the Internet. I don’t. I have no patience to sit and watch a screen when I could be reading, sleeping, or more – writing. So, unless something is major – like a breaking news story or a speech of an international leader I want to hear, I don’t.

For days, I ignored a Facebook discussion about how to access a live stream of the Olympics or what channel to watch in Israel and this morning, the thought crystallized for me that, probably for the first time in my life, I don’t want to see the Olympics. I’ve been blogging and tweeting a lot about the IOC’s refusal to give just one moment to remember the Munich 11 – they’ve been refusing for every one of the last 40 years.

And, I”ve been reading about what happened in Munich 11 years ago. It is chilling – how incredibly the Germans bungled every aspect; how the security was a joke from the beginning…how there were warnings. Yes, I love watching the Olympics, the swimming, the diving. I won’t this year because the thought of what was done to our athletes haunts me. Who am I hurting? What point am I making? Who gains (who will even know) if I watch it in the privacy of my own home? No one gains, no one is hurt, no one will know except me (well, and whoever reads my blog).

But I just can’t stomach watching the crowds cheer without remembering how the crowds cheered for 12 hours while Israelis were being held, and how the crowds cheered the day after a “memorial service” which talked more about the games than the men who had died.

At what cost is this concept “the games must go on”? For what? Why must they go on? Do they really symbolize the best of what mankind could be? Is there really a sense of brotherhood among athletes there? I was watching the videos on YouTube as they interviewed the “brother” athletes of the Israelis – and one after another spoke only about his own security – should he stay or should he leave. Men were being held at gunpoint but their concern was for themselves. Brotherhood? Not even close.

With incredible dignity, the Israeli team left after the token memorial service, still in shock, still in mourning. Always in mourning, even 40 years later, always in shock.

Anyway, this is not a judgement of anyone who chooses to watch…I personally, can’t stomach it. Yes, I hope our athletes come home with gold (and beat the heck out the Iranians)…but more, I just want them to come home alive and safe.

And a final comment. Friends and readers – this is my blog. If you think I”m being selfish by writing about what is on my mind, I guess you have the option not to read. I know it’s about being a soldier’s mother – and next week, I’ll write about Elie and his reserve duty, which is coming too fast for me. I’ll get back to writing about my family and how things are…but for now, what is on my mind in these long summer days is not the camping vacation I want to take and of families here in Israel – but of the hopes and dreams of the families of the athletes – the Munich 11 families.

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