Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Olympics, now with 2 edits!

I am typing this on my phone and am in a rush so excuse any typos.
I have been following all the fooferaw surrounding the inclusion of a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies of the upcoming London Olympics to commemorate the murder, 40 years ago, of the 11 members of the Israeli team. There seems to be a concern on the part of the IOC that such a display would politicize the games. This is, of course, hogwash but the tension over having the moment is real and has significantly more reasonable roots.
The IOC and the Israeli government are operating from opposite sides of a cultural rift that neither will acknowledge. In the secular world, happy events are kept happy and sad ones, sad. This is the emotional equivalent of either the hot side staying hot and the cool side cool, or east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet, depending on your position on the ladder of cultural elitism.
Judaism believes just the opposite. We are commanded at the moments of our most profound joy to inject reminders of sadness: the breaking of a glass at a wedding is the prime example. We are conditioned to temper our happiness and never forget national tragedies (Bill Shakespeare tapped into this in the beginning of Hamlet as Claudius insists on mixing happiness and sadness. Look it up).
So what we have is a disagreement not about politicization but about completely different understandings of the place for tragedy in the realm of celebration.
And, sadly, when it comes to disagreements based on entrenched cultural positions, never the twain shall meet.

Now, four days after writing this I realize what a poor, pathetic and uninformed sap I have been. I put the dan in dan l'chaf z'chut.

I read the following statement:

"It wasn’t inappropriate to have a moment of silence at the Vancouver Winter Olympics two years ago in honor of Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luger who died in a training accident. It wasn’t inappropriate ten years ago during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, to parade a 9-11 flag during the opening ceremonies in honor of the victims of the World Trade Center Bombing."

in this website (not, i do not condone the use of foul language). If this is all true, then the decision is no longer about the cultural separation between the two religious worlds, but is an intentional insensitivity (at the least) towards the plight of Jewish victims. I apologize for my naivete.
-----------------second edit!-------------second edit---------------
they had a moment of silence during the opening ceremony. For the Londoners killed in the terrorist attack of 7/7. Let's see. They have a moment for another olympic athlete who died. They have a moment for people killed by terrorists. But they don't have a moment for athletes killed by terrorists. Interesting loophole.

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