Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Please give 100 seconds Friday

Sorry New York Ranger fans but I'm going to borrow this space to use to spread a message that I hope others will follow. Given the events of the past week in Colorado, it is very important that we do not forget who we are, where we come from and that those who died for reasons bordering on mass stupidity are never forgotten.

My name is Jesse Rubenstein and I am an American of Jewish descent; I come from a blended family that can trace its roots to Poland, Lithuania and England among others. The one constant is that my family is Jewish and I'm very proud of it.

This one is very hard for me to write because I know you don't come here for anything but news about the Rangers, Islanders and their prospects. I hope you understand how important this is not only for my family but for yours as well.

1972 was an important year in my life as I turned 13 and for a Jewish male turning 13 is an important time in their life. It is the year where a Jewish male is considered to "come of age"

This isn't about preaching or imposing my religious views upon you because my own mindset tells me that your relationship with the man upstairs is between you and whoever you believe in. It doesn't matter how you believe just that it is a personal and a private relationship.

Sports were just the typical childhood obsession of mine that is until September 5th 1972. That was the day when criminals (I refuse to use the term "terrorists") invaded the Olympic village, attacked the living quarters of the Israeli Olympic team, leading to the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.

Like so many others on that day I watched ABC and their coverage of the events of that day. I still remember Jim McKay, breaking the news about a rescue attempt that failed badly.

As a kid I knew that on my mothers side of the family, several were murdered in the Polish concentration camps during World War II. Before the Munich massacre, it was not a subject that members of my mothers side really talked about.

Until that day I never knew what it was like to be disliked because of my faith. That it happened in Germany made it an even more horrific event because of what I had learned of the Holocaust in school.

There's a big difference between reading the history books and seeing the events transpire right in front of you. For the first time I got to see people murdering others just because they were Jewish.

At 13 you don't understand why people hate you because of your faith, your color, or even your sexual preference. To be honest even at 53, I don't think I will ever understand why people want to kill others like what happened last week.

I bring this up because on Friday night, the 2012 Olympic Games will be getting underway in London, England. It will be the 40th anniversary of the events that took place in Munich but once again the IOC will refuse to hold a moment of silence to recognize the deaths of the 11 Israelis.

Forget that they were murdered because they were Jewish but rather because they were murdered at the Olympics. In the ancient days, wars would come to a halt in order to let the Olympic Games take place.

The International Olympic Committee has rejected calls by Israel, the United States and Germany to hold that 1 minute of silence. The IOC doesn't think the opening ceremonies is a proper venue to remember the tragic events.

"We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident," (IOC President Jacques) Rogge said.

When would be the proper atmosphere then to honor those who were murdered during the Olympic Games? If anything the world needs a reminder that the Olympic Games are supposed to bring people together not tear them apart by committing acts of senseless violence.

The widows of the Munich Massacre are asking that those attending the opening ceremonies to rise in a silent protest when Jacques Rogge begins his speech. It is a start.

Bob Costas, who will be anchoring NBC's coverage of the opening ceremonies reportedly plans to call out the IOC over this decision. Thanks Bob, appreciate the intention of your effort but what would really make a statement would be for NBC to offer a moment of silence when the Israeli team entered the stadium.

I plan on holding my own little protest on Friday night and I hope that Jewish or not that you join me in this protest. When the president of the IOC Jacques Rogge starts his welcoming speech; I'm going to change the channel for 100 seconds in protest and then upon my return, I will mute the rest of his speech.

I chose 100 seconds because 60 seconds are for the moment of silence that the victims are being denied and 40 seconds more are because of it being the 40th anniversary of this horrific event.

It may not seem like a whole lot but I owe it to a 13-year-old boy who didn't understand why people hated him because he was Jewish. I owe it to the people who believe in Islam who I hated for decades, simply because I thought they hated me.

Friday night while I know that it will have no impact on the speech, especially given the time difference, but it will mean something to me.

Never Forget.

No comments: