Global Call to Action: The Moment of Silence Initiative for Munich Eleven
September 3, 2012
Filed under News
With less than one-hundred days until the 2012 Olympic Games, the Rockland Jewish Community Campus (JCC) and Ankie Spitzer, the wife of slain Olympian Andrei Spitzer, have united to form a petition on change.org, urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to grant a moment of silence in the Opening Ceremonies of the this years Olympic Games in honor of the fallen Olympians who perished at the 1972 Munich Games.
“Since this is the last issue of The Tower before students will either leave for their well deserved summer vacations or will start their ‘real lives,’ I would like to take a moment to thank someone who has been crucial to our project, and served me as a guide, mentor, and guardian angel in moments of doubts or stagnation with no tangible results on the near horizon; and that person is Shlomit Nir-Toor, one of the survivors of the massacre during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. This proud, but very humble, former Olympic swimmer served us in a very selfless manner, for which I would like to thank her on behalf on our entire CUA community. Hopefully we will be able to thank her in person at the 2012 London Olympic Games on July 27, 2012,” said Leszek Sibilski, Adjunct Associate professor of Sociology at Catholic University.
Along with the JCC of Rockland, students at Catholic University have joined in the effort to push for a tribute to the Israeli Olympians who were murdered by the terrorist group Black September during the 1972 Olympic Games, which took place in Munich Germany. This alliance between CUA and the JCC of Rockland, proves that people from different areas and from different religions are united in their goals, keeping politics and religious beliefs aside from their desire to honor the dead. The change.org petition carries the notion of a world-wide confederation, with citizens across the globe able to access this site and add their signature and reason why they believe this tragedy necessitates a moment of silence.
“If David Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist, who is commonly cited as the Father of Sociology, would have still been alive, he would be very intrigued by what my students are involved in,” said Sibilski. “My students are deeply engaged in applied sociology, which proves everyday to be a work in progress. You name it; in our initiative we have almost every aspect of sociology. On top of being involved in something so righteous from a humanitarian point of view, this is an opportunity for young inquisitive and restless hearts, souls, and minds.”
Aside from the change.org petition, the JCC of Rockland has been working on multiple projects based around the Munich Massacre. These events include a memorial tribute to the Munich Eleven on August 12, as well as a letter which is to be sent to the IOC urging them to change their stance on holding the one minute of silence during the Opening Ceremonies.
Ankie Spitzer has worked with the JCC for the past two years, coming to the United States four times over the duration of their partnership, supplying her aid to the cause to have the tragic events recognized.
“We have known for 40 years that our struggle is just and that gives us the will to push on in spite of all the refusals of the International Olympic Committee,” said Spitzer. “Our message is not one of hate or revenge; quite the opposite. We want the murder of our loved ones to be mentioned at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games for one reason only. To remind the world of what happened in Munich 1972, so that this tragedy will never be repeated. For we feel that those who forget history are bound to repeat it.”
The petition has garnered over 20,000 signatures in as little as two weeks; the JCC is urging people to sign as a way to honor the victims of the Munich Massacre.
Furthermore, Sibilski and his class at CUA have set the bar for their fellow classmates by announcing their goal to collect 80,011 signatures on the change.org petition. The number 80,011 has significance, for the Olympic Stadium in London, which is to house this year’s games, holds approximately 80,000 spectators. The additional eleven represents the slain Olympians. Their hope is to obtain these signatures by July 27, in time for the official Opening Ceremonies.
“We need many links for this chain to be strong,” said Micki Leader, a member of the board of directors at the JCC.
For more information, go to the ‘IOC: Minute of Silence Petition,’ at www.change.org.