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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The Munich Factor by Guri Weinberg
Our lovely Cleo got to meet and talk with both Guri and his Wife and came home with the most amazing story of meeting them. He is truely an inspiration and an amazing person. Source Via @guriweinberg.
I changed my mind 20 times regarding the subject matter of this blog. Originally, I was going to write about Italy and ItaCon. I wanted to focus on what conventions were like from one of the actor's perspective. That perspective opened Pandora's box because I am not only one of the "new" actors to the Twilight Saga, I am new to this type of public reception.
So, to explain my perspective, I need to share some details of my life, pre-Twilight and post-Twilight. This may get a little dark, definitely not in the "GFYS" vein so please bear with me.
When I was a month old, my father was murdered. Moshe Weinberg was the wrestling coach on the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics. At the Olympic games that year, members of the PLO ("Black September") snuck into the Olympic village in the middle of the night, identified the housing for the Israeli team and took 11 of the athletes hostage in a public spectacle that was broadcast worldwide. To make a statement of their determination to achieve their demands, these hostage takers threw out the naked, dead body of my father for the press to photograph. My father had been killed for attempting to fight off the hostage takers - twice.
To warn the Israeli hostages against similar moves, they threw the dead body of weightlifter Yousef Romano on the floor in the room the hostages were held in. He was another Israeli team member that attempted to fight back shortly after my father, despite having clear passage to escape without harm. The press, the news outlets, the visitors, the athletes, in fact EVERYONE was acutely aware of the situation unfolding right before their eyes - nine athletes held hostage in the Olympic village and 2 members of the team already dead as the Olympic games continued. The situation ended as badly as anyone might imagine…the remaining nine Israeli athletes were all killed/murdered in a shoot out between Black September and the German police at the airport in Munich in a badly bungled rescue attempt. The Olympic hallmark of peace and civility between all nations on earth in the spirit of excellence in sport and competition was forever shattered.
So, I grew up in the center of a larger debate over the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, at least it felt that way to me. The families of the Munich 11 (as they came to be called) did press often as I grew up, always seeking to gain a moment of silence at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies from the Olympic committee on behalf of the 11 men murdered. Because of the heated debate and divide over the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, these 11 men that had earned a place at the Olympics would not be memorialized at the Olympic Games. That somber remembrance was important to the 11 families as we wanted them remembered for being Olympians and all the persistence, sacrifice and excellence that infers - not casualties of a political debate. However, it was impossible to discuss that desire in the press, no matter how many years passed, without the conversation spiraling into political rhetoric and debate. Additionally, public opinion regarding Israelis can be searingly denigrating and callous, depending on your political afiliation. Over the years, it wore us all down - we were families mourning our losses, not political pundits, so most of us stopped discussing it altogether. Life became relatively quiet for me, save the odd death threat…or three.
Labels: Guri Weinburg