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The 1972 Munich Olympics were interrupted by Palestinian terrorists taking Israeli athletes hostage. Besides footage taken at the time, we see interviews with the surviving terrorist, Jamal Al Gashey, and various officials detailing exactly how the police, lacking an anti-terrorist squad and turning down help from the Israelis, botched the operation. Written by
Jon Reeves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When I was a kid my father used to say our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized. Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were eleven hostages; two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone.
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Performed by Led Zeppelin
Written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
Copyright Flames of Albion Music Inc.
Used by kind permission of Warner/Chappell Music Ltd.
Courtesy of Atlantic Records
by arrangement with Warner Special Products/Warner Music UK Ltd. See more »
I remember the 1972 Olympics from a kid's perspective (with no TV set at home). American swimmer Mark Spitz was its big star, everybody knew him. It really was the most modern and most hip event ever planned in Europe. The best architects and the best artists and designers of Germany were employed to build an Olympic village that still reflects the openness and optimism of the era. Even the logo, a kind of a spiral made of rays, is unforgettable. (The original movie Rollerball was largely filmed in the Olympic village).
One Day in September catches the atmosphere that preceded the terrorist attack perfectly, in that sense it is an accomplished exercise in style. I think there really was a kind of innocence connected with it, people truly believed that sports could be a means to bring enemies closer and that the Olympic area was regarded as something like a sacred ground which everyday worries couldn't penetrate. I assume that explains very much the clumsy reaction of the German authorities when they were faced with the act of desecration" that constituted the callous act of the Palestinian terrorists. (I think the German officials who were ready to be interviewed for this documentary are unduly criticized for what some call indifference. Must have been hard enough for them to reminisce about something terrible for which I believe they feel at least partly responsible).
The spirit of the Munich Olympics ended with that tragedy, and the Yom Kippur war the following year with the ensuing oil crisis changed the outlook on the future completely. Somehow I feel we still suffer from the shattered hopes of 1972. And where are the Palestinians now? Terrorism doesn't pay.
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