# 209 – A Prayer for Peace by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 209 – A Prayer for Peace

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409
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August 2, 2012

Last night I was inspired; it all fell into place.

The Olympics are on! They’re in London; I’m a Londoner. Wish I could see more of them; I’m writing this on a flight across the Atlantic. What a time to have a trip. I’ll squeeze Eurosport in wherever and whenever I can. I’ll sleep later.

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I’m a Londoner. I try not to let myself feel the shame – that there was no one minute’s silence for those who died in Munich 40 years ago. I may be a Londoner, but I live in Israel. I am in the midst of those who really suffered on that fateful day.

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I have so many connections to that event. I know Munich so well. I was there so often. My father was an actor. He had been an Austrian refugee. In the UK, he established himself as a successful character actor, appearing often in films, on TV and on the stage. (Check imdb.com).

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In the mid-60s, he got the chance to re-start his German-language career, appearing in Munich in ‘Das Feuerwerk’, a flat musical with one famous song: “Oh Mein Papa”. From then on, he was a star in Germany, with Munich as perhaps his ‘local’.

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In the early 60s, my brother spent a year on a state-owned farm near Munich. In ’62,  joined him for my Summer holidays, repeating the trip in ’63 and ’64. The farm was on the Ammersee. You have to pass Fûrstenfeldbruck on the way there from Munich. That’s the airport where the German police messed things up when they attacked the Palestinian terrorists.

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Remember ‘Black September’? The name of the group that committed the crime back in 1972. Those who escaped were eventually hunted down by Mossad, Israeli’s secret service. An English female was known to be have been involved in their assassination.

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John le Carré wrote about her in ‘Little Drummer Girl’. I grew up with her. Her parents and mine were friends. We met again when we moved to Israel. We kept in touch. Steven Spielberg brought us back to the subject with his film ‘ Munich’.

I shall come back to that.

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So, should the World (of Olympics) have set aside that 1 minute of silence? Oh, those Jews again…..When will they stop using the persecution weapon?  This is sports! Move on! That’s what so many kept on saying.

You know, yesterday, they chucked 8 of the World’s leading women badminton players out of the competition, for not ‘respecting the spirit of the Games’.

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I admired the committee’s tough stance. I understood the pressure on the players to preserve energy (all 4 pairs were already through to the knock-out stage), but they had totally missed the point. The Games are bigger than that – or should be.

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Black September did something a little more hostile than just ‘playing badly’. THIS SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN! THE REMEMBERING SHOULD BE THE MEANS NOT TO FORGET AND TO LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT THOSE WHO ‘HARM THE SPIRIT OF THE OLYMPICS’ ARE COMMITTING THE ULTIMATE SIN.

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Last week, when the discussion was rife, I was going to write a ‘Letter’. I wanted to drag in the ‘anti-Semitism’ card. I wanted to remind ‘you’ what anti-Semitism is: something that lies there, perhaps never being touched, until some comment is blurted out. That’s the beginning.  But I felt that I was wasting my breath. I let it lie.

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Last night, Aviva and I attended the annual Gala concert of the Keshet Eilon violin master classes. I think I’ve written about this before. Israel is another country where such master classes are rife – well-supported. There are also classes for voice, piano, brass, reed and so on. A couple of years back, we actually spent a couple of days among the violinists (yes, I played from 5-15, but NEVER ask me to play for you!).

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It’s a wonderful sight to see: students of all ages (6 to 60) from all over the World gather to learn. The learn from some great teachers, accompanied by great pianists. They learn to use the bow, together with other bow-users: viola, cello and double-bass. And they all learn…archery. For it shares many of the same skills. They see bows and instruments being crafted; they become part of the same family.

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The gala was at the Israeli Opera House. There were some incredible performances. (And I am proud to add that it included a work by Prof. T. Elias, head of Arab Music dept. at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, conducted by him, performed by a good mixture of musicians from ‘both sides’. We were informed that a special school has been set up for Arab string musicians in a West Bank village).

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At the end of the evening, they brought all musicians together: from kids to older students and teachers. Perhaps 100 instruments in unison. Their first piece for the full ensemble was John William’s ‘Prayer for Peace’ from the Spielberg film ‘Munich’.

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It was perfectly timed. A beautiful way to remember those who died 40 years ago.

I wish the ensemble had performed last week in London. Might even have worked better than a minute’s silence.

Stephen

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