A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  Recent ActivityRecent Activity  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 The Forgotten Olympic Massacre

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5684
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: The Forgotten Olympic Massacre   Sun 03 Feb 2013, 13:02

Mention "Olympic Massacre" and most people will immediately think of the gruesome hostage-taking and subsequent deaths of members of the Israeli Olympic Team in Munich in 1972. The event overshadowed the sporting festival and was played out live on TV as a horrified global public watched on. When it ended, and the grisly deaths of eleven athletes were deemed by the IOC president Avery Brundage as insufficient cause to halt proceedings, his decision was lauded universally as the correct response - that the lofty ideals of international brotherhood which the Olympics represented should always triumph over subversive attempts to diminish or degrade them. The show - it was agreed - must go on, and now more than ever.

Today we know that somewhat more cynical and commercial logic lay behind this rather abrupt and unequivocal decision, and that countries for whom the Olympics present a gilt-edged opportunity to glory and bask in nationalistic and propagandistic recognition worldwide were never going to walk away from such a stage over something as trivial as the fate of athletes from a country who, besides one or two very important backers, was and is regarded as less than relevant by many, an anachronism by many more, and worthy of no less barbarity by a worrying number of others. Brundage spoke as much for their beliefs as he did for the stated beliefs of the Olympic Committee, and his announcement now merits and receives less than flattering analysis all these years later, not so much for its stated logic as for its suspicious haste.

But then, this was not the first time Brundage had been put in this spot, and when compared to the preceding occasion actually appears almost mundanely predictable. After all, who will entertain a crisis of conscience over eleven deaths when he has already resolved the same crisis in relation to the deaths of nine hundred?

Mexico City, on October 2nd 1968, was ten days away from hosting the same sporting extravaganza. The country's government, an autocratic regime which had already spent decades dismantling the democratic process, was finding 1968 to be a year in which they faced what at first had appeared eminently containable but which had rapidly become a threat not just to its prestige during this great showcase year but to its very existence. A small student rebellion, in many ways inspired by similar movements abroad, had rapidly escalated over the summer into what the authorities now feared would become a mass uprising.

That evening some thousands of people had assembled in The Square of the Three Cultures in the Ttatelolco region of Mexico City to hear speeches from trade unionists and others who, in recent years, had borne the brunt of the government's repressive legislation. Many of those present were students, now a highly politicised group who had fast become the vanguard of those demanding a return to democracy. The government, in what is now perceived as an act of appalling and premeditated barbarity rather than the "panic" it had once been put down to, sealed off the exits to the square with troops and commenced machine-gunning those trapped within its confines. Scores of soldiers positioned on rooftops as well as helicopter gunships sprayed the victims with thousands of rounds for over half an hour.

The next day saw no mention of this atrocity in the press, though this was about to quickly change. The city had already begun to receive the first of hundreds of journalists from around the world to cover the games and some of these not only witnessed the massacre but had been injured on the spot. The government hastily changed its stance and admitted that "twelve" fatalities had occurred, of which seven were policemen. On October 12th this was still the official line, though by now the international press contingent had done its own research and reached its own conclusions. The conservative estimate of fatalities which Avery Brundage, like everyone else, knew to be the reliable estimate, stood at nine hundred.

The games, he averred, must go on.

Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
shivfan
Aediles
avatar

Posts : 84
Join date : 2012-03-03
Location : Hertfordshire

PostSubject: Re: The Forgotten Olympic Massacre   Fri 22 Feb 2013, 11:03

Yes, that 1972 massacre was terrible, and that Spielberg film "Munich" was based upon the Israeli covert response to the atrocities.

But is it fair to call the Mexican govt in 1968 an undemocratic regime? Yes, they did behave in an autocratic way, but my understanding is that they were a political party that would constantly win elections year after year, in much the same way the ANC wins year after year in SOuth Africa. The PRI was formed after the Mexican Revolution of the 1920s, and continued to win every election until Vicente Fox's PAN in 2000. Before the emergence of Fox, the right, the left and centre would jockey for power within the PRI itself, and it wasn't until inevitable corruption within the PRI got out of control, that MExican voters started to look outside of the PRI for answers in large enough numbers....
Back to top Go down
http://www.cricket-match-special.com/
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5684
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: The Forgotten Olympic Massacre   Sun 24 Feb 2013, 11:34

Quote :
But is it fair to call the Mexican govt in 1968 an undemocratic regime? Yes, they did behave in an autocratic way, but my understanding is that they were a political party that would constantly win elections year after year, in much the same way the ANC wins year after year in SOuth Africa.

To the best of my knowledge the ANC have not (at least as yet) begun imprisoning opposition without trial, "disappearing" thousands of others, and blatantly rigging election results in a manner of which that other great nominally "democratic" nation, North Korea, would be envious. So yes, it is not only fair in my view, it is accurate.

The signal being sent by the government with that massacre, so soon before the opening of the Mexico City Olympics, was that it felt itself so secure in its position - an autocratic position in the dictatorial sense - that it could murder its citizens at will. The absence of concerted international recognition or horror in the wake of this crime despite the presence and reportage of journalists from around the world, and the continuation of the Olympics without even an implied recognition of what had transpired on the part of the organisers, proved that they were correct in their assessment of their impunity. That alone represents state terrorism directed against its own people. Attempting to tag the term "democratic" to such behaviour is reprehensible.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 815
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: The Forgotten Olympic Massacre   Sat 24 May 2014, 11:29

I didn't know whether to put this on the On this day in history thread but it seems more appropriate here. 

During the qualifying rounds for the Tokyo Olympics, a soccer match between Peru and Argentina on 24 May 1964 erupted in rioting and resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people:

Lima 1964: The world's worst stadium disaster - and one of the least known

24 May 1964: Riot erupts at soccer match
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1400
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: The Forgotten Olympic Massacre   Sun 25 May 2014, 00:40

Back to top Go down
 

The Forgotten Olympic Massacre

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of people ... :: Sport and Pastimes-