WHOSE OLYMPIC GAMES ARE THEY ANYWAY?
The article below has been
taken from Sydney Jewish News (15 Sept. 2000).
TRUTH is More Precious than Olympic Gold
By Bob Cork
Because of my connection to 1972 Olympians, and my ignorance of Palestine then, I had no desire to understand motives for the deplorable attack on Israeli athletes, but Saturday, September 16, two contrasting events will stimulate different feelings.
As the first competition in Australia will stir memories of my friends who chased after gold, the Palestinian Refugee Return March in Washington will arouse passion for justice for my friends who seek simple truth in a world determined to deny their dignity.
In 1972 I was the primary coordinator for the Olympic canoe/kayak trials and training camp in Rockford, Illinois, where I became well acquainted with athletes and coaches.
The day the hostage drama unfolded in Munich my paddling friends were competing, and I was challenged emotionally while delivering a speech about our trials to sponsors.
Ironically, my son who was born later in 1972 became the catalyst to change me from a naive Hoosier, touched early by Olympic ideals, to an informed American disappointed and angry at my government for complicity in fraud.
I grew up in Terre Haute, Indiana, and graduated from Garfield High School, which also produced Olympic Gold Medalists Clyde Lovellette, Greg Bell and Terry Dischinger.
As Clyde played basketball in 1952, I was a nine-year-old being taught to swim at the YMCA by Joseph Qutub, a college student from Palestine. I was too young to comprehend his story.
When Greg Bell won the 1956 long jump in Melbourne I had no idea the poverty he escaped from on the other side of Lost Creek was a "piece of cake" compared to oppression of Palestinians.
While schoolmate Terry Dischinger was playing toward 1960 basketball gold, I applauded Sal Mineo's film role as Dov Landau in "Exodus," not knowing the storyline was more fiction than fact.
Fast forward to 1994. My 1972 son lost focus, dropped out of college, joined a Christian youth group and flew off to Jerusalem, pantomiming the Gospel on street corners, seeking converts.
My wife and I worried, but we raised our daughter and five sons to fly with their own wings, and Dan paid his own way with money he earned bagging groceries, so we prayed for his safety.
In the land of cobblestones and camels among technology and power politics, Dan was transformed from a curious Christian kid to a committed student of history and proponent of social justice.
Now in his second year earning a Master's in Arab Studies at Georgetown, Dan speaks and writes Arabic fluently. His honors thesis at the ?ty of Massachusetts was on development of moral and political arguments on Palestine between 1890 and 1948.
My wife and I visited Dan while he was teaching in Bir Zeit, on the West Bank, and we stayed two nights in a refugee camp with a gracious family Dan had lived with for three months before his junior year at the American University in Cairo.
We were converted to the cause. Inspired by Dan's research, and wanting to help our friends, we started typing "Palestine" into search engines on the internet and were astounded.
My wife now has a library that would have been the envy of Indiana State when Joe Qutub studied there in 1952, and we have our own web site, www.cactus48.com, to share what we discovered.
We have learned the truth. The early Zionist movement was a political and economic invasion by Europeans to exploit the vulnerability of Palestinian villagers.
Guilt-stricken by the horrible Holocaust, America jumped on the UN bandwagon, accepted Zionist lies about Palestine, and since 1948 has punished Palestinians for what Germans did to Jews.
I grew up being told native Americans were savages, the wagon drive West was heroic, blacks were inferior intellectually and morally, and the founding of Israel was a modern miracle.
Garfield history teachers should have told us about Wounded Knee, Rosewood, the Amistad, and Palestinians displaced from more than 500 villages, starting with the massacre at Deir Yassin.
I would have learned, if America held fast to its proclaimed ideal of "liberty and justice for all" as fitting for all people around the world, that truth is more precious than Olympic gold.
Marlon Brando emphasizes a point to host Larry King during his