Saturday, December 6

munich and then...

Few days ago, Spielberg's movie 'Munich' was on STAR TV. Its a fictional, I stress fictional here, about Israeli's response to the 1972 Munich Massacre. (The Munich massacre occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually murdered by Black September, a militant group with ties to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization.) I mean, the response was real, but movie's depiction of the response is fictional. These were the movie-lines for the Gold Meir, who was the Israeli prime minister when the Massacre happened. Remember, this is fictional Golda Meir, taken from the script of the movie. You can get a soft copy, if you google it.

These people ... They're sworn to destroy us. Forget peace for now. We have to show them we're strong.
(a beat)
We have laws, we represent civilization. Some people say we can't afford to be civilized. I've always resisted such people.

There are no such people. They're not... recognizable. You tell me, what law protects people like these?
Today I'm hearing with new ears.
Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values. I have made a decision. The responsibility is entirely mine.

I can not stop but think these lines in light of the recent attacks in Mumbai. Similar thoughts can be heard every where in Television, Newspapers, Forums etc. Sure, Spielberg made sure that we see a vengeful Meir. But, many don't agree with such a depiction. Looking through Wikipedia, I hit a newspaper Haaretz's interview with Zvi Zamir, who was the head of Mossad, the Israeli spy agency at that time. He says,
"It is a disgrace that Spielberg compares Golda Meir to terrorist leaders in Lebanon. For quite a lengthy period Golda rejected our proposals - of the Mossad, Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet [security service] - for operations against terrorism in Europe. She hoped the Europeans would be vigilant and would take action themselves against Palestinian terrorism aimed at Israel. ... "

Zvi Zamir also tells incidents that he thinks exemplifies Golda Meir's character. Of course, it can be said Zvi is far from the truth just as Speilberg is. But there is one line of Zvi's interview, which I think we should think about in the light of Mumbai attacks.

I will say only that the whole issue of whom to strike at was given meticulous consideration and the probable consequences were evaluated. What guided us was [the need] to strike at the infrastructures of terrorism and at those who might attack Israelis in the future.
That is more insightful than the rhetoric of our politicians and the drama of 24-hour news channels.