The London 2012 Olympics are now on their final day and for Team GB it’s been a great two weeks. At the Beijing Olympics four years ago Team GB secured 19 golds and 47 medals overall. At the time of writing, Team GB has won 28 gold medals and 62 medals overall have been won in a range of sports – cycling, gymnastics, athletics, boxing, rowing and more – Team GB’s best gold medal haul in over 100 years. It’s no surprise to see China and the United States fight it out for the top two spots, but for Team GB third is just great and it’s not over just yet.
We’ve also had British Muslims representing Team GB at the Games: rower Mohamed Sbihi secured Bronze in the team event; Husayn Rosowsky took part in the men’s fencing; Abdul Buhari competed in the discus and the super Mo Farah secured a stunning gold in the 10,000m and has now doubled up in the 5,000m. But no one seems to be sure whether bronze-winning taekwondo fighter Lutalo Muhammed is a Muslim or not.
All this great news has helped me forget about a lot of the negative news surrounding one competing nation: Israel. The Lebanese Judo team took a principled stance and refused to train with the Israelis – why would anybody want to be near those who have acted so aggressively towards them? The Lebanese and most of the world will remember clearly the atrocities of 2006. Competing against the Israelis in the Olympics is one thing, but anything else is unreasonable, though after a separating curtain was placed between them, both teams continued to train. And the Iranians agree and at one point threatened to not compete against any Israeli athlete. With all the talk of war constantly pushed by Israel, surrounding Iran’s acquisition of nuclear power, why would the Iranians want to be cosy with the Israelis?
In addition, before the Olympics started the Israelis demanded the whole world stand still for a minute during the Opening Ceremony, in remembrance of the Munich massacre in 1972. The demand may not be an outrageous one at first glance, but on closer inspection, the Israelis give Palestinians hell on earth, day in, day out, not just since 1972, but since 1948 and before. If the Israelis make it difficult for Palestinians to commemorate the Nakba, why should anyone want to mark a minute’s silence at Israel’s behest? And that’s not to condone the atrocities of 1972, it’s just highlighting the double standards.
After 15 days of competition, Israel’s medal tally is exactly the same as mine. And with all that military aid that Israel receives, couldn’t just a small part of it be used to fund some of their athletes? Israeli athletes would then be direct employees of the Israeli Defence Force – killing Palestinians and bulldozing their homes 50 weeks of the year and securing gold in the remaining two in world championships and Olympics.
Even the Brits in their austere times are talking about funding athletes leading up to Rio 2016, though one could be rightly cynical and claim British Prime Minister David Cameron is doing it for political gain after his party agreed to sell school playing fields and talks of cutting funding for school sports.
But the Olympic Games are nearing their end and it would be a shame to let Israel, or even David Cameron, spoil it. I’m off to enjoy the men’s basketball final before bidding farewell to the Games later in the closing ceremony.
Au revoir, Londres. Goodbye, London.
Bonjour, Rio. Hello, Rio. Olá, Rio.
Derived from an article originally published at MPACUK.
- Arab pride wins big at the 2012 London Olympics (rayhanania.wordpress.com)
- Ben Ainslie revealed as Team GB flag bearer for closing ceremony (standard.co.uk)
- Team GB’s success puts pressure on PM to sustain funding for elite sport (guardian.co.uk)
- Israel and The Olympics: Fair Game? (beyondcompromise.com)
- Going for the Gold: IDF Soldiers in the London Olympic Games (ifaynsh.wordpress.com)
- IDF uses inhabited Palestinian villages as a military playground (mondoweiss.net)
- Ex-IDF soldier seeks Palestinian citizenship (ynetnews.com)