In the wake of the November 2015 attacks in Paris by Islamic terrorists, it is natural for visitors to Europe to feel somewhat jumpy and to wonder how safe the various cities on their itineraries might actually be – sure, the chances of anything happening are incredibly slim but, of course, that is probably what the folks enjoying a rock concert, a Café au lait or a nice Cambodian meal thought, right up until the moments that a bunch of lunatics turned up with kalashnikovs.
With a rich cultural history, Munich should be famous for many things but, for most people outside Germany, the word Munich is synonymous with the tragic 1972 Olympics, when what should have been a triumphant moment for the city became, instead, a dramatic and bloody introduction to the uncertain new world of Islamic terrorism.
Those events shaped Munich, giving its security services an early baptism of fire and an awareness of terrorism that the rest of the world is only now starting to catch up on. Although German cities in general are now more vulnerable to terrorist attacks, especially with the arrival in 2015 of a million undocumented and barely screened migrants from throughout the Muslim world, this early experience means that Munich is more prepared and, therefore, far less likely to be the target of an attack.
The 1972 Munich Olympics should have been a moment of healing, finally giving Germans an opportunity to eclipse the shameful circumstances of the last German Olympic games. The 1936 Berlin Olympics were skillfully used by the German government as Nazi propaganda, with the only bright spot being Adolf Hitler’s growing fury as African American athlete Jesse Owens kept winning gold medals.
The Munich Olympics, held 36 years later, was very much an opportunity for the heavily traumatized post-war Germany to make amends to the world and, by warmly welcoming the Israeli Olympic team, say sorry for that whole thing with the ovens.
It was all symbolically sweet and lovely right up until the moment the Israelis started to get tortured and slaughtered, exactly the opposite of the message the Germans were going for.
Luckily, this time, the torture and slaughter of jews was not being done by Germans. Eight members of a Palestinian terror group named Black September had stormed the Olympic village and taken over the Israeli team’s apartment, killing two Israelis in the initial struggle, one by castration.
Holding the remaining 9 hostage, they demanded the release of 234 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons and the notorious German terrorists Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof. Someone in the German government clearly did the math and figured out that releasing a few hundred more terrorists would most likely lead to far more hostage situations in the future, so, that was a “No”.
Deftly recalibrating their negotiating position, the terrorists then demanded an airplane to Cairo, which the Germans agreed to but, instead, set up an ambush, killing most of the terrorists at the airport, but not before they managed to kill all the remaining hostages. 11 members of the Israeli team were dead, making this the worst Olympic result of all time and not at all the message of hope and reconciliation that the Germans had been aiming for.
Ensuring that these sad events would forever be bonded to Munich’s international reputation, American film-maker Steven Spielberg named his major motion picture about the whole mess “Munich”. As a pre-vacation treat, it might be fun for you and your family to watch this exciting terrorist thriller the night before you fly to Munich. You can probably find it on Netflix.
The good news is that, now, thanks to the massive impact that this horror had upon the people of Munich and, in particular, their security services, you can now walk around the tourist attractions of Munich and be a little less nervous when an Arab guy wanders past.
The city is better prepared than any other German city for the influx of one million war-traumatised Muslims and possible ISIS infiltrators. You can rest assured that the Munich police will go ahead and stop guys carrying bombs, even at the risk of being called racist.
For that reason, we are delighted to name Munich as The Top European City to Visit in 2016 If You Want to Avoid Getting Blown Into Small, Stringy Bits of Tourist. The judging panel was unanimous in their decision and we sincerely hope the award will bring them better luck than last year’s winner, Paris.
There is even good news for poor old Steven Spielberg, who has not really managed to produce anything all that good in the ten years since he released Munich. We are not usually too fond of sequels but I think we can all agree that a really good movie, like Munich, deserves one.
Well, Spielberg might soon have his chance because the city of Munich is bidding to host the 2018 Olympics and, let’s face it, the world is in way more turmoil now than it was in 1972. The Palestinians are positively cute compared to the jihadi nut-jobs we currently have running around Syria and Iraq, with the tacit support of Nato member Turkey, funded by billions of dollars in black market oil and probably buying all sorts of nuclear bomb parts from Pakistani scientists.
You do not need to be a Hollywood script writer to figure out that, if the Israeli team turn up to the 2018 Munich Olympics, so will ISIS. This sequel practically writes itself and, although we can all agree that the slaughter of innocent athletes is wrong, the special effects will be way better in this one.