Danny Boyle organizing the Olympics opening pulled a fast one with a stripped down, poignant reference to the bombings 7 years ago that follwed the 2012 awards and kept some "from being with us" (though Boyle also included his father's passing and the choregrapher noted a more universal "mortality" motif and the song chosen has a more generalized wake significance for the Isles)
As 9/11 and subsequent terror is now copyright US o' A, it seems the British 7/7 experience rolled right past the news* guys at NBC - either because they'd forgotten it happened the day after the UK won the Olympics, or because after a disastrous week of Romney in London, we've moved on to our other Special Relationship with Israel - which means remembering the Munich attacks 40 years ago.
Of course if Israel were hosting the Games rather than just Mitt Romney, that might be logical, but despite complaints that the current Olympics program is "too British", we must remember that it is unfortunately being run by the Brits in Great Britain, which seems to provoke a bit of home team feel to it, like the Aussies did with kangaroos in 2000.
Which means they may even pull a sly one and reference socialized medicine or a song or two we've never even heard on this side of our big Pond. Including "Abide By Me" sung by Emile Sandé**. Or the no longer controversial Sex Pistols that NBC still chose to censor (seems the wry Brits even snuck in a snippet of the irreverent "God Save the Queen" with Queen Liz II sitting there - but not for us blokes). Somehow they left out clips from Germany 40 years ago, because, perhaps, it wasn't in Britain.
But perhaps Bob Costas and the Israeli News Agency were right - they should have also held a 40th tribute for Israel athletes at Munich, a 80th memorial for the 1932 LA games, when much of the world was suffering through the Depression and half the teams couldn't show up, and a 60th for all the countries invaded by Communists between the 1948 and 1952 games.
And maybe in Rio 2016 the Brits can ask for a moment of silence for the 70th Anniversary of the King David Hotel where 91 people were murdered as they carried out their UN mandate.
(note: this isn't a special 40 year occurrence - the widows of 1972 have been asking for a moment of silence every Olympics since, and there have been several toned-down tributes, including 2 such this year, but apparently not sufficient for some audiences. Though to be fair, some like Alex Giladi, Israel's Olympics representative, don't seem to feel it necessary )
On the good side for Israel, the Iranians have now agreed to participate in direct competitions with Israeli athletes - some thaw in relations despite all the saber rattling.
*"News" and similar expressions of journalistic curiosity and professionalism are used euphemistically, as I understand this is a modern TV news entertainment channel.
So instead of showing the 7/7 memorial / tribute relevant to Britain, NBC decided to show a bland interview with the perhaps-fading Michael Phelps. I guess we haven't had enough "how ya feeling?" "I'm going to give it my best shot" interviews to please an easily-distracted American audience.
The also managed to miss the first female athletes from Saudi Arabia - all countries now have female athletes.
By chance, I happened to be flying through London on the 1st anniversary of 7/7, going by Tube for part of the trip, and needing to dispose of large boxes from some reclaimed luggage. Bobbies and security agents were everywhere, every public container was locked down, but I recall the utmost of efficiency and friendliness as one of the cops helped me out, how everyone was determined not to be freaked even as traffic was a bit bolloxed that day. Anyway, brought home a fresh reminder of that day's significance.
As someone pointed out to me, the day after the bombing, seems that all of London woke up, gave it their stoic "fuck it, nothing's keeping *me* from work/school/the clubs...", and got out there as Brits usually do, talking about anything but what had actually happened - weather, cricket, top 40, Prince Harry.... May not have happened like that, but sounds nice.
**Danny Boyle pulled out all the stops in making the Opening a multicultural event - refreshing after Bejing's unicultural & heavy-handed event. While some have complained about it being overreach, I happened to have spent that morning watching a movie on Hendrix, and thinking about his time in London with Eric Burdon (who started touring with black funk band War about that time), where being black didn't necessarily mean playing "black music" or splitting your audience, but where he could just move through different rock or jazz or world music styles playing with whoever he wanted in London's accepting multicultural scene.
Shortly after, Bob Marley moved from Jamaica to London (or got stranded, depending on story), mixing up rock with reggae and inspiring everyone from Clapton to Nina Hagen to The Clash.
And while Boyle's recent success is Slumdog Millionaire based in Bombay, Britain's legacy is tied up in its overseas colonies in Hong Kong & Singapore, India, various parts of Africa and the Caribbean, so that curry and tea houses are almost as British as Shepherd's Pie. Having been through the Hong Kong & Macau handovers, and knowing a number of Pakistani/Indian Brits, and hearing enough of the Tabla-inspired Indian/UK house mixes, I guess I gravitate to that multicultural scene. So Emile Sandé is just another refreshing face - half English, half Zambian, growing up in Scotland, part of the new UK.
But if they wanted someone who'd support a traditional boys-club-only view of UK society, they might not have wanted to sign on the guy who did Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire - something was bound to go wrong.