Dubai's Message To Peer: You're No Gandhi And We're Not Munich; Stay Home!

Sherman L. McCleskyCorrespondent IFebruary 18, 2009

This story goes right down my alley. As a current political analyst on MSNBC's message board, I felt that my take on this touchy subject is well-warranted.

This is my message to WTA tennis star Shahar Peer. To understand this message, you must learn from history.

"On 30 January 1948, Gandhi was shot and killed while having his nightly public walk on the grounds of the Birla Bhavan (Birla House) in New Delhi. The assassin, Nathuram Godse, was a Hindu radical with links to the extremist Hindu Mahasabha, who held Gandhi responsible for weakening India by insisting upon a payment to Pakistan."

In short, the Hindu Mahasabha opposed the idea of Gandhi making peace with Pakistan, so they arranged for Gandhi's assassination.

"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.

By the end of the ordeal, the terrorist group had killed eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and one German police officer. Five of the eight members of Black September were killed by police officers during an abortive rescue attempt. The three surviving terrorists were captured, and were later released by West Germany following the hijacking by Black September of a Lufthansa airliner, a release that led to speculation that West Germany helped stage the hijacking.[3][4]

Israel responded to the massacre with Operation Spring of Youth and Operation Wrath of God, a series of airstrikes and assassinations of those suspected of planning the killings."

Historians may question whether or not "Operation Wrath of God" was justified, or was it of God's will; however, let there be no doubt, "wrath" definitely played a role behind this covert operation.

Now let's bring ourselves forward to the current situation.

Let's take a look at the numbers.

Killed: 13 Israeli, 1380 Palestinians- Translated, that's 106 Palestinian men, women and children killed versus one Israeli death.

Wounded: 523 Israeli, 5,380 Palestinian- Translated, that's a 10 to 1 ratio.

"In the Arab World, the conflict has been described as the Gaza Massacre (Arabic: مجزرة غزة‎)"

So now that everyone is up to speed, I can honesty and openly tell everyone here that I'm supporting the UAE's (Unite Arab Emerites) decision to NOT grant Shahar Peer a visa. 

It's a sad reality that Peer needs to get used to; middle eastern politics are defined right now by three "B-words:" bombs, bullets, and blood. Tennis is a just a game; middle eastern politics isn't.

The idea of a very popular Israeli athlete going into a Muslim nation to play in a tennis tournament, with the Muslim nation still fuming over the Gaza conflict, is insane. Dubai had done their research and came to the conclusion that if she attends this tourney, there's a great chance that a Muslim extremist will try to kill her.

We'd already known from the past as to how Israel responds to one of their athletes being killed. So we all know what's going to happen if Peer gets killed, while participating in the Barclay's Dubai Tennis Tournament, at the hands of a Muslim extremist.

Israel is going to retaliate in the direction of the Palestinians. More innocent men, women, and children are going to die. And for what? A tennis match?

Peer is a very beautiful and very talented tennis player, but she's no world renowned activist, she's no politician, and she's no major religious leader. Therefore, I respect the UAE's decision to avoid the risk of having her blood on their hands. 

I'm sorry to say this to her and the WTA, but right now this is not the time to experiment in "Gandhism." Muslim extremists are not playing for a trophy; they're playing for keeps; they don't care how many Israelis they kill, so long as they kill one, period.

To attack the United Arab Emirates for looking after an athlete's safety, while ensuring their own political safety within the region, is repugnant at best.

All that I ask of Peer and the WTA is to think for a minute...

1. What happens if she is killed while in Dubai, at the hands of an Islamic extremist?

2. What happens to the safety of Dubaian citizens, if Islamic extremists declare that the UAE are "traitors" for allowing an Israeli into their country, after the "Gaza Massacre"?

These were the questions the UAE had to address, before finally making their decision. Peer and the WTA don't care to address such questions, because all they care about is a stupid tennis tournament. They don't consider the potential political backlash and  deaths, that could come from her presence.

I close this article with this quote.

"Sports are about merit, absent of background, class, race, creed, color or religion. They are simply about talent. This is a classic case, not about what country did what to another country. If the state of Israel were barring a citizen of an Arab nation, we would have made the same decision."

Tennis Channel chairman and CEO Ken Solomon

I agree that sports and politics should not mix. With that being said, politics supercedes sports, because politics is NOT a game. A person could be at risk of dying from a bad call in sports; but in politics, if you make a bad decision, hundreds, if not thousands of people, will die. 

Peer, the WTA, and the Tennis network are now in a hypocritical role; as a result of their protests, this has now become a political issue and they're not politicians. They're not qualified enough to take positions that could effect their perspective countries, so they need to concentrate on playing tennis and stay out of politics.

My advice for them is to take their own advice, understand that this is politcs and move on. They need to allow time for tensions to subside, within this region, before they decide to try to throw their weight around.

In my opinion, I'll rather have a tennis player "bitching" about being left out of a tourney held in a Muslim nation; to me, it's better than having a conflict coming as the world is being shown a video of her being beheaded by Islamic extremists, days after she was kidnapped, while playing in this tourney.

I'm sorry Shahar, but I agree with the UAE in saying, "You're not worth the risk."      


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