‘Munich’ retells the ‘politically’ driven Palestinian 1972 Black September killings, and its spate of Israeli vengeance attempts. Arguable accuracy aside, Avner who led the revenge squad has a thought-provoking chat with Ephraim at the end, who tried to assuage his guilt from having harmed innocent bystanders.
(A)vner asked, ‘Did we accomplish anything at all? Every man we killed has been replaced by worse.’ (E)phraim replied, ‘Why cut my fingernails? They’ll grow back.’ A: ‘Did we kill to replace the terrorist leadership, or the Palestinian leadership? You tell me what we’ve done!’
This is reminiscent of the Greek myth of Hydra, the serpentine monster who regrows two heads for every head severed. Perhaps, Hydra’s cultural persistence reminds us that mere tit-for-tat violence is not the answer. What required is to make peace with kindly wisdom, complex as real-life can be.
E: ‘You killed them for the sake of a country (Israel) you now choose to abandon. The country your mother and father built, that you were born into. You killed them for Munich, for the future, for peace.’ A: ‘There’s no peace at the end of this, no matter what you believe. You know this is true.’
True home is not simply a land. It is where the heart is, where peace of mind is, where we feel most at home, where we truly want to be. Avner had self-exiled himself in remorse and fear of retaliation by the next generation of enemies. There is no war to end wars, if each but sows seeds for the next.
Though no terrorist admits being one, anyone who terrorises and lives in terror is already victimiser and victim. These words by the Buddha cannot be repeated enough – ‘Hatred cannot be ceased by hatred. Hatred can only be ceased by love. This is an eternal law.‘ May we not take forever to realise this.