Olympic Truce for sake of mankind’s grand sports gathering

31 07 2008

www.chinaview.cn 2008-07-31 07:37:43

Special report: 2008 Olympic Games

By Song Jing and Fu Rong

BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhua) — UN leaders have this week called for an Olympic Truce, a cessation of all hostilities worldwide for the duration of the Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The calls, made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of the UN General Assembly Srgjan Kerim respectively on Monday, reflect the Olympic spirit and the mankind’s dream for peace as well as the joint aspirations of the whole international community.

Conflicts and wars have been tragedies in the history of humanity, while peace is mankind’s ever-lasting dream. As the theme slogan of the upcoming Olympics “One World, One Dream” embodies, while the world community is made up of people of different skin colors, languages, races, religions, they share the global village as well as the dream for peace and harmony.

It is the Olympic host country’s sincere wish and the deep aspiration of people around the world that all the people on the Earth can enjoy the charms of the Olympics and at the same time share the joy and happiness in peace and harmony.

The Olympic Truce, which embodies a brilliant revival of the tradition that can be traced back to more than 2,000 years ago, draws its origins to the warring city-states in ancient Greece who agreed to observe a sacred truce while the games lasted, to allow athletes and spectators enjoy the quadrennial sports gathering in an atmosphere of peace and happiness.

The truce marked a milestone in Olympic history: the Games became a gathering for opposing wars and embracing unity, as well as a symbol of peace and fraternity.

Yet the historic journey to the revival of the glorious tradition was full of twists and turns and the endeavor suffered repeated setbacks.

In the early 20th century, Pierre de Coubertin, known as the father of the modern Olympics, had tried unsuccessfully to convince warring nations of the need to observe a truce. The ensuing two world wars not only dealt a ruthless blow to mankind’s ideal for peace, but also ruined three Olympic events. As recently as in the 1992 Barcelona Games, athletes from the war-torn former Yugoslavia were only allowed to participate as individuals.

The bitter lessons prompted people to reflect upon the chaos brought by wars. The Olympic Truce’s formal inclusion in the process of the United Nations represents the high approval of and universal respect for the noble idea of peace on the part of the international community.

Last October, the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a truce during the Beijing Olympic Games.

The resolution, submitted by China and co-sponsored by 186 nations, urged member states to observe the Olympic Truce individually and collectively during the Games of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing and the following Paralympic Games.

It also called on the UN member states to peacefully resolve all the international disputes in line with the spirit of the UN Charter.

The concept of the Olympic Truce was revived by the International Olympic Committee in 1992 which relayed it to the United Nations. Since 1993, the UN General Assembly has appealed for the truce to be observed, by adopting a resolution one year before each edition of the Olympic Games.

The UN endeavors to maintain world peace and promote common development are highly consistent with the Olympic movement’s spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play, and both are the lofty ideals being pursued by human society.

As Srgjan Kerim, president of the 62nd session of the General Assembly put it, the Olympic Games bring together athletes from all over the world and peace, mutual understanding and goodwill will be promoted among different countries and peoples during the great sporting festival.

These goals are the component parts of the fundamental values of the United Nations, Kerim added.

While nobody would cherish unrealistic hopes of getting rid of the chaos of war during the brief period of peace brought about by the Olympic Truce, the Olympic movement, which symbolizes peace and development, endeavors to bring about a peaceful future for mankind.

The brief truce is not only a precious moment for the world, but also serves as peace lessons for people to reflect upon the untold suffering caused by war. People would ask themselvels: why can’t mankind resolve disputes through peaceful means in this world of ours?

It also offers a rare opportunity for the international community to provide relief for suffering populations and promote peace dialogues.

For the sake of the Olympics, the grand sports gathering for all mankind, let there be a truce across the world. For mankind to have a future of lasting peace and common development, let the world seek and maximize the Olympic Truce.