Peacebuilding and ceasefire as an olympic tradition

The opening of Olympic Games in London is very close. The expectations from the Games are high not only in terms of sports but politics as well…

Back in Ancient Greece they used to announce ceasefire before Olympic Games would start. The idea of interconnection of the Olympics and ceasefire was a matter of many discussions and an occasion for revitalizing the tradition of the Games. According to Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee, “World youth should compete in sports and not in war field”.

In 1894 from the 16th to 24th of July during the Congress held in Sorbonne, Paris Coubertin presented his thoughts on the very issue. On the last day of the Congress a decision was made to hold the first Olympic Games of the time in 1896 in Athens. And for the purpose of organizing the Games the International Olympic Committee was established.

Not accidentally  have the symbols of the Olympics been chosen and later on approved by suggestion of Coubertin in 1913. The emblem is composed of five interconnected rings that stand for the unification of five continents through the Olympic movement. Blue colour represents Europe, the black is for Africa, red one stands for America and yellow with the green respectively represent Asia and Australia. Another interesting fact is one of the traditional rituals of the Games to host the Olympic flag of peace that depicts a dove with a palm branch in its beak that represents the tradition of ceasing all armed conflicts before the Games start.

It is no secret that at present armed operations are going on in Syria, also the situation in various parts of the world is rather unstable. The probability that the coming Olympic Games might promote ceasefire or at least relative peace in the world is, unfortunately, very low, as political interests now seem to be above all the traditions, humanism and moral norms.

However, it is the faith and hope for the good that enable us to survive in such situations. Pope Benedict XIV expressed his hope that the London Olympic Games will contribute to the establishment of peace in all the hot spots of the world, this way reminding the whole world about the very kind tradition, according to which all the conflicts ceased to exist and conflicting parties reconciled during Olympic Games.

In our turns we would also like to remind that old traditions are still valid. For the very reason let us believe that both in 2012 and in 2014 Olympic Games will really be able to become the symbolic beginning of peaceful competitions rather than wars and enmity….

Rendered by Haykuhi Katrjyan