Olympic Truce

OLYMPIC VALUES

The modern Games were founded on values that can be applied to society as a whole, as well as to sport itself.

Respect – fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and the environment
Excellence – how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives
Friendship – how, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences

The Paralympic values are based on the history of the Paralympic Games:

Courage * Determination * Inspiration * Equality

OLYMPIC TRUCE

The ancient Greek Olympic Games included a truce – a halt to fighting – so that competitors could travel to the Games and back without being killed.  Moreover, the whole idea of the Games was to bring individuals from warring states together in peaceful competition; the Truce wasn’t just a practical add-on.

The modern Olympic movement revived the idea in1992.

A resolution on an international truce during the London 2012 Games, led by the UK government (as host nation), has been adopted by the United Nations with a record number of member states signing.

The Bishop of London has spoken in the House of Lords in support of an Olympic Truce.

Gary Streeter MP asked a question at Prime Minister Questions on 29th June and received a positive response.

Lord Bates has walked from Olympia to London to draw attention to the UN resolution (which was adopted on 17th October 2011) to implement the Olympic Truce.

WHAT’S THE POINT OF A TRUCE?

What happens when the violence stops?  What happens next?

What kind of problems are ‘solved’ by violence?  What else might we do instead?  If violent solutions are not an option, how do we find other ways to sort out our difficulties?

A truce offers a break in the violence, a chance to take a step back and experience something different.

In war-torn areas, a truce allows humanitarian aid to get to those who need it.

The Imperial War Museum’s film Build The Truce shows a variety of responses to war, truce and peace – there are no easy answers.

LONDON TRUCE

Since we are a London network, we’ve been planning ways of bringing about a London Truce.

We want to encourage activities which reduce violence, build trust and which help all of us Londoners find non-violent solutions to the challenges we face.

Ideas include

  1. A knife amnesty, a focus on reducing postcode violence (with MPS & BTP)
  2. Call for a halt to domestic violence (with borough community safety units, hospitals, GPs)
  3. Anti-bullying campaigns (with schools, workplaces)
  4. A break from hate crime (with MPS & BTP)
  5. Challenging youth/post-code violence (with borough youth services)
  6. Peaceful public transport (with Transport for London)
  7. Intergenerational activities, the challenges facing London parents
  8. Skills for anger management, mediation, conflict resolution/transformation, round table discussions
  9. Local peace/prayer walks/trails
  10. Publicising safe spaces across London
  11. Exhibitions, stories, art, poetry and music of reconciliation, peace and understanding
  12. Interfaith cricket and football matches, which are always good fun

The promotion of practical opportunities to try out and learn new ways of dealing with conflict will raise the profile of the wide range of organisations which support this.

Other ideas include offering hospitality for people coming from abroad, live big-screen events for people who aren’t attending the Games in person (which is most of us), community festivals which reflect the values of the Olympics & Paralympics and iftar (Ramadan falls around 20th July – 19th August) and langar meals to which local vistors from different faith and philosophical traditions are invited.

Discussions have highlighted our concern that the people who usually get left out of the good things in London life will also get left out of the excitement and opportunities that the Games will offer.  We are all keen to see that this doesn’t happen and that our marginalised communities benefit from London 2012.

The importance of London Peace Network activities leaving a lasting legacy is important.  Nobody wants London to slide back to ‘normal’ after the Games are over.  A closing event would gather up all that has been learned, celebrate the activities that have taken place and ensure commitments are made for 2013 and beyond.

Being an international city, local communities in London often have strong ties with local communities overseas.  Twinning peace-building activities here with those abroad is another 2012 opportunity.  The Foreign Office is working with the London Peace Network on projects in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Jamaica which fall under three themes:

  • local solutions to local problems
  • legitimate politics
  • building a 2012 truce legacy

USEFUL LINKS

London 2012 – official website for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

More Than Gold – an organisation helping churches make the most of 2012.

The Peace Alliance – some boroughs will be holding a Peace Week.  The theme this year is Do Something Kind.

Get Set is London 2012′s schools programme which is also promoting the values of the Olympic Truce –  there’s a good film on this site which introduces the Olympic Truce.

Torch in London – the Olympic Torch is being carried through all the London boroughs the week before the Games and ‘overnighting’ in six of them:

Saturday 21 July

Greenwich
Newham
Tower Hamlets
Hackney
Waltham Forest (Evening celebration)

Sunday 22 July

Redbridge
Barking & Dagenham
Havering
Bexley (Evening celebration)

Monday 23 July

Lewisham
Bromley
Croydon
Sutton
Merton
Wandsworth (Evening celebration)

Tuesday 24 July

Kingston
Richmond
Hounslow
Hillingdon
Ealing (Evening celebration)

Wednesday 25 July

Harrow
Brent
Barnet
Enfield
Haringey (Evening celebration)

Thursday 26 July

Camden
Islington
City
Southwark

Lambeth

Wandsworth
Kensington & Chelsea
Hammersmith & Fulham
City of Westminster (Evening celebration)

Friday 27 July

Olympic Stadium

Revd Nigel Stone is the Diocesan Olympics Adviser for the Anglican Diocese of Southwark and Elizabeth Harrison is the Olympic Mobiliser for the Anglican Diocese of London.  They both have lots of information and ideas for parish churches on how to get involved in London 2012 and are happy to share information with other religious and community groups.

Registering with London 2012′s Local Leaders is a good way to get information and resource packs (posters, quizes, gardening, BBQs, lining the streets, big screen events) for any local activities connected with the Games.

5 thoughts on “Olympic Truce

  1. Lord Michael Bates unveiled the ‘Walk For Truce’ mural on July 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm in Shoreditch. Ccreated by CODE FC and Jack Haslehurst mural to celebrate Lord Michael Bates’ epic 3,000 mile walk in support of UN Truce Resolution 48/11 of 1993 which promised a global cessation of all hostilities during subsequent Olympic and Paralympic games. Photos of the event may be viewed at: http://www.londonartwall.com/london_2012.html

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  2. Well done John! It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it – I have a wristband, an Olympic Truce pin badge, a Rio 2016 badge (in hope of an Olympic Truce in 2016) and my Peace Mala beads from previous years. Pax, shalom, salaam, shanti :)

    Thanks for coming on Friday – a great occasion.

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  3. Pingback: Olympic Truce | Pakistan links | minority-majority project |

  4. Hi, I am a great fan of the Olympics and the Paralympics. In fact I was one of the performers in the opening ceremony. I am 100% behind the spirit of the Olympics and everything the Olympic truce stands for. Since the Olympics has finished I have been looking into other ways to get involved with volunteering activities and am keen to get involved with any activities in 2013. If anyone has any details please could you send me details to davies5000@tiscali.co.uk

    I was also wondering if anyone had an Olympic Truce pin and I would be prepared to make a donation to any group or charity.

    Thanks for your help and look forward to getting further information

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