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Peace on Earth

December 22, 2010

Lets hear it for Lord Bates who has been constantly advocating for the Olympic Truce to play a big role in London’s Olympics in 2012. The issues surrounding the truce were debated in the House of Lords in October. Here are some highlights from the record:

I believe that the Olympic truce represents a golden opportunity to advance a fresh vision of an international society, with the alluring prospect that the legacy of London 2012 will be not just sporting venues, medals won and records broken, but lives saved and hope restored. Lord Bates

Over the weekend I watched a quite remarkable film-I doubt that it will be seen in many cinemas in this country-called “Lebanon”. When I was watching it, it struck me that you had to have a powerful lack of imagination to have any time whatever for the concept of war. For an hour and 40 minutes, you are inside an Israeli tank in Lebanon in 1982. Anyone who can watch that film and come away from it thinking that there is anything to be said for violent conflict has a breadth of imagination that I clearly lack.
Lord Putnam

The idea that a mass celebration-it is not just a nation’s celebration, but a worldwide celebration-should aspire to do something more is a good one.
Lord Addington

At St Paul’s Cathedral, we intend to organise an event bringing together not only Christians but supporters of all the nine major, recognised religions in London to proclaim the truce.
Bishop of London

There are other enthusiastic overtures from Baroness Grey-Thompson and Lord Hannay of Chiswich –  at the end of the debate Baroness Billingham throws some cold-water on things:

I have a vision of a meeting between the noble Lord, Lord Bates, the Prime Minister and all the Ministers responsible for immigration, law and order-not forgetting terrorism-to discuss this very proposal. It is not necessary for me to return to Delphi to consult the oracle as to the outcome of such a meeting, nor do I need to speculate on the headlines that would follow in the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. However, those are first thoughts that we need to look beyond. We need to adopt some of the ideas that have come out of this debate as regards applying previous experience to the present day.

Lord Bates is continuing to press the case. Most Olympics since the early 1990s have tried to revive the Olympic Truce (which is supported by a UN resolution signed by all 193 member states) – most have failed: in 2008 the Beijing Olympics appeared to actively provide a foil for Georgia to attack South Ossettia. One reason to be more optimistic about London in 2012 is the recent success of the Peace One Day campaign which has brokered three truces in Afghanistan in the last three years and as a result has inoculated 4.5million children against polio. Peace One Day are currently pencilled in for the Cultural Festival: ‘Peace One Day Concert in Derry: Co-commissioned with the Culture Company 2013 and Derry~Londonderry’.

When I was at Demos we published a whole pamphlet about the Olympic Truce and ways it could be applied for the Athens games in 2004.
Much of that still applies now.



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