SYMBOLISM OF THE OLYMPIC TRUCE:
LETTER TO JUAN ANTONIO SAMARANCH, PRESIDENT OF THE I.O.C.
[NOTE: The following is a revision of a letter that was sent to the IOC President in 1996. Except for a minor addition and changes in wording, it is identical to the earlier letter of which all copies have been lost. This revision was never sent.]
Juan Antonio Samaranch
International Olympic Committee
I am writing to commend the efforts of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to revive the Olympic Truce in the interest of contributing to international understanding and the maintenance of peace, and to offer new ideas concerning the symbolism of the Olympic Truce in the modern world.
Your efforts to promote the Truce helped to effect the United Nations resolution of 1993 as well as the resolution of 1995 that called upon Member States to reaffirm the observance of the Olympic Truce in advance of each Summer and Winter Olympic Games. These events helped make possible the diplomatic activity that resulted in the suspension of hostilities during the Olympic Games and allowed the supply of aid to populations suffering from the deprivations brought about by armed conflicts. Of particular note are your personal efforts to bring peace and revive hope in the war-torn city of Sarajevo during the 1994 Olympic Winter Games and the efforts of the UN Secretary General to ease tensions in the Persian Gulf during the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
No doubt these developments in world affairs will serve as an incentive for the IOC to undertake further initiatives in pursuit of its goal to promote international understanding, particularly among the youth of the world, through sport and culture in order to advance the harmonious development of humankind. I am aware that there is ongoing discussion on how the Olympic Truce can redefine the Olympic Games and revive some of the idealistic spirit lost due to a drift towards commercialization.
Towards this end, I wish to take this opportunity to offer ideas that concern the observance of the Olympic Truce. Until now, I have kept these ideas to myself but the events mentioned above have convinced me that the Olympic Movement will be more receptive to these ideas than in years past.
SYMBOLS OF OLYMPISMSince the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896, the Olympic Movement has accumulated a set of symbols that are clearly associated with the assembly of the worlds great athletes who have gathered together for the cause of peace through noble competition. These are symbols that serve to unite the world and acknowledge the historic relevance of the Olympic Games. But they can also serve to unite the world and acknowledge the historic relevance of the Olympic Truce. Symbol, a Greek word which means to throw together, can be effective as a bridge, a bridge between two realities, or in this case, between actuality and the ideal, what is and what ought to be. I believe that if the IOC were to extend the use of the symbols of Olympism on a worldwide scale in novel ways that would enable them to be readily associated with an international truce, this would work to build a bridge between the present world of strife and conflict and the Olympic Ideal of a world at peace.
SYMBOLS OF EKECHEIRIA:
THE OLYMPIC FLAG AND THE OLYMPIC FLAME