I found a page in the New Statesman today with a picture of a blue hunched, gun-toting GI Joe type figure superimposed over a white athlete. The caption reads "Peace, if only for 16 days."
Turns out the ad is promoting the Olympic Truce. According the the Olympic Truce foundations' own literature, its mission "is to promote the Olympic Ideals, to serve peace, friendship and international understanding. In particular, to uphold the observance of the Olympic Truce, calling for all hostilities to cease during the Olympic Games and beyond, and mobilizing the youth of the world in the cause of peace."
According to the Olympic Foundation, the history of the Olympic Truce springs from the Greek tradition of "ekecheiria." Throughout the duration of the original Olympic Truce (which began in the 8th century and was observed for the following twelve centuries) from the seventh day prior to the opening Games to the seventh day following the closing, all conflicts ceased. This allowed athletes, artists and spectators to travel to Olympia, participate in the Games, and return to their homelands in safety.
Demos, another organization touting the Olympic Truce, claims that the OT has been responsible for:
* A cease-fire which allowed 10,000 children to be inoculated in Bosnia in 1994
* North and South Korea marching under the same flag as a sign of unity in 2000
* A pause in bombing of Iraq in 1998
* A pledge by African leaders to halt hostilities in 2000
Thought it was kinda cool and that I'd pass it on. Seems very much in the spirit of the Olympics, which I used to adore watching until about 4 years ago, when I realized that many of the participants are younger than me. This left me feeling very unaccomplished and lazy. They're standing there with gleaming white teeth, defined muscles, looks of deep concentration, bottomless stores of energy, waving to the crowd with medals hanging around their necks, while I sit there in my PJs, drinking beer, envious, and nursing a hangover, watching them succeed. In ANY case, the whole truce thing seems like something I can support.