Yesterday the Youth Peace Ambassador’s were out in the streets of London (Stratford Olympic Park and Central London) conducting a survey to determine the figures of how many people have actually heard of the Olympic Truce. We went around asking people if they have heard of the Olympic Truce. Out of the 1035 respondents only 59 have heard of the Olympic Truce. Out of the 600 British respondents 3.8% have heard of the Olympic Truce, whilst 8.3% of the respondents from 69 other countries have heard of the Truce.
These results go straight to the point we were trying to make before, it is quite disappointing that The Olympic Truce has such little significance. The other day, David Wardrop – Chairman of United Nations Association Westminster said: “You can’t have an Olympic Games without having an Olympic Truce. We’re only celebrating the games because the Ancient Greeks decided that sports are greater than war.”
One of the main learnings of today was the importance of finding common ground to promote peace.
Dolapo Fakuade, UNESCO Looking Beyond Disaster & Peace Ambassador emphasised that an important factor for peace is finding common interests, this is what brings us together. At most instances people tend to look at the negative, focusing on differences rather establishing what we have in common.
Dolapo gave us an excellent example of how mutual understanding created a truce which has been on for the past 10 years among two Yoruba Tribes in the Western part of Nigeria.
The Ife-Modakeke conflict which was going on for more than a century was devastating not only for the tribes but to anyone who tried to cross the area. People were killed, schools closed and inter-married families were broken.
Today the Peace Ambassador’s visited the Imperial War Memorial to take a look at the ‘Build the Truce’ exhibition which was created to commemorate the Olympic Truce. As you enter, on the left side is a small section dedicated to this exhibition. This goes to show that governments and other organisations spend more money on war than on promoting peace.
Even though the ‘Build the Truce’ exhibition was small the message given in the film was effective. It highlighted that the world sees peace as the absence of violence but it actually goes much deeper. It displayed a message of the struggles in many war inflicted countries and even though war maybe over in some places there is still need for economic and human development.
Peace building is a long and hard process… “It needs a lot of work. It needs a generation or two. It needs a lot of people to work in the right direction, never give up or loose their patience” says Abas Al Janabi an Iraqi who was interviewed for the exhibition. This the greatest message we as Peace Ambassador’s can take home. It’s surprising and disheartening to see the lack of interest in promoting peace, I’m sure it costs a fraction of what it costs for war… so why not do it? The answer is not simple, and on our journey we will learn why everyday. But having a strong support network will help us start somewhere.
Truce: An agreement between enemies or opponents to stop fighting for a certain time.
Peacemaking: Reducing the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict: laying the foundations for sustainable peace.