The ancient Greeks suspended the warring between themselves for the duration of the Olympic Games. In those days, the Games lasted only five days. But the truce lasted as long as the athletes needed to get to and from Olympia, a month before and a month after. Let’s do the same!

The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will take place from 26 July to 11 August and the Paralympic Games from 28 August to 8 September. This is over a much longer period but with much shorter transport times. To respect the Olympic spirit, all wars should therefore be suspended for at least two months (9 weeks), from 14 July to 15 September 2024 – and why not as from now.

This truce, and its desirable extension, should be used by all the States represented at the Olympics to establish the foundations of a lasting global peace, based on justice and respect for international law.

So, with Russia still at war with Ukraine, the IOC could allow its athletes to compete under its flag provided that it opens negotiations with Ukraine on the logistics of its withdrawal behind the internationally recognized borders which Russia committed to respect, along with the political sovereignty of Ukraine, when it signed the Budapest Memorandum on 5 December 1994. This necessary respect does not exclude the possibility of Crimea’s fate being decided by its population via a fair referendum conducted under the control of the UN or the OSCE.

Both on the Russian side and on the Ukrainian side, civilians and soldiers will certainly appreciate this respite granted to their lives, especially because it could and should become definitive.

In the Middle East, after an urgent ceasefire that can no longer wait, a just and lasting peace must be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians – who will need to have a delegation to the Olympics despite the deaths of a hundred or so high-level Palestinian athletes killed in the bombing of Gaza.

Wherever war rages, it must be suspended and its causes resolved diplomatically.

This time of peace must, just as imperatively, be seized by the nuclear-armed states to begin negotiating the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The five permanent members of the Security Council – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China – are signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and are bound by its Article VI, which they have flouted since its entry into force in 1970. The four other nuclear-armed states – Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea – must also sit at the negotiating table, and the six countries hosting nuclear weapons (American arms in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey ; Russian arms in Belarus) must be associated with them.

These weapons, « fundamentally dangerous, extraordinarily expensive, militarily ineffective and morally indefensible » according to US General Lee Butler, former head of the Strategic Air Command, are weapons of crimes against humanity, contrary to the Geneva Conventions, to International Humanitarian Law and to the Charter of the United Nations. At the opposite point from the Olympic ideal, they offer nations the example of the worst violence : the threat of hecatombs. They are claimed to be a means of preventing wars (which they clearly do not do) – but are in fact a means of imposing the domination of countries that have them over those that do not.

They also represent a huge waste when humanity needs to devote all its strength to meeting the terrible challenges of the present time : social, human and environmental challenges, and especially climate change.

The olympic spirit excludes cheating and violence ; on the contrary it demands strict respect for agreed rules, equality of status between competitors, and respect for the rights of each person. According to the IOC Charter,

« the goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humanity with a view to promoting a peaceful society, concerned with preservation of human dignity ».

This is the time when never !

That is why we call on athletes, the Olympic Committee, the spectators of the Paris Olympics and all people who love peace and humanity to unite to demand that world leaders stop all ongoing wars, open fair negotiations between the parties in conflict, with a view to achieving a just and lasting peace, stop the arms race and plan the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

At the same time as the Olympic Flame, the Flame for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament will burn in France during the « Disarm to Live » Festival in Saintes from 6 to 9 August 2024, open to all peacemakers, artists, thinkers, athletes, elected officials, and citizens of the world. Let us light it in our hearts and minds now without waiting. The world does not belong to warmongers, starvers, dictators and murderers. It belongs to generous peoples, to fraternal hearts, to lovers of life. To the living.

Protect life, demand peace ! Stop weapons ! Stop massacres ! Stop wars ! Yes to an Olympic Truce !

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