By Joe White
The AYWW Spirit lives in the Olympic Spirit.
Excitement builds at 2020 AYWW in anticipation of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. AYWW heartily embraces the International Olympic Games as Principle 2 of the Olympic Charter expresses a fundamental AYWW principle.
Principle 2: The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
However, AYWW is profoundly concerned as Russian Chechen rebel leader, Doku Umarov, has apparently encouraged terrorist acts against the Sochi Olympic Games, describing the Sochi Olympic games as “Satanic dancing on the bones of our ancestors.”
AYWW asks, “How can Satanic dancing upon the bones of one’s ancestors display a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity?” Seems yet another deep human conflict, but perhaps not. AYWW believes that a resolution can be found within the ancient Greek culture, the culture that gave birth to the first Olympic Games ten thousand of years ago. There are two parts to a Greek solution resolving Mr. Doku Umarov’s Satanic Challenge. First, the ancient Greek’s, for the most part, believed humans, primarily Greek adult males, to be rational animals. Hence, they argued that misfortune was likely to be rooted in ignorance. Second, whatever the conflict, the Ancient Olympic Games were a time for an Olympic Truce to stop war and violent attack.
First, since no human being is omniscient; ignorance is, and will always be, a part of every individual’s existence. Expect people to be ignorant and to disagree. The Sochi Olympics will host over 2,000 athletes from over 190 countries. AYWW embraces the hard fact of cultural pluralism in our 21st century. Thus any comprehensive ideology with an expansionistic mission of global conversion is on a collision course with history. At this time, humans are profoundly divided over their comprehensive ideologies given our modern understanding of the limits of practical reasoning in this context. However, such disagreements do not rule out cooperation or social stability, especially mutual flourishing. The Olympics are a testament to our collective flourishing and celebration in the midst of our profound diversity. Tolerance and merit are Olympic virtues. Cultural pluralism, amongst humans, is as beneficial to human thriving as is poly-culture, versus monoculture, in agriculture.
Second, there is the ancient tradition of the Olympic Truce. Already the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted the traditional Olympic Truce for the Sochi Olympic Games. So, the world of nations comes to Sochi in peace seeking harmony and the opportunity for the vast majority of nations on earth to celebrate our differences through the common competition of sport. For these 2014 Olympic Games, please Mr. Umarov, let us lay down our arms and observe this global Olympic truce. Let us begin to find the stability to live together in the midst of our now recognized deep diversity. 2020 AYWW is attempting to create an Olympic-type truce for the year 2020. With AYWW’s global truce in 2020, there will be no need that year for the Tokyo Summer Olympic Committee to secure the traditional Olympic Truce as a global truce will already be in place.
The Olympic athletes, proudly representing nearly every nation on our planet, engender hope for our collective future. They will be male and female, all races, all major religions and most ethnicities, gay, lesbian, straight, these athletes will mirror our human population. They come to Sochi to compete, to learn and never to disrespect the home of someone’s ancestors. However, the two recent bombings in Volgograd, a city 400 miles northeast of Sochi, suggest that these International Olympic games are misunderstood by a subculture of local citizens. 2020 AYWW invites Mr. Umarov and his colleagues to take a global leadership role in respecting the tradition of the ancient Olympic Truce.
One of AYWW’s first animations, “Competition, Not Combat,” was created by James Mosley. AYWW encourages its community to watch the Olympic Games, especially the Opening Ceremonies. Expect Russia to open this Olympiad in the traditional manner of the hosting country presenting itself to our Global Community as a society worthy of admiration and respect.