TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD,The Olympic Games have throughout history symbolized peace and goodwill to both athletes and observers. In this time of international peril, these games can be a rallying event to advance world peace or a terrifying opportunity to advance the further demise of that peace.
For these reasons, I appeal to all governments, peace organizations, the United Nations, and every group of diverse beliefs and interest to unite in creating a peaceful venue at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
What kind of peace do I mean? Certainly not a peace that requires enforcement by weapons. Not the peace of the grave, nor the security of the slave. I speak of a pace that will make life on this earth well worth living, the kind of peace that enables all citizens to build a better life for themselves and their descendants—I hope for a peace, not just for this season of the Olympics, but rather for all the seasons that follows, so as to birth a truly enduring peace that will grown and flourish among all nations.
Because of the many serious conflicts around the world, many have come to believe that lasting peace is impossible. That is a defeatist attitude and can only lead to the conclusion that conflict is an evitable result of sectarian and religious tensions. There is no problem of world destiny that is beyond solution if the reason of the world's leaders and the strength of the world's citizens work together as one. Peace is a way of living that can solve problems in ethical and fair manner, and ethics is a vast reference for life.
Peace does not require that all citizens agree or even follow the admonition to love their neighbors but peace does require that individuals live in mutual tolerance for diversity and submit their disputes for a peaceful settlement. Among the many traits that the citizens of the world share, none is stronger that their joint abhorrence of conflict.
Peace is a human right, the right to live life without fear of devastation or death or oppression. Our generation has already experienced more than enough of hate, discrimination, and conflict. It is way past the right time to build a world of peace where the weak will remain safe and where the strong can be just. The world’s leadership must remain diligent in working toward a strategy of peace that works for all. This strategy must be founded upon the principle that the citizens of the world are bound in a human kinship that renders us joined as one. The ancient Mayans offered an interesting concept for all to consider at this time: "I am another you."
Greece is a peaceful nation filled with peace loving citizens. These citizens must now protect the many visitors and participants in the Olympic Games, born in Greece thousands of years ago. The spirit of the Olympics is eternal, unique, and accepting of all beliefs. The Olympic spirit elevates human worth and fosters understanding among peoples and nations everywhere.
Throughout the world, people seem to believe that respect for power leads to greater results than does respect for one's fellow man. Since all humanity, regardless of their differences, is to be considered as equal, then all are entitled to benefit from and enjoy peace.
If Ruskin’s philosophy that mankind is a balance of nobility in nature and in spirit is correct, then now is the time for all nations and peoples to support that one integrity of purpose and work to improve the conditions of mankind. It would be well for the nations and peoples of the world to realize that believing there is no virtue or truth other than one's own is both unwise and uncharitable and most dangerous to human kind. Martin Luther King Jr. stated the case well when he said, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
Please send this message to all peoples of all nations, so that the Summer Olympics in Athens can serve a far greater purpose that determining the best athletes in the world. It is my hope that this 2004 Olympics in my homeland of Greece will serve as a mighty torch to light a better place for every nation and every individual around the world.
Everyone can and must make a contribution to this effort. I express here a profound gratitude on behalf of the Hellenic Aspis and Associates Inc., The World Foundation For Peace and Security, and for myself for every small effort you make to achieve a better peaceful world.
Admiral P. Kikareas (retired) H.N., Ph.D.