August 8, 2008 is the day that captured the world's attention, when all peace-loving people from around the world gathered in Beijing to celebrate the opening of the 29th Olympic Games. Ironically, on the day traditionally featuring peace and friendship, a war broke out between Georgian troops and the military forces in South Ossertia, an alleged enclave carved out of Georgia since the collapse of the former Soviet Union. This exacerbated the already fluid regional situation and caused a heavy death toll of both troops and civilians.
Russian armored columns Monday entered South Ossetia, rapidly escalating the tension and raising international concerns and public anxiety over further military and political confrontation between Russia and neighboring Georgia, a former Soviet republic. Some analysts even showed the concern that military antagonism could evolve into a new version of the Cold War.
Georgia, a pro-Western ally of the U.S, is intent on asserting its authority over South Ossetia - population of about 70,000 – which is within Georgia, but has an autonomous government. Many South Ossetians support unification with North Ossetia, which would make them part of Russia. It is reported by many Western media that Russia supports the South Ossetian government, has given passports to many in South Ossetia, and calls them Russian citizens.
Although the ingrained dust can not be settled overnight, the Olympic days should be free of bloodshed, as is stipulated by the Olympic Charter. With the opening of Beijing Olympic Games and under the banner of "One World, One Dream," people all over the world would like to meet each other on the sports field, rather than on the battle field. During the special Olympic days, people will abandon discrimination and feuds and stage "fair play" in a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere. No one can ignore the humanitarian concerns embodied in the sacred Olympic Charter - with ceasefire as its core spirit - and those strictly abided by ever since the ancient Greek days.
War is always described as a tragedy of human history; while peace is mankind's long-coveted and ever-lasting dream. Also, it has been historically well-documented that war is not the way to settle conflicts. The only way to effectively resolve disputes is to disregard old grievances, cease hostilities and negotiate for peace. Only in the backdrop of peace and in the framework of constructive negotiation can a win-win deal be reached. The Olympic Games provide a universally common stage for fair competition. All participating nations should unanimously and unconditionally stand up for the Olympic Charter and respond to calls from the U.N for a ceasefire so as to have a peaceful Olympics, which is a great blessing for both athletes attending the Games and the people at home.
By People's Daily Online