British Lord Takes 4,000-Mile Walk for Peace

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Lord Michael Bates is a member of the British Parliament on a 4,000-mile journey, all in the cause of peace.

The Christian peacemaker is walking from Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic games, to the site of the games of the XXX Olympiad next year in London, England.

As a member of the House of Lords and a former government minister, Bates is well acquainted with practices of British politics.

He spent much of his working life pacing the corridors of power.

"I do think there is something interesting about the artwork, generally in parliament," Bates said. "It's that it does have a very militaristic feel. You see the reality of war as it is, and therefore, it behooves us to do everything we can to avoid it."

Bates is one of the most active members of the House of Lords, but his latest campaign has yet to gain a foothold, so he's decided to take to the streets -- not in Britain, but in Greece.

Bates has began an epic journey from Olympia, which is the birthplace of the Olympic games, hoping to re-establish the 'Olympic truce'.

Almost 2,500 years ago, the Greeks were so frustrated by constant wars that they proposed a sporting event where weapons were laid down and combat was traded for competition.

To enable this, they declared a truce for seven days before and seven days after and that became the Olympic Games.

"Of course, the problem is, that fighting men can not lay down their arms voluntarily because they look weak to their their supporters and they look weak at home, and therefore, you need to provide them with an opportunity where they can actually look manly and yet stop killing each other," Bates said.

"And so, the idea of the games was conceived and a period of truce coveted. That went on for some 1,200 years and violations were extremely rare, one or two in 1,200 years," he added.

The concept of the Olympic truce is now backed by a United Nations resolution, signed unanimously by all 193 member states, and yet, since it's signing, it has been violated on every occasion.

"The resolution only asks that you take initiatives for reconciliation during the period of the games, but what it is saying, is that we have given a solid undertaking before the United Nations General Assembly that we will do something," Bates said.

"If we don't think we can do it, we shouldn't sign it, we shouldn't propose it. If we do propose it and we do sign it, as I'm sure we will, we should implement it," he explained.

The journey to London is certainly not without its challenges, but it may just inspire the British government to enforce the U.N. resolution in October this year, becoming the first host nation to take the Olympic truce seriously.

Today, with more than 30 countries currently at war, the need for a truce has never been more important, but not everyone is at first receptive.

Bates often pushes on until dusk, but unpaid and with no support team, he is at the mercy of whatever accommodation is available. One night, he was only offered floor space in a local church office.

Early the next day, he was back on the road again hoping that every step brings him a little closer to seeing the U.N. resolution of the Olympic truce brought into reality for the London games in 2012.

You can follow Bates' progress at which will carry daily updates on the progress of the walk and background resources on the history of the truce.

 "We have seen how governments have managed to mobilize huge resources for war in a very short period of time for resolutions of the security council, Bates said.

"I believe that with just a fraction of that leadership, commitment and resource directed to a resolution calling for truce in London 2012 could result in a legacy of lives saved, hope restored and an ancient ideal re-ignited to hand on to future games," he explained.

Bates has issued an invitation to anyone with a passion for peace to join him, even if, it is only for a few miles.

To sign the petition go to


Related Link:

Walk for Truce

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Sam Farmer, Grassroots News

Sam Farmer, Grassroots News

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