“LOCOG has allocated me 100 FREE Paralympic Athletic Stadium Tickets to be used on the evenings of the 5th and 6th September (50 each night).
These tickets are for young people in the communities affected by the riots, that we in the faith communities are in touch with.
I invite you to nominate named individuals to be entered in a draw for a ticket.
I also invite you to identify young people who have made an outstanding contribution to their peer group and community during this past year from these areas, again to be entered into a draw for a ticket. (Young people defined as 16-25 yrs .)
Please use your community contacts to provide names especially of those who are unemployed, in hard to reach groups or at risk and who otherwise would not get a chance to attend an event.”
A short film is now posted on the London Peace Network of our All The Bells ringing for the Olympic Truce and Millennium Development Goals yesterday.
The sound of all the different bells is beautiful.
Many thanks to all of you who came along – the Evening Standard reported 150 of us!
One of the bells we rang (from the Shree Ghanapathy Temple) was given to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon later that day – there are pictures at the end of the film. Thank you Geetha and Sai Ganesh (see left).
Please continue sending in your local upcoming events and, in particular, news of peace-making and trust-building activities during the Games. There’s lots on!
There’s been a huge response to this unusual and fun event!
If you are not ringing bells locally, please come to central London and join in.
Don’t forget to bring a bell – any bell – bicycle bell, cow bell, toy bell, ankle bells, ringtone, anything.
The Olympic Truce flag will be flying from the middle of the Millennium Bridge from 7.30am – try to arrive by 8am at the latest so that we are in position by 8.12am to ring for three minutes.
The Director of the International Olympic Truce Centre in Athens, Dr Constantinos Filis, has sent us an inspiring salutation which will be read out before we ring bells on the Millennium Bridge at 8.12am tomorrow morning (Friday). He also writes
We would like to congratulate you on your initiative and your support on Olympic Truce goals!
It will be a very nice opportunity to remind the world that Olympic Truce ideals can inspire the generations.
The event is part of a nation-wide All The Bells work by artist Martin Creed and bells will be rung across the whole country for three minutes from 8.12am. We are ringing to support the Olympic Truce and the Millennium Development Goals.
We will be welcoming visitors from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Department of Communities and Local Government and the United Nations Association. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport is also hoping to be with us.
News has travelled abroad – Kostas Hatzis, who lives in the Netherlands, will be arriving in full Greek national costume. He has promoted the Truce with a 4-day walk. We are all invited to follow his lead in celebrating our countries of origin on the day that the world comes to London for the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
We know it is a big ask for those who are observing Ramadan to join in at this early hour, so we are especially pleased that many are coming along.
Everyone ringing a bell will be filmed and the video will be downloadable after the event as a souvenir of a very special and historic occasion. For those who prefer not to ring bells or be filmed, provision has been made so that you can join in to the full.
More information on the Olympic Truce, the Millennium Development Goals and the event itself can be found on the links on the flyer, which you can download here. There is also a Facebook page for the event – please share through Facebook and the flyer.
If you have not yet let me know you’re planning to come, please email me asap!
Fr Steven Saxby, the first convener of LBFN, is appearing in the Opening Ceremony on Friday evening. Here he is with Danny Boyle.
But he’s not the only star! Philip Rosenberg, the Director of Faiths Forum for London and a regular at LBFN meetings, is also appearing on the stadium stage – in the run-up to the Opening Ceremony. Here he is sporting the new ID kit, just back from rehearsals in time to hear Tony Blair, Archbishop Rowan Williams and Charles Moore in conversation at the Westminster Faith Debates yesterday evening.
Anyone watching the ceremonies at a live screening event or at home – keep a look out for them!
A couple of people well known to LBFN are taking key roles. Harmander Singh of Redbridge Faith Forum was on TV yesterday as he accompanied veteran marathon runner 101-year-old Fauja Singh on the Torch Relay.
The Revd Steven Saxby of St Barnabas, Waltham Forest, was the first convener of LBFN and he is taking part in the Opening Ceremony on Friday evening (which will be televised). There is a lovely photo of him with Danny Boyle which I will post here if possible.
Let us know of anyone else taking part who should join the roll of honour!
I have been in touch with our Home Office contacts regarding changes in security for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The concern many of us had earlier in the year was that private security guards would not have the local knowledge nor the training to carry out security duties satisfactorily – they might not be able to ‘read’ a situation as well as local police officers and would not necessarily know about religious customs and clothing. We were reassured that security guards would be adequately trained and the London 2012 Games would be ‘blue’ – in other words, policed by police officers rather than other personnel.
Now that G4S has been unable to supply sufficient security guards, you will have seen in the news that the armed forces will be filling the gap. I believe this applies only to venue security, although the areas around the various venues may also be affected.
Asst Chief Inspector Tom Wingate of the Olympic Policing Coordination Team, who has attended our meetings and conducted briefings at Scotland Yard, kindly sent me the Home Secretary’s statement last week (which you can download here), along with a further statement:
This is not about policing the streets of London but of venue security. The assurance process that the Home Office has put in place provides robust and effective scrutiny of security planning, including venue security.
- The process also ensures that the challenges which can be expected in an operation of this magnitude and size are being identified and addressed ahead of the Games.
- Security plans have also been tested thoroughly, and while we are confident that all our partners, including G4S, will deliver a safe and secure Games, we are not complacent and will leave nothing to chance.
- Venue security is being delivered by LOCOG (as events organiser), G4S and the military. The Home Office is vigorously holding these parties to account for successful delivery.
- This is a huge operation to protect more that 100 venues. Delivering it is a big challenge.
- Tried and tested contingency plans involving the deployment of military personnel are also in place to ensure the safety of Olympic venues.
It’s clear that the government and LOCOG want to ensure that London is safe and that Londoners will not be policed by the military, but it looks as though the armed forces will be asked to conduct security checks. Tom assures me that he will let us know as soon as operational details have been decided. He has also confirmed that none of the military drafted in for these purposes will be armed.
Let me know if you have any concerns or can offer advice to those responsible for training the military personnel in their new roles. We are also in touch with British Transport Police, which polices the tube and railway network.
Our local multifaith networks are now listed by London 2012 (there were some errors, now corrected):
Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said:
‘The London Peace Network is encouraging religious, multifaith and peace-making groups across the capital to fulfil their potential.
I am proud that with the help of partners such as the London Boroughs Faiths Network, we are delivering our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in peace-building activities and to leave a rich legacy into 2013 and beyond.’
Faiths Forum for London is a key partner in 2012 Hours Against Hate and is looking for twelve volunteers from at least four different religious groups to volunteer twenty hours in charities of faith communities different from their own – a great idea and a unique opportunity during this Olympic year. Find out more here.
A new Facebook page for the Olympic Truce was launched last week and already has thousands of members from around the world contributing on the subject of peace – well worth a visit.
Check your faith forum’s details under Borough Links and send in your peace-building plans for the summer so that they can all be included in the picture carousel at the top of the website and in Coming Up.
The Imperial War Museum launched its Build The Truce audio-visual display in London yesterday. The Museum is interested in the many different ways we look at the items on display, depending on who we are.
LBFN is making a special visit to the Museum on Wednesday 6th June at 10am. We are delighted that
- Lord Michael Bates, who walked from Greece to London promoting the Olympic Truce as he passed through historic sites of conflict in Europe and
- Conrad Bailey, who leads the Conflict Department at the Foreign Office and who chairs the Olympic Truce stakeholders’ group (which LBFN belongs to)
have accepted our invitation to speak about the Olympic Truce.
We are invited to watch the 10 minute show and to hear from the curators, IWM’s Catherine Roberts and Dr Tim Jacoby of the Humanitarian & Conflict Response Institute at Manchester University. The new interactive display looks at the concepts of truce, conflict and resolution and how they are relevant to us in the twenty-first century.
The leaders of the “twinned” projects between LBFN members in London and local communities in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Jamaica will share some news and we will hear from others who are involved in peace-building activities as part of the Olympic Truce.
We will be able to talk to Catherine and Tim and share our thoughts on conflict – on Bosnia, Afghanistan, WWI, Northern Ireland, WWII or any other serious conflict. The role of local communities in reconciliation is of interest to all of us.
Please contact LBFN if you would like an invitation to this special event.
We’ll be putting all the information on the blog later so that we can all find the links and contacts we need.
In the meantime, here are a few clips and links to Olympic Truce-related programmes and events over the summer.
BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief had an excellent discussion on the ancient Olympic Games, including the Truce, and the contested values evident in the modern movement. You can listen again on iPlayer.
On the opening night of the Games, Prom no 18 is Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, with the West-East Divan Orchestra projecting an “inclusive vision of hope, reconciliation and hard-won triumph”. The programme says, “What better to mark today’s opening of the London 2012 Olympics than Beethoven’s ultimate hymn to universal brotherhood?” I would add sisterhood, of course.
The South Bank Centre is holding a Festival of the World from 1st June. Here is a clip of Jude Kelly, the Director, and others talking about the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, and how the Festival will be about participation and about how the arts are used for social change around the world.
This Saturday, 19th May, the Riding Lights theatre company comes to Lambeth for one night only with its show Monsieur de Coubertin’s Magnificent Opymlic© Feat!
LBFN’s twinned projects in Pakistan, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Ghana, and all the local activities we are involved in to reduce violence and to build trust in London this summer are in good company.