Aida Cengic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) on How War Cannot Stop Progress Inspired by Olympic Values

July 2, 2012

My name is Aida. I live in the Olympic city, or better said, the "wounded" Olympic city in a small country in the Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In my hometown Sarajevo, back in 1984, the Olympic torch, one of the symbols of Olympics, burned. It happened long before I was born, at a time when my parents were students. The Olympic torch is a torch of peace and world unity, and during those days this little city became the center of the world. But only a few years after the Olympics, the Siege of Sarajevo began, which was the longest siege of an urban center after World War II. It lasted 1,425 days without water, food, or electricity, and the city was constantly bombarded for months and years. But the good people of Bosnia and Herzegovina survived the long war years and even then the spirit of Olympics still lived deeply in them. Perhaps this is the answer to how they survived all the fears that war brings. They were too proud to be left without hope.

"Swifter, Higher, Stronger" to the people of Sarajevo meant I want, I must, I will survive. This spirit still lives here, around us, and many Olympics have taken place since. The 21st century is the century of enormous progress, but also the century of great danger. Many conflicts and accidents that are taking a lot of human lives are happening around us. Therefore, the values of the Olympics at this time have a big significance for the common man in any corner of the Earth. Every single man in the world, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, class, and the need to live with dignity and to provide security for their loved ones, has the right to learn, enjoy the human freedoms, and be a citizen of the world.

These are all values that are passed on for centuries and at the same time the values of the Olympics include strengths, skills, and knighthood. The Olympics brings together the best ones, most skilled ones, and those who want to reach more every day, as first place brings more good and more love for all people of the world.

Therefore we must spread the importance of the Olympics in the world, support any idea that puts man and his right to make progress with an amazing speed in the center, and foster true human values and a constant need to come up to a specified target.

I have the privilege to be a child of an Olympic city which has proved its strength and survived. I also have an obligation to, in the period in which we live, carry messages of the Olympics around the world and say that it is possible to defeat evil and to encourage people to walk step by step to secure a better future. The way in which I will carry true values of the Olympics is easy: by education of young people, because only together we can realize true values and spread the spirit of the Olympics.

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