“A Life in Fair Competition”
Decision of the OC re admission of the delegations of the Russian Federation and Belarus to the XXXI IPO 2023
To the Heads of all national delegations,
- "Ατρέκεια δ’ άριστον ανδρός εν πόλει δικαίου πέλει" - Ευριπίδου, Αλκμήνη
- "Fair judgment of a just citizen is the highest good in the state" - Euripides, Alkmene
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
after long deliberation and thorough exchange of opinions and arguments the Organising Committee has decided unanimously for the exclusion of the delegations of the Russian Federation and Belarus from the final registration to this year’s IPO. Thorough consultation with all affected parties has preceded our session and has been considered before our final voting. This decision is just, justified, and justifiable in front of the IPO community for the following reasons:
Our body could not rely on any positive regulative framework the implementation of which could lead to a statutory interpretation on the base of given facts and a following application of preformulated normative precepts. The statute of IPO not containing any clause about exclusion of countries that violate international law, we had to apply universal moral values, ethical principles, pedagogical models, and pragmatic considerations.
There has never been the slightest doubt that the Russian Federation with the support of Belarus has started an aggressive war against Ukraine in violation of international law. The IPO community has from the very first moment declared publicly its opposition and condemnation of the brutal attack. While the war is still ongoing the front of protest and reaction against the aggression remains constantly solid and decided to restore peace and justice. Greece as IPO 2023 organizing country is committed to support the Ukrainian people by all means. Under this condition, the participation of official delegations representing the two mentioned states has been categorically excluded.
However, the question remained if we could proceed like last year by proposing the participation of the Russian and Belorussian pupils without national emblems, as a team of individual participants representing only the carrier of their national philosophy competition. Additional condition for this option would be the unanimous acceptance or toleration of this proposal by all other delegations without exception. IPO is finally supposed to be an informal association of friends who celebrate every year their common love for wisdom by introducing new adepts to the pleasures of free public use of reason. Is it truly the case? Or should we accept that the use of public reason is in our days more important than the public use of reason? To invite Russian and Belorussian nationals without emblems constitutes in the view of the OC an untenable solution! We live in an ongoing fight and not in a time of settled wars and historically founded hostilities that might be overcome with the use of practical reason. By acting alike, we would create worse problems than the one we were called to resolve! First, on the side of the aggression victims, this could create the feeling of an involuntary unbearable imposition of coexistence with enemies, causing distress and sorrow and prolonging the indescribable pain and anger they have been thrown into for over a year now. Second, on the opposite side we would undertake the attempt to depersonalize the Russian and Belorussian participants by obliging them to cease identifying themselves with serious aspects of the conscious and unconscious constitution of their Selves. Further in case they should feel obliged to apologize for their warlords, they and their families could risk sanctions back home. Should they instead insist on the righteousness of the crimes of their leaders, we cannot guarantee their safety and security. The whole IPO would then be seriously jeopardized.
The OC has hoped that all these arguments would be understood and accepted by the national teams in question, guiding them to the withdrawal of their declaration of intent. This expectation has been frustrated. So, we come back to the statement that we clearly communicated last year, about the timely consideration of all contextual factors before the OC gives his final consent to the IPO participation.
We took this final decision because we care about all involved parties! We intend to protect optimally, as well the aggression victims and their sentiments, as the pupils of the war initiating countries from risks and perils to which they could be exposed, as finally our own common goal, which is the creation of all necessary conditions for a peaceful, thoughtful, and successful IPO in Olympia.
A life in fair competition requires above all the respect of life, liberty, and free development of individual and collective personality by all. Fairness requires proportionality, impartiality, purposefulness of judgment and mutual recognition of dignity and humanity. Finally, true competition remains unbiased only without use of violence and raw power. This awful war puts all above principles of action upside down. The OC invites you to some days of peace of mind in Olympia and is convinced that present decision is a right means to that end.
Prof. Dr. Michael Paroussis
President of the OC of the XXXI IPO 2023
Olympia 11. - 14.5.2023