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FC Barcelona Teaches Lesson of Coexistence

The legendary FC Barcelona soccer team enthused the West Bank and Israel during its peace tour on Aug. 3-4.
Fans of FC Barcelona cheer as the team leaves the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City August 4, 2013. The Spanish league champions are making a brief stopover in Israel and the Palestinian territories en-route to a pre-season tour of Asia. REUTERS/Oliver Weiken/Pool (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS SPORT RELIGION SOCCER) - RTX12A38
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Sports brings people and nations together. In most cases, all anyone has to do is bring together a group of people who love tossing around a ball or playing some other competitive sport, and they will find a way to overcome differences of age, gender, language, class and culture to create a fan base or exchange stories about the most exciting moments of the game. Sports can even fix the wrongs inflicted by politicians and religious leaders alike. It has potential to cross the deepest chasms and overcome the most daunting barriers.

People have known and respected this ever since the first athletic competitions began in ancient Greece. It was there that a wonderful tradition began. Sports were used to promote peace. The tradition lasted for 1,100 years, until 394, when Emperor Theodosius I finally extinguished the Olympic torch. It would not be lit again for another 1,500 years, in 1896.

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