The Words of the Walsh Family

Small Nation, Bold Steps - Palau

Thomas Walsh
December 3, 2005
Secretary General IIFWP/UPF
Koror, Palau

Dr. and Mrs. Moon arrived in Palau at noon on December 2. It was a beautiful day in a most beautiful place. The population of Palau is only approximately 20,000. Palau was dominated by Japan early in the 20th century, and in WW II, 11,000 Japanese (including many Koreans who had been conscripted into the Japanese army) were killed, as well as about 8,000 Americans.

After WW II, Palau became a territory of the USA and gained its independence in the 80ís, but maintains very close relationship with America. Yet to this day the country maintains strong links to Japan. Palau also has strong ties to the Philippines; about 20% of Palauís population are from Philippines, living and working in Palau.

The main event was convened at the Palau Cultural Center located in the heart of Koror city. The Center takes its inspiration and theme directly from one of the most unique aspects of Palauan Culture - Stone Money. From the heavens above, the ancestors can clearly see this concept, which borrows the form of Palau's most important stone money piece, the Mchuchuu.

One unique feature of this event was a small group of demonstrators, fundamentalist Christians with signs proclaiming that Jesus, or rather their narrow view of Christianity, is the only way. They seemed to make little impact, but represented an ongoing aspect of the social and religious landscape, a reminder of some of religionís unfortunate characteristics. This was an odd contrast to the broad welcome of major religious groups of all kinds throughout the Asian tour.

Father Moon spoke for well over two hours to an audience of 500. The program included traditional Palauan songs, an invocation, welcome remarks from the Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, Hon. Alexander Merep, and an address by the High Chief Reklai, Raphael Ngirmang.

"This is such a small island!" said Dr. Moon, "Palau should unite with other island nations of the Pacific. Your future lies in being one Pacific nation. Otherwise there is no hope in the future. This is not Rev. Moonís view but Godís view. You have to take a bold revolutionary step."

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