Unification News for June 2005

New Chance for Peace in the Middle East Ð Crown of Peace ceremony in Berlin, Germany

Fritz Piepenburg, Secretary General IIFWP-Germany
Berlin, Germany
December 4, 2004

Under this headline a two day seminar organized by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace Germany took place in Berlin on December 4th. After a brief introduction by Karl Meier, President of the IIFWP-Germany, an excellent video presentation explained about the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) and the European involvement with it.

Keynote speaker was Prof. Dr. Eliezer Glaubach, a four time member of the Jerusalem City Council and head of the I. Foerder institute based in Israel. He began his talk by quoting the famous lines from the Prophet Isaiah, which states, "they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore."

According to Glaubach, the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) is fulfilling this prophesy right now: "What Rev. Moon has been able to do in the Holy Land over the past months is both extraordinary and astonishing. He has mobilized people from over 190 nations and the 5 continents to come to Jerusalem and work for peace. Which other historic person has ever done such a thing?"

He then asked the question, why Rev. Moon should choose the Middle East and not other hot-spots in the world. In his answer, he reverted to Jewish history. King David, some 1000 BC, founded Jerusalem as a city of peace for the 12 tribes of Israel, who were constantly quarrelling among each other. Jerusalem was to be a city belonging to none of the 12 tribes, but should serve them as a place for absolute peaceful communication and trade. Rev. Moon has picked up on this idea: "I know Rev. Moon personally. When I talked with him during a breakfast meeting in Washington DC, he told me: as soon as there is peace in the Middle East, peace can be realized in the entire world. That is the reason he invests so much into the Middle East. He feels deeply responsible for peace in the world."

He then continued to address the German audience in a very personal way: "The German nation is a great nation. However, according to my observations, the Germans have been traumatized by the 10 or 15 black years in the first half of the 20th century. They still live under the shadow of these bad and terrible years." However, according to Glaubach, German history is not only Hitler and the 3rd Reich. "What about Goethe, Mozart and Beethoven and all the German philosophers? You have proven in the past that you are able to greatly contribute to the civilization of the world." He also stated that the most brilliant minds of the Jewish people were German born and German educated, and cited Albert Einstein as one example. "It is time Germany overcomes its psychosis and starts working for the sake of the world again. Of course, we should never forget what has happened, but we should not feel permanently oppressed by it either. This is my wish for the German nation and I say this as a Jew and an Israeli."

Amir Mohammed Herzog who, before converting to Islam, was the secretary of Billy Graham during his preaching tours in Germany, talked about the common points between all religions. "We have the same task, Muslims, Jews and Christians. We people of faith have to become examples of peace. We can't expect this from our politicians". He also encouraged everybody to take part in the pilgrimages to the Holy Land. "I have gone on the pilgrimage twice, and I tell you, I came back as a different person. What you experience there in person, can never be learned through any book or by going to any university." He stated that the various ethnic and religious groups in Jerusalem already practice living together in peace. "I talked with Jews, Christians and Muslims and I never heard anybody complaining about the other. They were simply overjoyed that we came to their city and talked with them."

The last speaker in this round was Rev. Marino Parodi, who is a theologian and psychologist living in Milan, Italy. His main teaching was about the importance of forgiveness. And while forgiving does not release the perpetrator of sincerely repenting and atoning for his crime, it frees the victim from the dark forces of hate and resentment. Forgiveness is first for the sake of healing the victim and second for the aggressor. In his profession as a psychologist he has countless examples of the healing powers of forgiveness.

After lunch Karl Christian Hausmann, president of the German Family Federation, gave a talk on "Universal Values and Life Goals". This was followed by Mirjami KšrtvŽlyessy, a young woman in her late teens, who gave testimony about her experience working in Israel. Young people were conducting IIFWP service projects with both the Jewish and the Palestinian communities and thus had a heart to heart experience with the people there. Five new Peace Ambassadors were appointed at the end of this session.

In the evening, Fritz Piepenburg, Secretary General of IIFWP-Germany, lectured on "The significance of marriage, family and the world peace blessing." At the end of the lecture, five representative couples came to the stage, and together with all participants, the world peace blessing was conducted

Five Peace Ambassadors received the Crown of Peace Award for their outstanding contributions to peace in their field of work and community. Then President Karl Meier proposed to give the Crown of Peace Award to the founders of IIFWP International, acknowledging and appreciating their lifelong endeavour for the sake of realizing peace in this world, and crowning them King and Queen of Peace. This was enthusiastically supported by all participants. The German-Jewish couple of Dr. Preusser-Franke brought in the crowns and handed them over to Manfred and Inge Sorgenicht, some of the first German members of the Unification Movement, representing Rev. and Mrs. Moon. The solemn ceremony came to an end with musical contributions from Heidi Wakayama, who led everybody in the song, "Amazing Grace".

The next day, almost all participants gathered at the "House of World Cultures" in Berlin, from where they started a peace march under the banner "Give Peace a Chance: Jews, Christians and Muslims pray for Peace in the Middle East". Police escorted the marchers all the way to the Brandenburg Gate, where statements were read and prayers where held. Over 1000 flyers were distributed among the onlookers, as Muslims, Jews and Christians together promised to work for peace. It was a very meaningful peace demonstration below the Brandenburg Gate at the center of Berlin. All participants and onlookers were deeply touched by the spirit of brotherhood and mutual affirmation.

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