Articles from the October 1997 Unification News
Thoughts on Visiting Father's Birthplace
by Nicholas Bikkal-Tokyo
My trip to North Korea was a lesson first and a rebirth next. My lesson was one of attitude. I went with a closed mind toward the North Korean people as we have been taught that they are the enemies of God, and True Parents. Additionally, I was brought up fighting communism since some of my own family escaped the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. In the Divine Principle we learn that communism is the enemy of God. The Korean War between 1950 and 1953 brought back bad memories; and for sure the guides in North Korea do not speak words of praise toward Americans, either. I previously had seen them as "American haters", "Dehumanized, soulless revolution-bent beings".
In part I was right.
However, what I found was a people starved from the lack of love. I understood of the providential claim Satan had on the nation. During the trip I found the answer to my problem when we were taken to True Father's birthplace and home as a youth, and with my own give and take with North Korea and its people. My experience showed me that they are people like any other and that we need understanding of their situation which only comes from the study of the Principle. It's essentially a God-Satan battle. This comes out loud and clear in the Fatherland. All other experiences with communists and communism fall short of this direct connection to the Adam nation and its people.
Many questions came to mind: Why was I in North Korea to begin with? Who am I? Who are True Parents that I was able to enter this holy yet desperate land? It's where love starts. North Korea and its people are where love was lost. Communism is the ultimate historic Satanic claim to mankind. Thus Kim Il Sung of North Korea was used to kill the humanity of the chosen people, controlling their feelings, thoughts, life through his own feeling of paranoia, hatred towards outside invaders, etc. Thus Satan retaliated. The core is attitude. North Korea is where Satan took all that historical accumulated negative energy and sucked the life out. He chose God's chosen people. As he did with Adam, Satan took God's most precious land and people and destroyed them.
The main lesson I learnt in going to North Korea is that of giving: give and don't stop giving, as True Parents have often taught. Don't go and expect anything in return. Fundamentally, they are in no condition to do so. At times I saw some waiters and waitresses hesitate when given a broad smile. The second time around they would smile back, but then only meekly. Generations of spiritual, heartistic starvation and abandonment are not solved with a single giving, or even a few offerings of gifts. It will take a lifetime, or two or three to get their hearts and minds fully open and free. However, they will quickly learn to do good in God's eyes. They are a humble and simple people who soon will understand God again. God will bless that faith and simplicity with heart.
Giving to North Korea is participating in the building of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, North Koreans are fated to wait and continue suffering until all providentially have-not nations have been satisfied. They will continue suffering because of mankind's sins. Remember that the North Korean tragedy can only be seen and understood from a Divine Principle perspective. Going to the Fatherland leads the mind to this truth, it is otherwise incomprehensible what has happened to these people. If we had all done right in the eyes of God others would not have had to suffer, or at least if we had done less wrong others would have had to suffer less.
The Fatherland is the heart of the Kingdom of Heaven and thus must be built free of Satan's accusation. This will come after yet-unsatisfied nations, people with no visible hope or who have not yet achieved their providential mission are at peace. This is what True Parents are now working on. To achieve the ultimate goal we must fulfill our mission so that North Korea can be liberated sooner rather than later. North Korea is destined to be the new Garden of Eden. If Christian leaders, years ago, had accepted Father in North Korea they may not have had to go this suffering route, paralleling in many ways Father's suffering course. Their disunity caused both to suffer. We, the inheritors of God's blessing are now entrusted to free them all by fulfilling our given duties.
Joseph, son of Jacob, became prime minister of Pharaoh's lands. He fed Egypt during 7 years of famine, de facto ruling that land. God worked through Joseph. In the same way I see God working through True Parents to "feed" North Korea both spiritually and with food. Already True Parents were given the right to manage the main tourist hotel in Pyongyang among other projects, more will naturally follow. Only True Parents can with their understanding of North Korea and its communism, and True Parents' cosmic level indemnity paid, bring this nation back to God. North Korea was the alpha and it clearly is the omega. All else are in between foundations.
However, there are things that Satan can't have, and that is man's conscience and humanity. Satan can cover it and control it but can't take it away. This is the heart of my lesson. North Korea will be won by OUR giving to them - unconditionally. We will not get a thing from people who have nothing to give, as it has all been completely taken away from them. North Koreans live on the bare minimum a human can subsist on. We, the inheritors of all of God's and True Parents' love are the ones who have to give life to this nation of 20 million. The hardness emanating from these people, perceived by the world, comes from historic deprivation insecurity, inequality; the result of lack of love given and received.
Giving it all as an offering to the center, Kim Il Sung, and now his son Kim Jung Il, in North Korea is the way of showing gratitude to the "givers of love and life", the Satanic way, which is how elder statesman envisioned his own role. This was the process through which all was taken from the people. Nothing in North Korea is done without permission from a central figure. When giving to the center one receives blessings. To this extent I see them being prepared for True Parents in a restored way. They are the chosen to make offerings to God in behalf of mankind, as did the Levites, descendants of Aaron among the Israelites.
Kim Il Sung was the historical personification of resentment, and anger toward others, thus setting out to separate from them. This is what lies behind the Juche ideology. He started his revolutionary career as a resistance fighter against the Japanese occupation (1905-1945). One can say that it was this military occupation that gave the senior Kim his impulse to establish his own brand of communism. Satan, history's dark power, took control after that. For all the Christian Churches that might have existed in Pyongyang and North Korea before, Korea was not essentially a Christian nation, although they have always had a sense of historic destiny. North Korean public structures, all glorifying the revolution, are monuments to the grandeur of Kim Il Sung's thought. Structures are large, with large grounds accommodating tens of thousands of people surrounding them which are used for rallies, and other public activities. No churches can be seen Pyongyang today. However, ground breaking has taken place just a 5-minute walk away from the UC-managed hotel to build a Unification Church.
For those who had some experience in communist nations other than North Korea in the past, understand that North Korea is fundamentally and visibly different. No private ads of any kind, nor foreign business of any kind can be seen on the streets of Pyongyang. NONE. Not a Coke, Mitsubishi, Mercedes Benz, etc. poster, billboard, or ad. That because it is not conducive to the revolution. The only announcements, signs, posters are of revolution, which started many years ago. In addition to this strict observance of the main revolutionary spirit one sees no unnecessary building, vehicle, airplane maintenance. For sure upkeep is not done for art's sake.
What I did not see was a "show" put on for foreigners. They don't care to impress us externally in that sense, and even if they did they don't have the money for it. We saw North Korea as it really is.
North Korea has taken a course opposed to humanity and the Will of God. North and South Korea can't be compared. North Korea does not care about the weak or the economy. North Koreans are there for the personal adoration of the perfection of the perfection level Satanic figure, Kim Il Sung, and now his son Kim Jung Il. It's the true North Korean and Communist Raison d'Ítre.
The Dark Power has the purpose of absolute and total reign over mankind spearheaded by Kim Il Sung. Other Communist leaders worldwide are secondary in this goal. A look at North Korea today shows that nothing exists for the sake of the North Korean people; only for Kim Il Sung, and now Kim Jung Il. They exist for Satan. This cold ruthlessness is supported by and education system and a military devoted to world dominion. All this is where the Dark Power, the direct controller of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il, absorbs its glory. Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il are his creations.
Satan controls and is single mindedly determined through Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il to take. Any show of being soft on others and their misfortunes would be taken by Satan as not being fit for him and would work to violently replace them. Thus Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il themselves have no freedom, and cannot be human. It's the story of the Dark Power and its time in History.
Evil energy is usurped even from the Kims by the Dark Power. Unless directed to the Kims (Satan), and that direction, there is no rationale, heart for "I'm sorry," or "forgive me." Don't expect it from them when an atrocity is committed.
For them it's a privilege to serve North Korea. If you hold back the revolution you might be rejected. Survive and give to the revolution - don't take from it.
To what degree people believe in their revolution I cannot say since not only we could not speak the same language but they are not allowed to communicate with foreigners. Several generations have now passed. What may have been known in the past of religion, foreign connections, art, culture, wealth, freedom remains a long past memory for a few and non-existence to most. No substantial contact with anything foreign is visible, with the exception of vehicles. They walk to work, they ride in trucks as there aren't enough buses to go around, regardless of weather. It's not easy to believe that they have any thoughts of what is not state-sponsored revolution. This is what is taught in schools, this is what all their music and art is about, it's what they live day in and day out. The revolution is all. It's the ONLY thinking. They have given their blood, their life, and all they have for it. They still are doing it and will continue doing it until something changes it. That something is True Parents with their army of angels: us.
It's a very vertical society. There is no worldliness to distract them from their service to the "Beloved Leader" or, now, the "Dear Leader" and the revolution. North Koreans refer to Kim Il Sung as Father, or "our Beloved Leader" Kim Jung Il is the "Dear Leader". Concepts of free speech, or travel, or information, or any other non revolutionary thought is non existent, nor permitted.
People are indoctrinated for war. (I hear that the North Korean schools in Japan have also been training grounds for the eventual world revolution) The belief that Americans and Japanese are evil is very real, and they speak of us in those terms. I was not looked on with visible mistrust because I was a follower of Rev Sun Myung Moon, a most welcomed North Korean revolutionary in their eyes. (I don't know if they use the term Reverend when referring to Father) Kim Il Sung understood that Father does not hate North Korea, although he knew Father is avidly anti-communist. However True Parents were welcomed as Korean unifiers. True Parents are already working in North Korea.
Hardness of character is seen in the police and military, whose front line are mostly young recruits. They do not have the experience of parenthood, reflection, maturity. They are newly trained and fresh with revolutionary ideals and hardened by their ignorance of God, love, True Parents, etc. I toured North Korea the first three days of October. This is the middle of harvest season. Everyone, including our guides when not with tourists, have to pitch in and help reap, mostly rice. I even saw in the fields junior high school aged youth after school in the afternoons with sickle in hand bent forward cutting the rice, often in their blue, white and red school uniforms. These are a people who value and respect manual labor and physical work. For the revolution all is acceptable.
Other than True Parents few people understand the seriousness of the North Korean people to their revolution. Few have given so much of themselves for a cause or ideology, this time Kim Il Sung's Juche, or are as prepared to give all they have left: their life. All else has been given, or taken. Whether initially people voluntarily gave their life or not for this revolution, today all are prepared. They know nothing else, every neighbor expects the other, as part of a team, to do so, and they already have given up every and any sense of comfort and luxury for this goal. There are no horizontal, material distractions. People this committed to achieving an ideological victory, and free from any material or emotional baggage holding them down is a formidable enemy. Their every emotion is vertically connected to the ideological center, the Father of their society, Kim Il Sung.
North Korea is a simple society, mostly farmers. They have for several generations endured cold, famine, and all other hardships imaginable without complaints or restructuring of their society for the sake of the victory of their revolution which is to communize the world under their great leader, Kim Il Sung. When asked to commit their life they have little holding them back to do so, whether emotionally or materially.
On the other hand our materialistic and democratic societies are so weakened many would not be able to confront their ruthless, heartless attack. Once they start attacking they don't reason, they just fight until the end, until there is a victor.
Our True Parents pioneered the way to the submission of this society through heart: giving. We must never stop giving and thinking of the highest and broadest goals, following our True Parents' directions. It is our protection. How many of us, otherwise, would have the stomach to give it all up for our faith, Fatherland, etc.? Fight to win in our God-given missions.
To understand communism through North Korea as a heartistic course was one of my main lessons, directly connected to our oneness with True Parents and the Principle. Relationships with the few North Koreans we met on the tour were very warm. One cannot talk of Principle, ideology, poverty or lack of freedom, nor history. We must go to them with an open and giving heart, not confrontational. They blossom with our giving and intuitively see the poverty of their system. Sidetracking from this central strategy only hurts all involved. They need to receive heart. It's what they lack. What otherwise comes from them is historical poison or rhetoric. They are ready to fight us in any other way, and though they may not win no one wins that kind of meet. However they have no idea how to fight true heart and love, they are powerless, completely on the receiving end, and childlike unable to return it. What we do receive in return is the beauty of their having received the love.
I alone, with the brother that did translating for me, Hideo Kitahara, was given a Kim Il Sung's badge, a sign of our being accepted; not easy, especially since I'm not communist. I won their heart. It is a victory we must all win from them. There are many little tin badges connected to the revolution one may buy but the Kim Il Sung badge is not for sale. It is Satan's approval of one, one of the gates we must pass to enter Heaven. You must subdue them with heart. By the time the tour ended the three guides/security men were saddened and depressed because of the tour members' unity of heart and commitment to North and South Korean unity, and general embrace of the North Koreans.
Another angle one can take to look at North Korea is as that of a child. I saw communism as a problem of attitude. It's the spirit of one not having received love. This is the core of what lies behind the North Korean heart that I felt. Whatever attitude comes out of North Korea is rooted in historic, providentially perfection level immature attitude. Therefore love them! I "know" I'll be going back. I won the formation level victory, I must win two more.
This was a tour organized by the UC Japanese agency Seichi Travel. Until now ONLY a Japanese Unification Church member or his/her foreign Japan-resident spouse can sign up for the tour. A point that was clarified at Pyongyang airport upon my arrival when I was asked if I did indeed live in Japan and if my wife was Japanese. I met both conditions and thus was allowed in.
At the UC run Potonggang Hotel we were unexpectedly met with Father's envoy, the North Korean national Messiah, Mr Sang Kwon Park, also International Oceanic Enterprises chairman. His message to the tour members was that visiting True Father's birthplace and home gave us a condition to start calling him Father, rather than True Father. We thus come an internal step closer to his heart, we more closely feel to be his child, having taken interest in learning more about True Parents, our new roots. Just a few hundred meters away we visited Father's parents' tomb, a humble mound with a vertical marble with their birth and passing dates inscribed. In both Father's home and his parents' tomb we offered prayers. At Father's home we gave some gifts of food ranging from dried fruits to soba. We were given little flowers for the tomb.
The purpose of the tour was to feel Father a little closer. I saw the Fatherland and our Father's home. What it was like before I don't know. What is left is a 3-small-room structure plus a kitchen. There is no electricity. The windows were not tight fitting. Nothing remained inside, no furniture, there is no bathroom, no heating. This is where Father lived with his family and was prepared by God. At a nearby area we saw the mountain where Father received his Easter revelation from Jesus. We met people but I don't know if they were relatives of Father's. There are no paved roads leading to his home, just dirt roads. Now his home is a museum. There is a small hamlet 100 feet away with some homes. Possibly some of Father's relatives live there. (See picture) There are no luxuries in these houses, typical among all North Korean homes. In all directions there are fields, some already harvested. As we were praying, around 7:30 in the morning, loud North Korean revolutionary music was purposefully playing at a distance, loud enough for the whole valley to hear, even louder than the voice of the people speaking in front of us.
In Father's High School young kids performed some traditional dances, and did some singing of both also traditional and some revolutionary songs. They introduced themselves as proud followers of the famous alumnus of that school Sun Myung Moon (I don't know if they use the term Reverend). In North Korea schools have after-school activities preparing them for public performances. I was there the week before North Korea formally gave Kim Jung Il his two new titles, thus an occasion for national celebration. They are all ready to perform. They do it well, with lots of energy. It was a small school band of about a dozen musicians plus dancers and singers, the band included a drummer, six violinists, a base guitarist, an accordionist, and a few wind instruments. They performed convincingly. In the end we sang Arirong and Tongil, the latter of which brought an onslaught of tears to many of the tour members. We gave the young performers gifts brought along from home especially for this occasion.
Going to see North Korea and Father's home brought to heart some contrast between what we in the US and the West are living and what the North Koreans are. The reasons for our having riches and their not are basically God's Will. Essential attitude is what will permit us to continue to inherit blessings. We in the Unification Church, builders of the Kingdom of Heaven must surpass the North Korean heart of indemnity to win their heart. It's easy to be pompous, because of our efforts, and show off. However, before these people we must be very careful if we are to resolve the historic problems implicit in the North Korean version of communism in particular. We go to build bridges at whatever price.
Solving the Korean peninsula problem is at the core of God's heart. We first need to solve all other foundations before we give to North Korea, the future Fatherland of the world. Then when we give to North Korea we make a pure offering to God: the world. The world loving North Korea is like the world loving God, the center, through True Parents who made it all happen. All will participate in its rebuilding (Kingdom of Heaven) and thus get merit.
A word of warning, one cannot make comparisons between the two Koreas. Each took a different path not only ideologically but also economically. Juche, Kim Il Sung's ideology of self sufficiency, has not been concerned with economic development. The North is foremost and for the most part an agricultural society dedicated to the person worship of Kim Il Sung, and now to a lesser degree his son, Kim Jung Il. The industries in existence, and visible other than farming, are those related to the construction of buildings. There are also a handful of well finished highways. You can sit by one and not see a truck or vehicle for long periods at a time. Among the greatest frequenters of these roads are tour buses. Some private cars, mostly used and imported from Japan or other areas where strong support and sympathy for North Korea exists, run the roads but are used by men in uniform. (One can spot them since Japan is one out of a handful of nations which has both a strong pro North Korea base as well as vehicle steering wheels on the right. Also, few other people have the money to send used cars to North Korea. Japan has a large pro North Korean minority.) Structures in North Korea are not maintained. Once they have been completed they last out their life as the finish wears out, paint chips away, etc. I saw many buildings with broken windows, reminiscent of the Bronx in New York. The revolutionary single mindedness doesn't seem to deem it important. I didn't see the famine areas. One must be in a relief group to get permission for that.
North Korean society may not be blessed today but it's purified and ready to serve God and True Parents very vertically when the time comes. At Father's high school I made a speech of love and non-hatred directed to the North Korean guides in particular, but also to the tour as a whole. I suggested to all to forget all past history of war and division. I emphasized that Americans, Japanese and South Koreans, all represented on the tour, don't hate North Koreans. Korean unification is why we were there, I said.
Many slept during bus rides. It was sad to notice that some went out of duty, a need to fulfill a quota, etc. There is definitely a need to prepare one's heart to have a good attitude on the tour and absorb all that is implicated in the North Korean providence as God is trying to teach. As I said earlier, unfortunately for non-Japanese only Japanese Unification Church members and/or their resident foreign spouse are allowed to attend this tour. I'm curious and can ask thousands of questions but I don't know enough Japanese to understand and ask. It's difficult to depend on another tourist as a translator when he is also trying to get all he can out of it. Shamefully, I don't yet know Korean.
If any reader has questions or comments write to me at: email@example.com and I'll answer what I can.
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