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H.J. Moon: A New Vision of Peace in Kenya and Africa

Excerpts of Keynote Address at the Global Peace Festival
Nairobi, Kenya, August 31, 2008
Mr. Prime Minister, honored guests, friends, family, ladies and gentleman. Welcome to the Global Peace Festival in beautiful Nairobi, Kenya! Jambo! Karibu! [Greetings! Welcome!] Thank you for coming and participating in this historic peace movement. It is a great honor and pleasure to be with you today.
I believe everyone who has the opportunity to come to the African continent falls in love with her primeval beauty: from the majestic falls of Lake Victoria to the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro, from the great plains of the Serengetti to the jungles of the Congo, from the parched desert of the Kalahari to the oasis of the Okavango Delta. The diversity of Kenya’s landscape and the extraordinary creatures that inhabit it, and the richness of her natural resources have made this region of Africa a veritable Garden of Eden which could resuscitate this entire continent and bring forth a blossoming of an African Renaissance.
Today, we are celebrating a vision of peace and prosperity for Africa at the Global Peace Festivals here in Kenya and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These two nations at the center of Africa represent the French and English-speaking nations of this continent. Let us take a moment to welcome our French-speaking brothers and sisters to the Global Peace Festivals in Africa!

The origin of the human family and a new vision for peace

Ladies and gentlemen, scientists and anthropologists tell us that Africa is the cradle of human life. Research now suggests that the human genome, carrying the genetic material of all 6.5 billion people inhabiting this earth, can be traced back to a single mother and that she lived right here in Africa! Therefore, it is fitting that we have come back to humanity’s birthplace to break away from our collective history of war and conflict, and to set up a new paradigm for peace and prosperity for all mankind.

What is most important now is not how and where the human family began millions of years ago, but rather how, where, and when the human family will at last come together to live in peace. If we can see each other as one family, beyond our differences, then we would soon end the scourges of poverty, tribalism, racism, corruption, pollution, and war as well as all the other ills of our modern world.

However, we need to be bold and break new ground in our search for peace and prosperity if we are to go beyond the failures of our past. We only need to look back to the last century to recognize the futility of tackling the world’s problems through the same old military, economic, political, diplomatic and scientific solutions.

Dealing with only the symptoms of global crisis and conflict and ignoring the root cause will not work. Conflict begins within the hearts and consciences of men and women. That is why even the grand vision behind the League of Nations and, later, the United Nations was yet unable to prevent the 20th century from being the bloodiest era in human history.

The world is in dire need for a new vision of peace for the 21st century. Unlike the secular visions of the past, a vision of peace for this new millennium should be a spiritual vision, rooted in time-enduring values and principles which come from God. I believe that vision is “One Family under God!” and I have come here to share that vision with all of you today.

God’s dream and the fulfillment of the Christian mission

The vision of one family under God goes all the way back to the very beginning of human history. Just as we have big aspirations and hopes for our children, so too did God have great expectations for humanity. God wanted His children to create a true family which could be the school of true love, true life, and true lineage. The human family would have been God’s family where He would dwell as the True Parent of all mankind. Yet, this dream was not realized. And therefore, God has worked and waited patiently throughout human history, often in agony and lamentation, for someone to realize His unfilled dream.

Two thousand years ago, a young carpenter’s son, Jesus Christ, went beyond the traditions of his own people, referring to God as his Father and embracing all humanity as his brothers and sisters. Jesus taught a selfless, compassionate love, the need for individual spiritual responsibility, the promise of universal salvation, and the need to create the family of God.

Tragically Jesus’ life was cut short and the new wine he was to bring was unfortunately poured into less-than-new wine skins. Yet, his legacy and message lived on through the foundation of world Christianity. The dream to create “One Family under God” did not end with Jesus. It remained latent within the Christian message, waiting for someone to rekindle Jesus’ universal and global mission.

The person who has taken on the global mantle to create “One Family under God” is none other than my father, the Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon. He has devoted his entire life to the fulfillment of that mission. To my father, the dream of building “One Family under God” is not just the dream of one man, one woman, or one family but the dream of all humanity. Most of all, it is the dream of God.

A true family is the model for peace

Once again, the message whose time has come for this age is “One Family under God.” Why a family? First, the family is universal. Regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion, we are all members of families.

Secondly, the family represents the most intimate of relationships. When we feel close to someone, we use familial terms, saying “that person is like my father, like my mother, like my brother, and like my sister.” In the family we learn to love humanity in all its richness and diversity.

Before we call ourselves Christian, Muslim, or Jew, before we see ourselves as black, white, or Asian, before we identify ourselves as Korean, Kenyan, or American, we are first and foremost the eternal sons and daughters of God and members of His eternal family. This is the starting point to realize the dream of creating “One Family under God,” one family at a time.

Ladies and gentlemen, when my mother, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon last came to Africa, she shared the vision of creating “One Family under God” one family at a time through the process of the World Peace Blessing. The Blessing is a movement to renew the family as the central building block of God’s kingdom of Heaven on Earth, as well as being an instrument for bringing everlasting global peace and reconciliation. My father explained this in one of his recent peace messages:

Imagine two enemy families who have cursed each other throughout their lives, people who would never dream of living together. What would happen if these families joined together through an exchange [cross-cultural] Holy Marriage Blessing? A son from one family and a daughter from the other family become husband and wife, love each other and build a happy home.

Would the parents in each family curse their own children? When their son loves this beautiful daughter of a hated enemy, and she as their daughter-in-law gives birth to Heaven’s grandchildren as pure and clear as crystal, the grandparents would smile with pleasure. In time the two lineages that were once soaked with enmity will be transformed.

What method other than exchange [cross-cultural] marriage will empower Whites and Blacks, Jews and Muslims, Orientals and Westerners, and people of all races to live as one human family? The ideal family is the model for living together in peace.

Restoring the family, then, through strengthening marriages between a husband and wife as well as raising good children will be the best solution to deal with the plethora of social and civil problems plaguing Africa and the world. It will buttress society from the moral decline of its youth, increase in crime, drug abuse, and corruption as well as the spread of diseases such as AIDs. In addition, it could be the solution to break down the age-old resentments that have fueled religious, tribal and civil conflict on this continent.

A new future for Africa

The African continent has been blessed with some of the world’s richest reserves of natural resources. Unfortunately, many African nations are in a state of dire poverty, disease, corruption, and civil war. Although there are many historical and social reasons why this is so, it is my firm conviction that in order to change this situation, what Africa needs more than anything else is a new paradigm of moral and spiritual leadership rooted in the vision of “One Family under God.”

When my parents visited several African nations a couple of years ago, they noticed many parallels between the situation in Africa today and the situation in Korea in the 1950s and 1960s. Like Africa, Korea was then a nation devastated both by a brutal colonial occupation, and then by a civil war where the superpowers of the Cold War era fought a “hot” war of ideological domination. In the process, our nation was divided along the 38th parallel, and more than 70 percent of the national assets were destroyed. When the conflict ceased in 1953, more than a million people were dead and families were torn apart along the arbitrary border between the two Koreas.

Yet within just 30 short years, although the North had stagnated, South Korea has been reborn and experienced unprecedented growth to the point where it was able to successfully host the Olympic Games in 1988. Twenty years after that, Korea is one of the leading economic powers of the world. It is the most “wired” nation in the world, leading the internet revolution in addition to dominating the steel and ship building industries as well as fast becoming an automotive and telecommunications giant. Although South Korea is a small country with a shortage of natural resources, it was able to harness its most valuable assets—its industrious and resourceful citizens—for a common collective good.

From the 1960s, a spirit of national unity developed around the “New Village Movement.” First proposed by my father, it was an experiment on a national scale of “living for the sake of others,” a philosophy of life my parents have been promoting through their teachings. In every town, village and hamlet, people put the public good above their own personal ambition and benefit. In short, this movement’s philosophy morphed into the cultural glue of national solidarity which allowed everyone to prosper together as Koreans.

The same philosophy that helped Korea will certainly help other nations to prosper as well, especially here in Africa. A culture of “living for the sake of others” could diffuse the vitriol of tribalism and civil conflict as well as root out corruption as communities and nations within the continent looks to work together to create an African miracle. I believe Kenya and the DRC would be an excellent place to start. Although the recent violence that ravaged Kenya at the beginning of this year threatened the survival of this nation, by the grace of God, the flames of hatred and resentment have been extinguished.

I would like to take a moment to applaud the efforts of both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga for having the courage to pull back from the precipice of all-out civil war and choosing instead a path to build the future of this country together as fellow Kenyans and Africans.

The importance of service

Ladies and Gentlemen, building a culture of service has been one of the primary goals of the Global Peace Festival. Last month in Paraguay, more than 10,000 high school and college students spent several weeks cleaning almost every park in the capital city of Asunción. Senators, congressmen, priests, and community leaders were astonished, saying this level of public service had never been part of their culture, especially among the young.

The Global Peace Festival in Washington DC, USA, conducted similar service projects but went one step further by celebrating a vision to create a worldwide culture of service, through the creation of a Global Peace Corps.

And I am pleased to tell you that here in Nairobi, the Global Peace Festival has also been spearheading a remarkable service effort. Thousands of Kenyans, mostly students, came to clean the banks of the Nairobi River as well as engage in other service programs. To all who participated in these acts of service and kindness, I want to say a heartfelt “thank you!”

There is something deeply spiritual in serving others. It is not something we should do only for a day, a month, or even a year. It should become our way of life. When living for the sake of others becomes a habit, we come to see the true value God places on all human beings. Imagine if young people from enemy nations work side by side in service. Any misunderstandings and hatred that existed would fade away as they sweat, cry and laugh together with a common purpose and cause.

Creating a culture of service is necessary for peace to exist, and the Global Peace Festival has been re-igniting the spirit of volunteerism in many countries. I’d like to see Kenya’s faith-based and community partners joining with those of other countries, such as the United States, to establish a Global Peace Corps.

Working for religious reconciliation

Another goal of the Global Peace Festival is to celebrate the common universal values shared by all faiths. This is another vital task if there is to be greater peace and prosperity throughout Africa. For this to succeed, religious and spiritual leaders must lead the peace process. Instead of advocating their own narrow doctrinal perspective, they must lead all people of faith to recognize the shared values and principles that come from our common heritage in one God.

In the Middle East, the Universal Peace Federation’s interfaith gatherings of Christians, Muslims, and Jews are helping them rediscover their common heritage in Abraham. They are realizing that they have more in common than differences and that they are truly brothers and sisters of faith, longing equally for peace and reconciliation. We have discovered that relations between faith traditions are not about mere toleration of one another's prayers and rituals. A true interfaith experience is a celebration of the core principles that bind all God-affirming people together as one family.

When we remember our common origin and our common heritage, our eyes open to the obvious truth that all people, regardless of creed, race or culture, are indeed “One Family under God.”

Working with the United Nations and the African Union, I am proposing that Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo second the motion that my father made in the UN to establish an Inter-religious Council of faith leaders similar to the UN Security Council. Many great minds agree that the biggest threat to global peace and future development is religious narrow-mindedness. This new UN council could be the forum for all faiths to find common ground and lead the peace process.

In addition, I believe the UN needs to emulate Kenya and the United States by recognizing the centrality of God in the discussion on human rights. As a result, I propose the UN Charter be modified to include the idea that humanity is “endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights” similar to the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

This is absolutely necessary in securing human rights as an absolute “inalienable right” above any “human institution or law.” Without a spiritual precedence rooted in our common heritage, fundamental human rights will be abused. We only need to open our eyes to what is currently transpiring around the world and especially on this continent of Africa.

Call to action

As the Global Peace Festival advances from nation to nation and continent to continent, we see that a global movement is on the rise, guided by the universal, spiritual vision of “One Family under God.” We see first hand that all humanity is crying out for peace, and we grow more and more confident that a world of peace can be achieved as this vision takes root in the hearts of conscientious men and women the world over. Let us join the cadre of Ambassadors for Peace and all people of faith who have taken the lead in this global peace initiative as owners of the vision to build “One Family under God.”

I firmly believe that we are at a providential moment in time and God has great plans for us if we are only willing to dream the greatest dream of all. That dream is the dream to create “One Family under God.” Can you own the dream of “One Family under God?”

Ladies and gentlemen, the universal, spiritual vision of “One Family under God” should be the clarion call of our age. The power of one human family united, can quell the turmoil of conflict throughout the world – from the conflict in the Middle East, to the final remnant of the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula, to the poverty, disease and civil strife in Africa.

As we stand today, under the steadfast gaze of our ancestors, let us make a solemn pledge to lead the world to peace through the vision of “One Family under God.” Then, as surely as light overcomes the darkness, an era of peace and prosperity will emerge from the depths of distrust and hatred at home and in the far corners of our world. Let us erase our tumultuous past and author a new future for this new millennium. Let us dare to dream the greatest dream of all! Let us own the dream of “One Family under God!”

God bless you and your families and especially the nations of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo! Thank you very much!