Entry into Azerbaijan
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, UPF Secretary General
June 21, 2006
Mother Moon and her party traveled by airplane from Tajikistan to Azerbaijan, on June 21. Suddenly air traffic control reported that landing permission had been revoked. However, after urgent phone calls from the plane to Ambassadors for Peace on the ground, the tide was turned and the plane landed. Although the entry process was lengthy and uncomfortable, Mother Moon took it graciously. In the afternoon of the arrival, Mother Moon, her son, daughter and daughter-in-law took a walk on the shore of the Caspian Sea.
Azerbaijan has close links to Turkey. Its capital, Baku, is on the Caspian Sea. Its name means “wind” or “breeze.” Thus, it is the “windy city.” The city is relatively prosperous, due in part to oil resources. Along with the crescent moon of the flag, the name of the Crescent Beach Hotel seemed an appropriate welcoming symbol for Mother Moon and her family.
One significant regional conflict is the dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno Karabakh region, situated in Armenia but populated largely by Azerbaijani people. Armenians are largely Orthodox Christians, and Azerbaijanis are mostly Muslim. Former Prime Minister Suret Husaynov attributed the problem to political forces related to the USSR.
The following morning, Mother Moon asked the people traveling with her to share reflections on their time spent in Eurasia. Dr. Joon Ho Seuk, regional chair of the Universal Peace Federation-Eurasia, described some of the challenges faced by religious groups and nonprofit organizations in the former Soviet Union. "Seeds are being sown through this tour and investment of heart by Mother Moon and Hyun Jin Moon," he added. "They have moved so many audiences, so many people."
In 1993, Dr. Seuk met the head of an Islamic research center in this predominantly Muslim country. Moved by the vision of Father and Mother Moon and the materials produced by the International Educational Foundation, he invited Dr. Seuk to his home. It was he who intervened the day before and opened the way for the airplane to land.
"It is so good to see the youth together with the elders here," Hyun Jin Moon commented. "But, young or old, what is most important is the spirit. Young people may make mistakes, but in the process they learn and grow. As we grow, sometimes our capacity of heart grows, and also we change as our intellect grows and develops. If you live for the sake of others in this age, you will establish a new culture and new world."
Parents and children have one root, he said, speaking of the need to bridge the gaps between leaders and members and between his family and blessed families. "Young children in a playground do not distinguish between children of different races or nationalities. Society needs to understand this."
"I have the opportunity to accompany Mother, I come to see how much suffering she goes through. Three sons are accompanying her on this tour. The speech content is always the same, and I am challenged to convey it in a meaningful way. While each of us can take a certain portion of the tour, dividing the 180 nations into three sections, she will go to all the nations herself. The parents are decades ahead of the children. As children mature, they come to understand the parents' course and their heart opens to a deepened understanding. We cannot understand just with our intellect; we truly understand only in the realm of the heart. Only in this way can things be resolved."
He compared the challenges experienced in the region to Father Moon's prison term in Danbury in the United States. "People thought when he went to Danbury in 1984 that our movement would be destroyed. But it was a watershed and turning point, especially with the interreligious activity. God works in mysterious ways. At this time in history, interreligious conflict is so serious. Think of the terrorists who wear a belt of bombs. Religious wars are the most extreme forms of conflict. Many see the problem in our world, with interreligious strife for example, and wonder who can bring the solution. So Father’s solution is always to overcome with the way of true love."
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, UPF Secretary General reported, "I have this incredible undeserved blessing to accompany Mother Moon and Hyun Jin Moon on this tour. I cannot grasp the full internal meaning. Being with them and seeing their relationship gives me so much hope and new awareness. They are a living example of the four great realms of heart that they teach. To see the substantial blossoming of that message is a great blessing. Through being with them day and night, my appreciation and respect for them keeps growing."
The main event on June 22 was held at a hotel overlooking the Caspian Sea. The hall had seats for 300 to 400 people, but 700 turned out. Ushers set up more chairs and tried to make guests without seats feel comfortable. The attendees remained until the very end, listening to Mother Moon and Hyun Jin present Father’s message and receiving the blessing prayer.
The following morning Mother Moon inquired about the audience response. "All those who attended had received negative information about us," one person reported, "and yet they came to this event. They wanted to learn about our movement. So we had the chance to share with them, and their perceptions changes through this program. In this country, the opposition provided a chance for people to come and learn for themselves."
"Yesterday you welcomed the guests with the heart of owners," Mother Moon responded. "From the viewpoint of Azeri people, this is their country. But even as a foreigner I want to invest my heart in this nation to take responsibility for it." She referred to the two speeches read during each event as a textbook for life. "If people come to experience God’s heart through this speech, then all the walls can come down. We read two speeches today, but every day Father always reads three speeches several times over. When you read these words every day and reflect on them, God will guide you."
Following Russian songs and dances and a Tongil Moo Do martial arts demonstration, Hyun Jin Moon sang.