Mali: Peace Rally
August 1, 2006
The UPF Ambassadors for Peace in Mali, with the collaboration of the Family Federation for World Peace, launched themselves in preparation for a great rally to be held in Bamako for the occasion of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon's world peace tour for 2006. The committee of fifteen in charge of organization and preparation was set up to work together with tour leaders. Although Dr. Moon and her entourage were unfortunately unable to attend the Bamako rally in person, the UPF continental director for Africa, Rev. Eiji Tokuno and his wife were called to represent her and bring the rally to a great success. Rev. Adama Doumbia, director of the West African zone, arrived from Cote d'Ivoire to lend his able support.
Arriving from Nairobi, Rev. and Mrs. Tokuno were met at the airport by the reception committee and escorted to the elegant Hotel Sofitel de l’Amitié where they were greeted by a larger number of Ambassadors for Peace and even more committee members, with barely enough time to enjoy a quick lunch in the company of about 15 Ambassadors for Peace at the hotel's restaurant before being rushed to the National Assembly of Mali where they had an appointment at 3:00 p.m.
The Rally had been scheduled during an extremely busy time for the government of Mali, for the National Assembly was in full session, called for voting on new laws, and presided over by the Third Vice Speaker of the National Assembly. In his place, Rev. Tokuno and his delegation of ten were received by the Hon. Oumar Kanoute, the fifth Vice Speaker, together with two other Deputies, the Senior Abdoulaye Frederic Traore and Mr. Issa Togo, who had the benefit of knowing of the work of the UPF, having attended an educational workshop in Cotonou, Benin in May.
The meeting with the Deputies was very fruitful. Rev. Tokuno’s speech was translated by a member of the organization committee and Mr. Moussa Diarra spoke about his visit to South Korea in February, 2006. This exchange was followed by many questions that the honourable Deputies were asking. The honourable Oumar Kanoute presided over this discussion and clearly said that this encounter made them understand the reality of the movement. This new religion or a "new sect" which they had imagined, they were now convinced that it was a movement which seeks to unite all religious in order to attain the purpose of Peace in the World. And Honourable Kanoute concluded that if this is the real purpose of the movement, then they can only welcome it with open arms and that it wouldn’t be only the President of the Republic who will become Ambassador for the Peace but that all Malians will.
This joyful encounter ended with photo taking and an interview of Rev. Tokuno by journalists.
During this time, another delegation of Ambassadors for Peace together with FFWP leaders went to welcome Rev. Adama Doumbia whose flight arrived at the airport two hours later from Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. He was also escorted to the Hotel Sofitel de l’Amitié where the rally was scheduled to be held.
The conference hall of five hundred seats of Hotel Sofitel de l’Amitié was almost full by 4 pm. On our return from the National Assembly at 5 pm, the hall was cracked full. We asked the invitees to be patient and wait for our guests who would be coming shortly.
The organizers, hostesses, security and the protocol: everyone was actively fulfilling their responsibilities with the last touches. The Emcee reminded the audience from time to time of the running of the program, and then at 5:35 the conference began with the invocations of El Hadj Ousman Chérif Haidara representing Moslems and of Pastor Fabien representing Christians. The program conceived by our leaders was followed step by step.
The audience became attentive and disciplined listeners, and we could feel our messages going through, the musical interludes inserted in the program were wonderfully executed by the national performing artists including Djeneba Seck, Zani Diabate and his group and also Tata Bambo. All sang of peace and made the audience understand and better appreciate the meaning of Rev. Moon’s movement. After every two interludes or participation, the Emcee recalled the benefits of peace, the vision and Dr. Moon’s philosophy for Universal Peace. All this created a joyful and gay atmosphere which kept the 500 participants entertained and none felt the time passing.
The “holy juice” Ceremony was a real success, with explanation given in the national language Bambara was very convincing. It was the same with the Blessing Ceremony officiated by Rev. Tokuno and his wife.
At the conclusion about fifty persons were awarded with distinctions of new Ambassadors for Peace. A medal was awarded to El Hadj Ousman Chérif Haidara and the Rally ended with a series of photo takings and announcements.
Immediately after the rally there was a banquet for forty people held in the Hotel Sofitel’s restaurant surrounding our three guests. This dinner was an occasion the very fruitful exchange between the Ambassadors for Peace in Mali, the national leaders, the Continental Director and the Sub-regional Leader.
Question of a future Embassy for Peace in Mali and projects for agricultural farms in Africa was invoked. Appointment was given the following day before the departure of our guests to visit the site of such a potential Embassy.
The following morning Saturday July 29, 2006 we made a visit to Hamdalaye in order to choose a potential site for the future house of Ambassadors for Peace. Lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant ended our guests' stay in Bamako and they were then escorted to Bamako-Senou Airport just as they were welcomed on arrival. As for Rev. Adama Doumbia, he left the following morning for Abidjan.