Bosnia-Herzegovina: Former President Praises UPF's Work
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, UPF Secretary General
July 7, 2006
Mother Moon and Kook Jin arrived in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on the morning of July 6, welcomed by Ambassador for Peace Sead Gajevic and other Universal Peace Federation leaders.
Bosnia was for a time part of the Ottoman Empire that dominated the Balkans; later it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and later still part of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Empire. Bosnian people are from diverse backgrounds: 17 percent are Bosnian Croats of Catholic background, 31 percent are Bosnian Slavs of Orthodox background, and 44 percent are Bosnian Slavs who are Muslim. The capital, Sarajevo, has been called the Jerusalem of Europe due to its religious diversity. Sarajevo is well known as the place where the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist, an event that triggered World War I.
After World War I, a kingdom was formed that became known as Yugoslavia. However, assimilation of many ethnic and religious groups--Croats, Serbs, Bosnians and Slovenes Muslims, Orthodox, Catholics--was not easy.
Following World War II, Josip Tito ruled, and Yugoslavia became a Soviet satellite state. Yugoslavia had six constituent states: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Slovenia. With the unraveling of the USSR, there was also an unraveling of Yugoslavia. Slovenia gained independence first. Serbian nationalists led by Slobodan Milosevic were ruthless in their treatment of Bosnians, practicing ethnic cleansing.
The history of the Unification movement in Bosnia began in 1996 with the assignment of four families: Rev. Um Il-sup, the Ishikawas, the Yasutakes and the Wenzels. A Bosnia member, Vesna Princip, together with Mr. Paul Yasutake and the Japanese volunteers with the Women's Federation for World Peace established a center in 1997. That year every house was visited. In 1998 Mr. Soung Ryong Kim was appointed the national leader.
The main event, with 400 in attendance, went very well, with very good organization from Rev. Kim and Mr. Christian Hausmann. Kook Jin Nim and True Mother were very well received.
Former President Ejup Ganic was the featured Ambassador for Peace speaker, and he spoke about the importance of the Universal Peace Federation for Bosnia and the world. He praised UPF’s global activities to fight poverty and AIDS as well as its work in promoting peace through sports, the arts, interreligious harmony, etc.
Following the main event there was a reception, and the guests expressed much appreciation for the event. Each night, immediately following the event, Mother Moon and Kook Jin call Father Moon to report about the day and talk together.
The following morning, Mother Moon talked about God's desire to dwell with His family. "If Adam and Eve had perfected themselves, centered on God, then they would have been connected directly to God’s love life and lineage," she said. "There would have been no nationalities, races or religions. Do you think the five major religions around the world exist according to a full understanding of God’s will and purpose of creation? Even in this country and throughout the Balkan region, there is so much suffering and tragedy due to religious discord. Although God is one, religious people could not love one another, and individualistic, selfish attitudes brought so much suffering and conflict. So far the realm of religions have been a realm of brothers. Until the True Parents appear, the brothers quarrel and fight with one another."
Mother Moon described one American who volunteered to go to the USSR representing Father and Mother Moon. Through prayer he was guided to a school library and met a woman student, who had had a dream the previous night that she would meet an American missionary the following day. "Do you think this was accidental?" she asked. "You too can have that kind of experience. We are to live for the sake of our family, tribe, nation and world."
She thanked those who came from Germany, France, Austria and England to help prepare for the event. An Englishman sang a solo, and the Special Task Force sang "You Are My Sunshine" and "We Are the World."