Netherlands: Going Ahead as Planned
Christopher Davies, UPF-Netherlands
Den Haag, Netherlands
July 14, 2006
On Friday, July 14, the Dutch Chapter of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) held an Interreligious Rally for Family Values and World Peace in the Kurhaus Hotel, The Hague.
Dr. Loebam Tobing-Klein
It was intended that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who with her husband, the Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon, co-founded the UPF, would address the rally, as a part of her current international speaking tour that started in America on April 28 and has so far taken her, to great acclaim, throughout Asia and Eurasia and on to Europe, beginning in Malta on July 1. But her entry to the Netherlands had been thrown into question by the Dutch Immigration Service (IND).
As soon as it was clear that UPF-NL’s invitation to Mrs. Moon to include the Netherlands in her itinerary was accepted, application was made to the IND for confirmation that she would be allowed entry, Mrs. Moon holding Korean nationality. At the urging of the German government, who had declared her and her husband ‘undesirable aliens,’ to not allow her entry, the IND, using the Schengen treaty to justify its actions, avoided giving a clear answer, even defying a judge’s demand for clarity.
IND’s very formal, one might say formalist (‘careful adherence to external forms without spiritual reality’) attitude, such as one could expect in the former GDR, hindered proper legal procedure and, together with the holiday schedule of the judges, caused the date of the court hearing to be just one day before the planned event.
UPF, confident of eventual vindication, the next day supported by legal experts quoted in Trouw, one of the Netherlands' most respected newspapers, then decided to postpone the visit of Mrs. Moon but to continue with the event on a smaller scale.
Incidentally, the July 13 hearing was before three judges, presumably showing the importance attached by the court to this case.
IND behavior wins new friends
Already, UPF-NL has gained many new friends and supporters, appalled at the behavior of the IND, supported by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who refused a personal plea from UPF-NL Secretary General Wim Koetsier that he intervene.
UPF-NL sees this not only as a slap in the face to Rev. and Mrs. Moon and as an attack on the human rights and religious freedom of UM-NL members, who are refused the chance to welcome their spiritual leaders to the Netherlands, but as a betrayal of a fundamental founding principle of this nation as formulated in the Union of Utrecht: the right to freedom of conscience and religion. This was also a primary motivation of Willem van Oranje (William I of Orange-Nassau, 1533-84, also widely known as William the Silent), the ‘father of the fatherland,’ who led the 'Opstand,' the independence movement that eventually freed the Netherlands from Spanish rule and established it as an independent nation in 1648.
Rev. Moon is a past master at opening a new door when one closes in his face, and he and his wife organized a European-level conference in Switzerland on the day originally slated for Mrs. Moon to visit the Netherlands.
The event goes ahead as planned
UPF-NL was determined to go ahead with the scheduled event, even though the original keynote speaker would not be present, nor other participants travelling with them, nor valuable assistance in other areas that would have come from Germany. Furthermore, UPF-NL Secretary General Wim Koetsier was also asked to attend the Swiss meeting, as were three key UPF-NL Ambassadors for Peace.
UPF-NL had been inaugurated by Rev. Moon in November 2005, and the same hall was used for the July 14th rally. The Opening Invocation was given by Pastor Dolf Langerhuizen, Parochie Den Haag.
Rev. J. Korff, a Protestant minister who works with young people, disaster relief and as a unifier, as chairman of the Religions and Life Philosophies Council in The Hague, said that men are created to live in community and, in particular, as married couples and families. In the rally invitation letter, Wim Koetsier had talked of a 'democracy of love,' and Mr. Korff dwelt on this phrase and also on another of Rev. Moon’s phrases, 'culture of heart.'
Mr. ASA Santoe, the European Coordinator of the Ahmadiyya Lahore movement--one might call them reformed Moslems--told of being at a UPF conference in Seoul where people from every imaginable national, racial, religious and cultural background had spent three or four days together. As a young man in Suriname, he had wondered why there were so many differences between people, which could be a source of joy but often caused division. He testified to how “Father and Mother Moon and this organization, the Universal Peace Federation, are bringing all people together–and fulfilling the hope and prophecies expressed in the Koran.”
Imam Hanza Zeid Kailani, originally from Palestine, has worked in Spain and in the Netherlands, in particular counselling those in prison; he is now working with 'Trialoog' to unify the Abrahamic religions. Some years ago, he was moved to hear of Rev. Moon being imprisoned in Danbury in the United States, and commented “so he is certainly not an American capitalist!”
He observed how we could see pairs everywhere in nature; in particular, he mentioned doves. It pained him to see the difficulties humans had in their relationships, including the lack of a vertical sense. He concluded, “I personally respect Rev. Moon so deep in my heart for working for the family–and also for working for peace. He lives his words, he is doing his best for peace. He encourages dialogue--and cooperation--between Jews and Moslems and all differing religions and ways of life. God bless you all. And God bless Rev. and Mrs. Moon."
Mother Nature, a gospel choir, then exhorted all to “Walk in Jerusalem.” Their leader, Marlene Waal, is a UPF Ambassador for Peace and had trained her choir to provide a strong base on which the solo singer could float. Feeling the spirit strongly, she welcomed Mrs. Moon in the Netherlands!
Mother Nature Choir sings
The choir was followed by a ceremonial 'Toast to the Family' in which everyone was invited to participate, in addition to the three couples on stage. It is a fundamental tenet of the Peace Federation that, while politics and all other areas of human activity may play a vital part in creating peace, the family and, at its core, an espoused couple is where the problem and the solution start.
Hans Campman, Assistant Secretary-General, UPF-NL, explained the context of the event and how Rev. and Mrs. Moon had quickly organized the alternate meeting in Switzerland. Rev. Moon was a man from God, with a message from God, and that had sometimes caused unease; but he had always worked for reconciliation, from winning the respect of the concentration camp commander and fellow prisoners in North Korea to continually reaching out to people at all levels of society in South Korea and the United States, even when he was imprisoned by the American government. Now, it seemed, it was Europe’s turn to attack him.
In Western Europe, there was a tendency to secularism and materialism, and ten years ago Rev. Moon had been banned from entering Germany. He was accused of being a 'threat to public order,’ but this had never materialized; it was just a pretext, an excuse. Despite pleas from the United States, Germany had put him on the Schengen 'black list' and pressured other countries to also ban him, really to justify their own actions. Happily, last year, Iceland and Denmark allowed him to enter, as did the Netherlands, but only after a court case. This time, the IND had hindered our appeals; maybe the government had concluded that economic and other considerations in regard to their relationship with Germany were more important than human rights and religious freedom. The Netherlands was 'blindly' trusting Germany and had also become afraid of the 'stranger.'
But, said Mr. Campman, this was not a protest meeting and Rev. and Mrs. Moon were not people of protest. The previous speakers had already spoken very highly of him and his continual efforts for reconciliation. He was a pioneer of interreligious cooperation. Two major aspects of his work now were supporting the UN and encouraging its renewal through the proposal to create a two-chamber system and the Ambassador for Peace initiative, helping people who wanted to live for others to work together for world peace.
Regarding this gathering, Campman concluded, “this is an interactive meeting and it is my desire, and the desire of our Secretary General, Wim Koetsier, and the desire of Rev. and Mrs. Moon, that you can listen to their speeches.”
Elka van der Stok
Rev. Moon’s speech, “Declaration Rally for the Era of the Kingdom of Peace in Heaven and on Earth,” was read by Peter Verbiest, regional leader of Utrecht, who has represented Rev. Moon in a number of countries and is a poet as well as a teacher of Rev. Moon’s thought. He read with remarkable authority, clarity, conviction and comprehension and drew applause on more than one occasion. At one point there was a small 'explosion' in the sound system, but Verbiest remained calm and collected and continued unperturbed.
After the showing of the excellent new UPF video, Mrs. Moon’s speech, “God’s Model Ideal Family and Nation, and the Peace Kingdom,” was read by Mrs. Elke van der Stok. She had lived in Germany and America before joining what was then called the Unified Family and has also represented Rev. Moon in Indonesia, the birthplace of her husband Johan. One felt a true motherly or grandmotherly heart as she spoke, and she also drew applause in the middle of the text as well as at the end.
A Blessing ceremony, officiated by Jan and Inge van Winden, provided an opportunity for couples to recommit themselves and for the unmarried to affirm their faith in the family and possibly their aspiration to be married.
Seven new Ambassadors for Peace were presented with their Certificates of Appointment by Mr. Santoe, who had spoken earlier.
Dr. Irma Loemban Tobing-Klein, an Ambassador for Peace who has strong connections with UPF in the United Sates through her work with the UN representing Suriname, said how proud she was to be present with everyone and asked to speak. She had also been invited to the meeting in Geneva, but her son was to be married on Monday and she had felt she should stay in the Netherlands in preparation for this; but she was very disappointed to not be seeing Rev. and Mrs. Moon. She said that Ambassadors for Peace had a special job to do in promoting moral values and world peace.
Inspired by the words of the songs of the choir Mother Nature, she said “It is indeed a happy day, and we must walk and sing and pray for peace. We must respect diversity, racial, religious and cultural: respect is the basis for world peace.”
She referred back to all the speeches that had come before and asserted that the 'red line' running through the lives of Rev. and Mrs. Moon was the principle of living for others.
Regarding her work with the UN, she had confidence that the UN Millennium Development Goals could be achieved and, in particular, that the UPF could help the UN fulfill its mandate. This led her to call for applause for the UPF, for all its activities, and for all those involved. She hoped to do more and spoke about the special role women have to play. She asserted “women are making a difference in the world.” She strongly encouraged everyone to stand up and applaud Rev. and Mrs. Moon: “What is important is a culture of heart and living in peace, and these two people embody this.”
The choir then rocked the room with “Amazing Grace” and “Down by the Riverside.” The afternoon’s activity concluded with the pipes and drums of Juliana 46.