Palau: A Presidential Welcome
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, UPF Secretary General
August 19, 2006
Mother Moon and Hyun Jin arrived in Palau at 12:30 on August 18, 2006, having flown nearly five hours from Solomon Islands. They were welcomed by the First Lady, Debbie Remengesau, Rev. Greg Stone, Timothy and Margaret Sisserson, Geoff Fyers, national representatives, Japanese volunteers, and other leaders.
Palau is one of the Pacific Ocean’s most beautiful sets of islands. The population is about 20,000.
Palau is an interesting case study in understanding the era of colonialism. Palau was initially colonized in 1885 by Spain, by decree of Pope Leo XIII, for control of the Caroline Islands. In 1899 Spain “sold” the Carolines to Germany. After Germany’s defeat in World War I, the islands were passed to Japan, according to the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. In 1922, Koror, Palau became the administrative center for all Japanese interests in the South Pacific. Following World War II and the defeat of Japan, the islands became UN Trust Territories under US administration. Palau became an independent nation in 1994.
The main event was held at the Palau Cultural Center, near the Palacia Hotel, where Mother Moon was staying. The Cultural Center was also where Father Moon spoke in Palau last year on the 120-nation tour. It is a beautiful hall located in the center of Koror. Both President Tommy Remengesau and the High Chief were in attendance, along with about 300 participants.
Outside the cultural center, along the roadway there was a group demonstrating against our event. These were “Christians,” mostly non-Palauan, holding signs stating the, “Jesus is the Only Way” or “Jesus is the King of Kings.” This was an embarrassment to the Palauan people and to any enlightened Christian. A similar group had assembled last year during the tour. This time the high traditional chief specifically asked this group not to demonstrate, stating that this was against Palauan principles of hospitality; moreover, when those same Christian groups came to Palau there were no demonstrations against them.
Following the entertainment was an invocation by Father Rusk Saburo of the Roman Catholic Church [Palau’s largest Christian group], the Holy Wine Ceremony and the Chairman’s Address. Hyun Jin delivered the Founder’s Address. He opened by sharing his appreciation for the Palauan people and the beauty of the islands; he then explained that the speech he was about to present contained the essence of his Father’s teaching. He delivered the message with passion, vitality and dignity. Mother Moon followed with her customary grace, beauty and clarity.
Just prior to her speech, President Remengesau offered his remarks. He underscored the point that Mother Moon, Hyun Jin and the UPF were committed to interreligious harmony, to building strong extended families, and to protecting and preserving the environment, and that these were also the core values of the Palauan people. He also stressed the importance of living for the sake of others as a core principle taught by Rev. Moon that is the essential value and trait of traditional Palauan society. Following his remarks he presented Mother Moon and Hyun Jin with a gift from Palau. The prayer for blessing of marriage concluded the program.
A dinner was held back at the hotel for about 30 Ambassadors for Peace. Several shared their reflections, praising the message and the sacrifice of Mother Moon and Hyun Jin.
The following morning Mother Moon reflected on her travels from nation to nation, coming to Palau on the next to last stop of the tour. The audience was small and the nation of 20,000 is a small nation. “The world has come all the way to its final days,” she said. “It has tried everything to solve problems and bring peace, and to no avail. These two speeches offer the root content in relation to which all problems can be resolved. This is the message that will save this nation and its people. If there are people who are still ignorant or opposed to this message, you should go forward proudly and with dignity, and persuade them and subjugate them with true love power. There is nothing to fear. We are in the Completed Testament Age. Those who oppose us are living in an ignorant state and need to be educated. Arm yourself with this truth and go out and change people’s lives. Go out with the heart of parents, and restore this nation and protect this planet. If you really understand True Parents’ words, there should be no one who loves this nation more than you.”
Afterwards, Japanese volunteers sang, and the traditional chief led a traditional chant meaning, “We people travel the earth, but when we find the place where are hearts are touched and moved, that is where we should settle.” Young people with Religious Youth Service performed a traditional dance, and Hyun Jin concluded by singing, “There must be lights burning brighter, somewhere….”