Albanians as Peacemakers

Distinguished former Presidents, Distinguished Guests, Ambassadors for Peace, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends!

Through this European Leadership Conference, God and Humanity are calling on Albanians to consider how they can take greater responsibility to realize lasting peace in the Balkans.

They will surely need to draw upon all that is righteous in their history and culture, and to add the capacity to go beyond concern for their own families and nation to a wider regional and global concern and a willingness to sacrifice for surrounding nations and make peace with their enemies.

When visiting Albania several years ago I was moved when hearing Albanian Ambassadors for Peace speak of the very painful period in recent history when refugees from Kosovo poured over your mountainous borders. I also learnt about ‘Besa’, the Albanian traditional morality which requires you to maintain your honour by offering sanctuary to the stranger at your door. This good heart and righteous tradition called Albanian families to share their homes and food with their traumatized brothers and sisters from Kosovo.

In relationship to our theme of peace building by reaching beyond nation and culture, I was even more deeply impressed to hear about righteous Albanians who, during World War II, saved over 2000 Jews from Nazi persecution.

In accordance with ‘Besa’, rather than just hiding these Jews in their attics or in the woods, they protected them by giving them their own food and clothes and even Albanian names. They treated the stranger as part of their own family. This involved not only the 200 Jews resident in Albania but also 1800 refugees from surrounding nations who were seeking sanctuary from persecution and death.

Thinking of these important themes I would like to take this opportunity to convey to you a special message from the Universal Peace Federation’s  Founder, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon.  His message is rooted in a profound insight into human beings, which springs from his deep understanding of God and experience as a peacemaker - overcoming personal and national tragedy through a willingness to generously offer this suffering for the sake of God and world peace.

Father Moon expresses that there is a dream common to all people regardless of gender, age, time or place? Throughout the ages, people everywhere have longed and hoped for the realization of the ideal of world peace. However, never in history has that lasting peace, that would bring joy to God and humanity, been achieved. This fact remains the basis of our historical sorrow and anguish. What went wrong?

Please reflect on your own experience for a moment. In our daily life, are not good and evil at war within each of us? Human beings repeatedly fail to live up to their own good intentions as husbands, wives, parents, leaders and governments.

Similarly peace movements throughout history have always encountered limitations and met with failure. This is the reason why even the United Nations, launched with the splendid dream of realizing world peace, has to confront its inherent limitations and confess that it has not been able to realise the hopes of humanity.

Are we then doomed to be the victims of our own inability to live according to our highest ideals? Where can we find hope and the confidence that peace is possible?

When we look at the natural world we see a masterpiece of beauty and harmony. Hidden within even a nameless wildflower blooming in a field—we can discover the Creator God’s will, to realize peace and contribute to the interdependence and mutual prosperity of the whole of creation. Each and every one of the millions of different kinds of flowers maintains its dignity as an individual embodiment of truth and at the same time creates harmony and abides by the laws of interdependence and mutual prosperity.

How much greater than a humble wildflower should be the value and behavior of human beings. Just like the flowers and bees, human beings were created by God to live for one another and share their unique qualities with each other as a gift of true love.

But as a result of the fall, human beings lost the standard by which our minds and bodies could be brought into harmony, and humanity has lived in internal strife and self-contradiction.  We behave contrary to our own best intentions and moral codes and end up acting in ways that are corrupt and even criminal.

These contradictions within the individual have expanded and now manifest themselves in the family, society, nation, and the world. In fact, it is this unresolved struggle between mind and body that led to humanity’s earliest conflict, the elder brother Cain's murder of his younger brother Abel and all subsequent conflicts and war down human history.

If Albanians are to assist the consolidation of peace in the Balkans and undertake a mission to end these struggles between warring camps and to restore the original state of harmony and love, then first they will need leaders who have resolved the conflict between their minds and bodies. Peace among peoples and nations can never come when those entrusted with the task have not resolved their own inability to consistently practice their best intentions and their fatal tendency to fall into corruption and exploitation of others.

The Universal Peace Federation is gathering leaders from diverse backgrounds to consider universal principles.  These universal principles enable us to value the best in each other’s religions and cultures and at the same time to understand how to follow the path that all the great moral and religious traditions have been teaching. That is the path to realize our own misdeeds, reverse our bad conduct and discipline ourselves, so that we can overcome selfishness and become people of true love.

If peace is to come we cannot escape the need for Peacemakers who can resist corruption and maintain goodness even in the face of other’s misconduct.

Albanians will need to be the first to give, to serve and to care for others and to seek the greater good. Such true love gives, forgets that it has given, and continues to give joyfully and without ceasing. We find it in the joyful and loving heart of a mother who cradles her baby at her breast; or the devoted son who finds his greatest satisfaction in dedicating himself to helping his parents; or the willingness to risk our own life and share the little we have to save others different from ourselves, as shown by those Albanians who took Jews into their homes to save them from persecution and death.

Ambassadors for Peace who can practice such true love have the power to permanently dissolve the barriers that people full of contradiction and selfish misconduct have created—including the national, ethnic and religious barriers that characterize the Balkans.

I therefore urge you to become such leaders and offer you the Federation’s support by inviting you to attend the seminars on Father Moon’s true love philosophy, the Original Divine Principle, organized in Albania, the Balkan Region and on the European level.

Please take the time to attend - be it for one day, a weekend or a full week of study and practice. I promise that you will receive a lot of inspiration and experience an environment of Living for the Sake of Others and One Family under God, which are the mottos of Father and Mother Moon and the Federation.

Without doubt it is the true family which is the model by which people learn how to live in service to one another. That warm environment of oneness based on love and respect between parents and children, mutual fidelity and love between husband and wife, and trust and mutual reliance among siblings. In such families, God is present in each family member’s strong sense of conscience and that standard is passed through the generations from parents to children.

This is the reason that Father and Mother Moon emphasize that it is the second great task of Peacemakers to establish such families and to lead a society in which we uphold the sanctity of love in the family - families in which children are raised to respect others and to prepare themselves to be faithful husbands and wives so that they can maintain loving stable families.

The best preparation to consolidate peace is for young people to have many opportunities to practice living for the sake of others, including those beyond their own religions and cultures. They need to understand how to respect those different from themselves. The most profound place in which this is ability is nurtured is in valuing sexual love and preserving sexual purity for the sake of a future husband or wife.  That is why here in Albania our student organization CARP, is training young peacemakers to serve the society as a means to develop their capacity to live for others in preparation for marriage.

Just over one month ago thousands of young couples from around the world, including several from Albania,  participated in the World Peace Marriage Blessing with the support of thousands of Ambassadors for Peace who were rededicating their own marriages and making a public statement that loving families are the foundation for peace in society and the world.

Father and Mother Moon even challenge us to consider how marriage and family can become an instrument for world peace through international and cross-cultural marriage blessings. Through such marriages two nations or cultural backgrounds come to unite and belong to one family under God. It may be hard to consider this in the face of the painful history of the Balkans. However, it also seemed almost impossible in the context of the bitterness that 40 years of colonial occupation brought to relations between Korea and Japan. Nevertheless Father Moon has been able to inspire young couples from those two enemy nations to indeed marry across former enmity as a living example of the most profound form of peacemaking – the beloved children born of such cross cultural marriages.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite all of you, who have not yet done so, to join with Father and Mother Moon in February 2013 at the World Peace Blessing planned for Foundation Day which will take place in the 30,000 capacity World Peace Centre in Korea, or in March at a European Peace Blessing involving thousands of Ambassadors for Peace from all over Europe.

Let us remind ourselves that human problems are not entirely social or political, and so social and political approaches will always be of limited effectiveness. Freedom and democracy alone are not enough to secure peace. Secular authorities rule most human societies, but religion and codes of morality lie at the heart of most national and cultural identities. In fact, faith and devotion have far greater importance in most people’s hearts than do political loyalties.

Therefore, when we witness the many global tragedies occurring around us, we should recognize how critically important it is that people of conscience from all faiths and cultures come together, dialogue with one another, and learn to embrace one another.

The time has come for religion and traditional morality to renew itself and manifest true leadership in the world. People of faith and conscience should feel responsibility for the plight, suffering and injustices experienced by the world's peoples and must repent for their past preoccupation with individual well-being and narrow denominational or national interests and put their love and ideals into practice for the sake of the world.

In particular, God calls upon Ambassadors for Peace, in hope that we will stand against corruption and injustice, and bestow His true love upon the world.  I suggest that world peace can be fully accomplished in freedom and democracy, when the wisdom and efforts of religious and moral  leadership, which represents the internal concerns of the spirit and conscience, works cooperatively and respectfully with political, economic and social leadership representing practical wisdom

Albanians must initiate the establishment of Peace Councils which unite leaders of good character beyond difference of religion, ethnicity and nation to positively serve the consolidation and advancement of lasting peace in the wider Balkans.

As Ambassadors for Peace we must lead the way by inherit the true love philosophy taught by Father and Mother Moon. We must then actively educate and win the hearts and minds of a wider circle of Albanians and citizens of the Balkans, so that they can practice true love in their dealings with each other and restore past misconduct, mistrust and hatred.

By so doing we will provide hope for the people of the Balkans, and especially for our young people. People will have the opportunity to see with their own eyes the emergence of young people seeking true love and lasting peace and practicing living for others beyond barriers of nation, race and religion.

Respected Albanian leaders, let us join our hands and hearts to improve our institutions and organizations through learning and practicing Father Moon’s Philosophy of True Love.

As Ambassadors for Peace it is our responsibility to unite and uplift the precious wisdom of religious and traditional morality, along with that of scholars, statesmen, and people of insight and knowledge so that we can realize our dream of lasting peace in the Balkans.

May God bless your efforts as Peacemakers.