Mother of Peace: Episode 42
Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes
A Memoir by Hak Ja Han Moon
Chapter 6: Creating the Road to One World, pg 202-207
The United Nations established its headquarters in New York City at the end of World War II. Seventy years have since passed. There are three other major UN offices, in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi. But even though the world has entered the Asia-Pacific era, there is no major UN office in Asia.
I have recommended that the UN open its fifth international office in Korea, specifically, in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the 38th parallel. I am supporting various groups, including the Universal Peace Federation and the Citizens Federation for the Unification of North and South Korea, in their efforts to turn the DMZ into a global peace park. This will bring the issue of Korean reunification to the attention of the world’s people as no other action can.
All the nations of Asia would be pleased to serve as the site of a new, global UN headquarters, but I believe that Korea has unique qualifications. It houses the international headquarters of the Universal Peace Federation and of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace. Spiritually speaking, as the nation in which True Parents were born, Korea has something very deep within its culture that can serve the world.
Some 70 years ago, the UN forces shed blood and sweat for the sake of peace in Korea. By ending the division on the peninsula, the UN would complete the mission of those soldiers who gave their lives, and inspire peace in the world. In his speech given at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in 2000, my husband announced our vision of a peace park in the Demilitarized Zone. Fifteen years later, in May of 2015, at the UN Office in Vienna, Austria, I proposed that a fifth UN office be built there. The president of the Republic of Korea himself proposed to North Korea at the UN that a peace park be built in the DMZ. If North and South Korea invite the UN to build its fifth office in the DMZ, it will, by that very act alone, turn a theater of war—where so many on both sides of the conflict shed their blood—into a Mecca of peace.
Putting peace into practice
In our peace messages, Father Moon and I advocated that all humanity participate in the cross-cultural marriage Blessing. The cross-cultural marriage Blessing is by far the best way to restore humanity to become the children of God. Grandparents from enemy nations or religions will unite through the beautiful grandchildren they share in common. That is the ideal, and like all ideals, it takes work to realize. In Korea, one hears, “There are more and more multicultural families, but their lives do not appear to be getting easier.” The person next to him agrees, saying, “Many children are ridiculed by schoolmates because their mother is from another country.” “Not only that,” another person will chime in, “It is not uncommon for brides from overseas to give up and return to their native countries.”
Today the number of multicultural families is increasing in the Korean countryside as well as in the cities. Looking closer, we can see that these multicultural families generally comprise a Korean husband and a wife from a developing country and their children. It is not easy for women from other countries to settle in a land where the people have a different language and lifestyle. Added to that, more than a few locals look down on multicultural families and even reject them.
I understand such problems very well. When my husband and I went to the United States in the early 1970s to carry out our mission, I experienced rejection and a sense of isolation that comes from being part of a minority. If this was the case for me in America, a nation with a heterogeneous population, it must be even worse in Korea, a homogeneous nation. Hence, I hope and desire to support these families who have come to establish happy lives in Korea.
Since the late 1960s, my husband and I have created multicultural families through the marriage Blessing Ceremony, introducing partners to each other beyond nation, race and religious background. An upsurge in multicultural families in Korea was especially seen after our International Blessing Ceremony for 6,500 Korean-Japanese couples in 1988, the year the Summer Olympics was held in Seoul.
At that time, there were not many Korean women willing to marry men in farming villages, and this was becoming a social problem. For our Blessing Ceremony, women from Japan and other countries agreed to marry Korean men. Everyone knew this would pose many challenges. The Korean people’s sentiment was still strongly anti-Japanese and many opposed the idea of a Japanese wife or daughter-in-law in Korea. Similarly, in Japan, parents were unhappy with the idea of their daughters—or sons—marrying someone from Korea, which was less developed economically.
However, Japanese Unificationist women, understanding faith in God, the concept of filial devotion and the idea of “living for the sake of others,” agreed to marry Korean men and devoted themselves to their families. Brides from countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand similarly came to Korea and established international blessed families.
There were many beautiful outcomes. The women attended their Korean parents-in-law with sincere devotion and created prosperous families. Even if living conditions were difficult, they faithfully took care of their husbands’ parents when they were sick and elderly. Some even received government awards for serving their parents-in-law with filial devotion. Some became leaders of women’s associations or parents’ groups in their villages. Many of these wives and their husbands are now indispensable members of their village communities.
My husband and I realized there were ways to assist not only our church members, but all women in multicultural families in Korea, and we established a Multicultural Welfare Center in 2010. The center helps people from foreign countries learn the Korean language and otherwise feel at home in Korean society. Furthermore, we are assisting disabled people and single-parent families. We set up the True Love Peace School in Korea for the children of bicultural families, to help them with their studies and language skills.
We sometimes hear about Korean celebrities or high-ranking officials whose sons evade the requirement to join the military. That is not the case with multicultural families; in fact, some predict that by 2025, South Korea will have a “multicultural army.” Children of international and multicultural families often have dual citizenships, and they can opt out of Korean military service by choosing their alternative nationality. Notably, more than 4,000 sons of couples who received an international marriage Blessing have fulfilled their national military service in Korea with honor. This is something they can be proud of.
Melting Korean prejudice against multicultural families will take time, so we must work hard to see the day that the term “multicultural family” disappears. Discrimination is implicit in that term. A family is a family; no modifier is needed to describe it. “Multicultural” should not be used to label a married couple in which the man and woman are of different nationalities. This is not in line with a universal understanding of humankind nor with God’s will.
For more than 50 years, Father Moon and I have been promoting harmony between nationalities, races and religions through the marriage Blessing. Through Korean-Japanese marriage Blessings, we have broken down the barriers between these two nations and their peoples. We have done the same between Germany and France, and many other people of former enemy nations. The brides and grooms who have received the marriage Blessing are living based on the word of God and creating beautiful families all over the world. We do not call them multicultural families; they are simply blessed families.
It seems ironic, but the ultimate goal of religion is to create a world where there is no religion, in the sense of religion being a repair shop. When all human beings become good people, there will naturally no longer be a need to repair our relationship with God. In the same way, when we become “one family under God” and a world of true equality and peace appears, the term “multicultural family” will disappear. The very foundations of that peaceful world are true families and true love.
As we have seen, the road to one world has many dimensions. It is a literal road bonding nations together; it is an embrace of enemies who become brothers; it is turning a war zone into a peace garden, and it is the uniting of men and women of diverse races into literal marriages that recreate the world as one family under our Heavenly Parent. As the Mother of peace, I am calling the world’s near eight billion people to travel this road together with me.