Unification Church leader Reverend Sun Myung Moon arrived in Guyana yesterday for a commemoration ceremony to mark the launch of his worldwide peace movement, though little fanfare marked the visit of one of the world’s most controversial religious figures.
Moon too was disappointed by the sparse attendance at the ceremony, which attracted about a hundred people, including some dignitaries, at the National Cultural Centre. “I was told that there would be a thousand people but when I came here there was only a handful of people and all the seats are not full,” Moon said through an interpreter during one of the many digressions in his marathon speech. Moon’s speech set out his model for world peace, the Universal Peace Federation, which he hoped would one day soon rival the UN. “If you work with me, I can help your country become a front runner in the entire world,” he said, adding, “nobody requested my appearance here but everything… follows God’s direction.”
Moon, however, did not follow the stage directions he received from the officials at the cultural centre, who urged him to wrap up his speech as he had exceeded the time allotted for the ceremony. Despite the late start of his own event set for 3.30 pm, he ignored them and continued, and though in his late 80s, he appeared more animated than the members of his own steadily dwindling audience who were visibly growing weary.
Outside, members of the Seventh Day Adventist church waited impatiently behind the closed doors of the building eager to begin their own 8 pm concert. At 7.30, however, Moon was still in full flow.
Moon, who was accompanied by his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, was presented with the Key to the City by Mayor Hamilton Green, who offered the services of all the followers of the church to all national, political and community leaders to advance Guyana. “In spite of the wild propaganda, we note how the movement has significantly advanced the effort to make religious freedom more than a slogan,” he said.
All in attendance were given mini radio sets to receive the interpretation of Reverend Moon’s speech on a special FM frequency during the ceremony.