UPF Albania , by Sokol Rexhepi, Pristina: On Tuesday afternoon, January 13, at a central hotel in Pristina, the capital of Kosova, UPF and Family Federation Kosova held a ceremony to honor and remember the ancestors of the country. The spiritual meaning of this activity was that of a songhwa ceremony, one which was established by the recent Reverend.Sun Myung Moon to uplift and upgrade the ancestors in the spirit world.
This was the last of a series of the kind beginning with Korça city on 26 November 2014, Vlora (28.11), Tirana (30.11) and Shkodra (03.12). As in previous cases the event was moderated by Mr.Gani Rroshi, FFWPU Albania president and key organizer. In his remarks he said that the Albanian people has been invaded most of the time of its existence. This has brought great suffering and pain that we who live today cannot even imagine. That is one of the reasons we are holding this ceremony today”.
Mr. Ismail Kurteshi, UPF Kosova chairperson, spoke after the national anthem was played. He said that the success of UPF Kosova is a result of a close cooperation with the FFWPU and UPF chapter in Albania and European and International headquarters.
H.E. Fatmir Sejdiu (Kosova President 2006-2010), who warmly welcomed the delegation from UPF Albania in the morning, was the next VIP speaker. As a participant of key UPF International events he once again highly valued its efforts and especially the ceremony of honoring the ancestors. He added that “every nation, beside the mission of looking forward and striving for prosperity, has the responsibility of expressing gratitude and appreciate the past efforts and sacrifices of its ancestors. “History did not begin today but it is a result of countless generations and hundreds of centuries. It is not right to uphold that we should not live in the past. We should not live in the past but should use it to build the future jointly with other nations. Without respecting those who were before us and sacrificed their lives for peace and freedom it will be difficult for us to move forward and prosper”.
In support of this event was a delegation of UPF Albania headed by Mr.Bajram Ibraj, who was the next speaker. Mr. Ibraj’s speech was a quick look at Albanians’ long history pointing out to great historical figures with Albanian origin and some of the historical injustices that was done to Albanians, especially on the 19 and 20 Century. “In many cases the truth is a bitter medicine which we have to digest, but hiding it would be a great mistake.” said Mr.Ibraj. “The Albanians were among the first people to welcome Christianity in Europe as it is testified by St. Pauls letters”. Once again Mr. Ibraj underlined the unique value of Albanians; that of co-existence of different religions. Especially he referred to a quotation from the wife of British Ambassador to Turkey (Mid 18 Cen.), Lady Mary Montagu, that in her letters wrote that among the Balkan people Albanians were the most unique in regards to faith in God:“…they attend the mosque service on Fridays and the mess on Sundays”.
Watching a patriotic poetry recitation was a nice break to the series of speeches. Then the secretary general of UPF Kosovo, Mrs. Melisa Dmiri-Klaas gave a more internal explanation to the songhwa ceremony, based on the explanation given at Resurrection chapter of the Divine Principle.
The next speaker was UPF Kosovo first chairman and member of Global Peace Council, Mr. Hydajet Hyseni, a former Member of Parliament and former political prisoner. In a very poetic way he recited the “My Grandfather” a poem that he wrote while imprisoned in Belgrade 25 years ago. It seemed this poem was written on purpose for the event we were celebrating that evening.
Winner of European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and a permanent guest speaker at UPF conferences was Mr. Adem Demaçi, known as the Albanian Mandela due to his 29 years of prison he spent as a political prisoner under Serbian regime, took the pulpit to encourage and congratulate the initiatives of UPF while remembering the passing of the founder, Reverend Moon, who had the brilliant idea to establish such an organization. His speech was related to the motto of the summit “Love God, Love People, Love the Nation”. “The leaders who forget about God follow their own egoistic interests and bring their people to suffering and pain. If we love God we should unite with God”, said Mr. Demaçi. “The greatest love is when we unite with Him. When we are united with God, we will unite with the people. Unfortunately many of those who talk about God and His will and pray to Him, commit many sins and tragedies. We should love people as they are creatures of God. If we unite with God we will feel and understand each-other better. Then there will be less conflicts, wars and evil deeds. We (Albanians) feel this need and desire to unite with God but if other people do not know God we will have to face them. Our neighbors have many churches and attend religious life more than other nations but they have often trampled on God’s commands. This is so for the Muslim believers who commit terrorist attacks in the name of God. This is because they neither know nor believe in God truly,” said Mr. Demaçi Uncle Adem, as its called by his compatriots in respect to his 78 years, concluded his speech sayng that “… I believe that the 21-st Century will be the century of Albanian people that, like the diamond, have endured very hard tests and trials to be able to shine brightly and show their true value to humanity after so many years.”
Mr.Gaqo Apostoli, the first UPF chairman in Albania, shared some deep personal experiences during that evening. He said that he felt the presence of his and his people’s ancestors and that it was a good thing to be able to share with them and uphold and upgrade them to a higher spiritual realm. “Today we established a starting point of communication with our ancestors which should be stable and continuous. Such a ceremony is very important but is not enough. Today we have become more spiritual and should be able to maintain this state continuously,” said Mr. Apostoli who was inspired to sing a patriotic song with the title “Above all I love Albania” that put the audience to a high spiritual level.
His speech paved the way for the symbolic water ceremony where seven participants representing seven backgrounds poured seven bowls of water into a common bigger one symbolizing the unity of different races and religions of mankind under a common Heavenly Parent.
Professor Daut Demaku, founder of Positive Thinking in Kosova mention in his speech that the biggest respect we can pay to our ancestors is to open perspectives and a better future to young generations. “This fits within the living for the sake of others motto”, said Mr.Demaku. He went on to elaborate the concept of intelligent love, which has four main characteristics according to world researchers. “First we should turn our eyes and mind towards ourselves; find answers and identify responsibilities within as the people of Far East do. Secondly we should use the love approach towards our neighbor and compatriots and our nation, as the Hebrews have been doing. Thirdly we should go beyond formal education and pursue self-education and more comprehensive education as the American people are doing. All the three above mentioned preconditions cannot be achieved without the internal peace and harmony of each individual. We should not fight the darkness itself, but find the light and turn it on.
He sincerely pointed out to the weakness of today’s Albanian society: selfishness. “…This is a characteristic of Balkan people where often our ego dominates our family values, society and nation’s interest and even above God. If we don’t want to be considered as the black hole of Europe, we should strive for change. Einstein once said that the problem that was caused by a certain mindset cannot be resolved with the same mindset. If you want to achieve something that you never did before you should act in ways that you never did. We can fight evil if we identify it and name it. I am convinced that we can do that if we apply the intelligent love principles…”, concluded professor Demaku.
The chief imam of Mitrovica, the Northern still divided city of Kosova, blessed the ceremony with a deep prayer. He quoted verses from the Holy Quran ushering the unity and love between believers of different Abrahamic faiths. “The ones who cannot love the people cannot love God. Those who sacrifice themselves for humanity, for the nation or for their faith will remain eternally in the eyes of God”, said Imam Lushta, a renowned ambassadors for peace himself who offered a deep prayer for the sake of Kosova’s ancestors.
Mr. Ali Laçej – co-coordinator of Albanian Peace Council, layed out several tasks ahead of Albanian on the way of becoming a good nation. “…We need to purify ourselves as in the time of Noah, because we are full of sins and vices that have captured the official elites which do not represent even the average of Albanian thought. Secondly we need to uphold the commands of Moses, the famous don’ts. Don’t steel, don’t lie, don’t deceive, don’t envy the other… We need to say to each other not to do evil and I pray to God to give us the courage to do so. Thirdly we need more light in our hearts. I pray God can lead us to think with our hearts; to feel the pain of the other as our own. To feel that there are young people who are fleeing the country due to bad governance within. And finally we need the truth; the one that will bring back love in our hearts and will bring to an end our evil ways. I pray to God that we can continue the spiritual communication we experienced tonight so that we can feel alive. I hope that soon we’ll be able to fly high,” conluded Mr. Laçej, quoting a sentence that Pope Francis recently used in his visit to Albania in September 2015.
The last prayer was offered by Mrs. Ejona Icka, FFWPU Kosova chair who prayed to God to bless the ancestors and descendants of Albanian people with His love, light and goodness and expressed gratitude to all the ancestors for their sincere devotion and sacrifices.
After the ceremony the members of Kosova’s Peace Council met to elect its new chairman and his assitants. Finally everyone applauded the election of Mrs. Hatixhe Hoxha, one of the first Ambasadors for peace appointed in Kosova and a former MP. She will be assisted by prof. Daut Demaku and MP Sanije Aliaj.
In conclusion we can say that this event was a major milestone of FFWPU and UPF in Kosova and so far the best songhwa ceremony honoring the ancestors of Albanian people.