Düsseldorf, Germany—The 2017 International Day of Peace was commemorated with a discussion of Syria and a proposal for bringing peace there.
Mr. Jamal Karsli, a Syrian-born former member of the Landtag (parliament) of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, gave a talk called “Syria—Ways out of the Crisis.”
An audience of about 40 people attended the discussion, which was held on September 21 under the title “A New Peace Initiative for Syria.”
Acting as the moderator, UPF activist Mrs. Anja Brina explained that the United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Peace on September 21, 1981.
This day should be used to realize the ideal of peace not only within each country and its people, but also between nations, Mrs. Brina said. From 2001 onwards, it was declared that this day always should be celebrated on September 21. Unfortunately, only a few people remember and celebrate this day.
Following this introduction, Mr. Werner Fehlberg of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an affiliated organization, gave an impressive presentation about the ideas and goals of UPF. He gave a short introduction to the autobiography of UPF founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen.
Before Mr. Jamal Karsli gave his presentation, we watched a short video, Syria: Before and after the War, from which we gained an impression of the country. On the one hand, we saw the beauty of Syria; on the other hand, we saw terrible destruction. The film made a deep impression.
Mr. Karsli prefaced his presentation with an introduction to himself and his family. He served for many years as a local member of Parliament in Düsseldorf. He himself is Syrian and a Muslim; his wife is Italian and a Christian. He speaks Arabic to his children, his wife speaks Italian to them, and together they speak German. They get along very well together, he said!
Then he spoke about the deteriorating and complicated situation in Syria. Over a million people have died in the conflict, and many more have been injured. In his family alone there have been 32 fatalities. He described this conflict as a small world war which is being waged on Syrian soil—a conflict between terror organizations and 40 nations.
Mr. Karsli then presented his peace initiative. His proposal is that the German government, representing a neutral country which has accepted the greatest number of refugees, together with the United Nations should hold a peace conference involving the most influential nations. And only independent Syrians—those with connections neither to the opposition nor to the Assad government—should be invited to participate. Eighty percent of the population falls into this category, he said. In this conference, a peaceful solution could be agreed on and the form of the future Syrian state established. Mr. Karsli has sent the German government a letter outlining his idea for a peace conference.
Following his presentation there was an opportunity to ask questions.
Mrs. Brina then read an excerpt from Rev. Dr. Moon’s autobiography:
Only when the knowledge and experience of political leaders are connected with the wisdom of interreligious leaders, can the world find its way to true peace.
A prayer for peace closed the official part of the program, which was followed by refreshments and informal discussions.