Peace Train 2013 - Grußwort Oppenheim
Peace Train 2013: 8.10.-29.10.2013 Berlin-Moskau-Irkutsk-Peking-Pyongyang-Pusan
Berlin-Madang am 7. Oktober 2013
Heilandskirche Berlin und Pariser Platz
vor dem Brandenburger Tor
Hier die Berliner Erklärung zum Frieden auf der koreanischen Halbinsel (Deutsch & English)
Evang. Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)
There is a reason for us to be in Berlin today. There is a reason for this Symposion to be here in Berlin and there is reason for having chosen Berlin as the starting point for the Peace Train to Korea.
After the Second World War the divided German capital became a symbol, not only for the division of Germany but also for the division of Europe and even for the division of the world in two opposite camps. East stood against West. We called it the “Cold War”, and for nearly 45 years this meant not only, that families were torn apart, but also, that the cold war could turn into a hot war any time and be it by accident. Nuclear missiles on both sides of the border aimed at each other and held the whole civilian population hostage.
The division of our nation caused much sorrow and pain, but, thank God, we were spared the fate of having brothers and cousins kill each other in a senseless fratricidal war.
This was nevertheless the fate of the Korean people. 4 million people died because the Soviet Union and the United States of America had decided to divide their country. Until today Korea is thus divided. 68 years after the Second World War, exactly 60 years after the end of the Korean War the Korean Peninsula is still divided into two hostile states, families are still torn apart. Heavily armed troops face each other and in the North as well as in the South generation after generation of children grow up with the permanent threat of war and even the permanent danger of a nuclear attack.
Germans and Koreans have shared the experience of division for several decades. Fear, anger, despair, but also hope and faith that one day something might change, a miracle may happen. Christians in both countries have prayed for peace and worked for reconciliation.
Today, I would like to remind us of what we call the “Tozanso Process”. It was and is an effort of churches under the guidance of the World Council of Churches to be in solidarity with the churches of Korea in their quest for Peace and Reconciliation, in their aspiration to be one day peacefully reunited as a nation. It is in the frame of this “Tozanso Process” that the German churches continue to give their support to initiatives of trust building and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. The EKD is committed to this ecumenical endeavour.
Today, Berlin does not stand for division anymore. The city which was a symbol of the Cold War has become a symbol of hope for those, who believe in the peaceful reunification of the Korean nation.
As Christians we believe in the power of God to change the course of history. We believe that the God of Peace who made possible the fall of the wall in Berlin, will also grant reconciliation to the people of Korea.
We do not know how it will happen, nor when, but we know that the insurmountable border will one day be forgotten. One day we will walk and drive and jump and dance across the 38th parallel and who will remember all the unnecessary suffering on both sides of this cruel border? What seems impossible today will be evident tomorrow. That is what we can learn from the Berlin experience and that is why we are here today and why we pray together in this city for peace and reconciliation in Korea.