Government Bullying – Teachers speak out about scapegoating of Shincheonji

Faldielah Haupt and Michelle Arendse, both of whom play an active role in Cape Town society as teachers, mothers, activists, and Peace Educators, raise their voices through written letters about the troubling situation in South Korea and the discrimination aimed at Shincheonji Church and its Chairman, Mr Man Hee Lee.

Left: Faldielah Haupt Right: Michelle Arendse

My name is Faldielah Haupt and I am from Cape Town, South Africa.

In 2016 I attended a meeting held by the IWPG (South Africa). In this meeting I learned that their mission was to raise awareness about peace, and bring this awareness to everyone around the world. Because I was campaigning for peace in my community, I immediately saw that IWPG and I had the same vision and I decided to join the IWPG group. Later it was discovered that I was a teacher and from there I was drawn into the Peace Value Education.

As we do not teach religious instruction in our schools anymore, implementing Peace Value Education was a way of instilling values in our children. When I started “teaching” values in my class, I could see a change in my learners (students).

Then I received an invitation to attend the HWPL WARP SUMMIT in South Korea in 2017. To me this was a real honour and I was part of the Peace Value Delegation who represented South Africa. This was an amazing experience. I met people from ALL OVER the world. I befriended people of different religions / creeds, colour and culture. Sitting in discussions with people from different countries, irrespective of their titles or positions, we all had the same vision, namely WORLD PEACE. Listening to various speakers from different sides of the world, made me realise that the senseless killings are happening everywhere, and not only in my country. By listening to Chairman Man Hee Lee, explaining his vision to achieve global peace, made me realise that I am instrumental to this man’s dream. It was up to me to when I return to my country, to start spreading and “preaching” PEACE. To be able to achieve this, the change had to start with me.

At the opening ceremony of the annual WARP (World Alliance of Religions’ Peace) Summit which was held on 17 September 2017 at Seoul Athletics Stadium I could see for the first time the thousands of people whom Chairman Man Hee Lee single handedly brought together, each one with the same vision, to be part of the peace building process. Everyone had a part in peace building process, clearly reflected in the slogans: “Together for Peace as Messengers Of Peace” and “We are one”. Chairman Man Hee Lee’s speech inspired me to carry out my individual duty as a messenger of peace. Chairman Man Hee Lee taught me that HWPL is committed to bringing world peace and cessation of war through the establishment of an enforceable law compatible with the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).

Being a teacher, mother, female activist, and being involved with youth and by implementing Peace Value Education, I can proudly say that I play a significant role in both peace building and conflict resolution at my place of work as well as in my community as an active messenger of peace. Chairman Man Hee Lee made me realise that in order to bring about change, I had to be the change. And guess what, I changed. All this was brought about by one person, namely, Mr. Man Hee Lee.

I think it is grossly unfair of  Government Officials to blame Chairman Lee and the Shincheonji Church for the Covit-19  outbreak. Calling his church a cult and blaming him for an epidemic, is no different to the bullies that we as teachers have to deal with in schools on a daily basis. I’ve read articles where it was implied that HWPL was a front for Chairman Lee to recruit members for his cult. Well, since I attended the Peace Summit in 2017, I returned home and I’m still practicing my religion which is Islam. Not once was religion mentioned at the Summit, not once did he advocate religion, and as I mentioned previously, it was diverse as the people who were in attendance, represented different religions. I feel that accusing him of these things is not only violating his honour, but is also a violation of his human rights. I have seen the good he has done, even now with the accusations hanging over his head, he is still doing good by encouraging his church members who have recovered from the virus, to donate plasma in order to help doctors with the Corona Virus research.

According to what I have read in The White Paper, Shincheonji’s fundamentalist opponents have used their political connections to call for governmental action against Shincheonji well before the virus crisis and thousands of cases of discrimination against innocent Shincheonji members occurred in South Korea after the coronavirus crisis started. Clearly this spells out BULLYING and VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS!!!!!

I pray that this nightmare for Chairman Lee and his Shincheonji members will end soon and I wish PEACE upon him and all those who are causing him grief.

Yours in peace

Faldielah Haupt

HWPL Peace Education, IWPG, Messenger of Peace