Tag Archives: selfless

One of the Great Negotiators

Negotiate – Word of the Day

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Dag Hammarskjold (1905 – 1961) a Swedish Diplomat, economist and from 1953 – 1961 he was the UN Secretary General. He was also a deeply spiritual person, a contemplative who loved the medieval mystics. His book ‘Markings’ a journal of his spiritual struggles was posthumously published with a foreword by his friend, the poet W.H. Auden. He called his diary – negotiations with himself and with God.

Hammarskjold was propopsed by the British Foreign Secertary Anthony Eden who was impressed with Hammarskjold’s work in diplomacy and economics. The vote was almost unanimous in the Security Council and Hammarskjold was announced as the next Secretary General. The American and Soviet delegates thought Hammarskjold was harmless. He was reelected in 1957.

Hammarskjold was unaware of the nomination, and in fact thought the media report was a joke, and because it was announced on April 1st, he quipped that it was a bad April Fools joke. But it was indeed true.

Hammarskjold believed that relationships were important and that example was one of the best forms of leadership. He tried to meet as many employees at the UN as possible, he ate regularly in the staff cafe, he refused to use his private lift and opened it for general use, he established the meditation room (which he helped to design) which was to be for withdrawal and reflection, a place for silence, and a multi-faith space. He prevented FBI intervention at the UN that his predecessor had allowed at the height of McCarthyism. And he brought order and regulatory process to an organisation in crisis.

He was an able negotiator. He made some impact on relations between Israel and the Arab states. In 1955 he successfully negotiated the release of eleven US airmen who were prisoners from the Korean War. In 1956 he played a major role in ending the Suez Crisis, There are many other negotiations that he was involved in, and which demonstrate his capacity to work hard and achieve a positive outcome. Not everything was plain sailing though, the Congo was unresolved, interrupted by his death, and the Soviet interference and then occupation of Hungary was frustrating for Hammaskjold as there was little he could do to bring a resolution forward.

His role in the Congo Crisis was cut short by his death as the result of a plane crash travelling to Congo. There are those who still believe that Congolese rebels associated with mining interests were responsible for the plane crash, but no substantive proofs have come to light, including a UN 2015 investigation into the matter. Hammarskjold made four visits to the Congo. It was, as history has shown, a tangled web of politics and power plays. The USSR and the Americans had their own people on the ground and were manipulating much of the power play. The Congo had become factionalised on independence, and the popularly elected Prime-minister Patrice Lumumba was murdered. It was utter chaos.

J.F. Kennedy said of Hammarskjold: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.” Kennedy was reflecting on Hammarskjold’s death and on his own resistance to Hammarskjold’s policy in the Congo.

Extreme left and right views are critical of Hammarskjold, and in the main these revolve around the immpossible situation in Hungary, and the seemingly intractable problem in the Congo. But for me they are the proof, by comparison, of the majority of successes he was part of and integral to. His record stands as testimony to his great ability to network, form key relationships, to maintain a consistent approach, and to believe the best in people. His commitment was to keeping peace and finding better ways for nations to negotiate their differences. He formed the UN Emergency Response Group, and initiated the first Peace Keeping force. He was posthumously awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1961.

His strength came from his contemplative stance, especially meditation, and his sheer passion for peace in the world. His personal belief was that selfless service to humanity was crucial. Whatever you may think of him, he was one of the great negotiators of the 20th century.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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Bestow Love

via Daily Prompt: Bestow

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Ramana Maharshi (1879 – 1950) was a Hindu sage, in fact a Jivanmukta, a liberated sage. Maharshi once said: “Unless one is happy, one cannot bestow happiness on others.” 

Maharshi is saying, obviously, that we can only give what we have within us. So if we carry anger, we share anger, if joy then joy, if hate then we share hate, but if love then love, and so on. We can’t give what we don’t have. Love doesn’t come from hate.

To be proactive, Rumi urges us to: “… bestow your love even on your enemies, if you touch their hearts what do you think will happen?” A purpose Jesus taught with his famous instruction to “Love one another”, including our enemies.

Rumi begs the question, what will happen if we do love our enemies? It’s simply rhetorical, the answer is clear, they will, over time, learn to love. I can see that example in so many people I have had the privilege of meeting and befriending, but also in those who have become known for their acts of selfless love – Martin Luther King Jnr., Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, Ghandi, Malala, Maximillian Kolbe, Oscar Schindler, Bernadette Devlin, Mandella, Fred Hollows, or this guy:- Doc Hendley, who by his own description is but a humble bartender who had a vision to do something about water.

Hendley isn’t a sports star, or rock star, or movie star, just an ordinary guy bestowing clean water on those in dire need. While in reality he is also bestowing his love and compassion. He got angry hearing about the water crisis in the world, but he translated that anger into positive action (rather than reaction) and fifteen years on there’s a process for helping to provide clean water in the Sudan.

Doc Hendley is a great example to us, that we too, humble as we are, can bestow our love, our happiness, our joy, compassion … on others in meaningful ways. Where I live a local girl, Bella Burgmeister has become an author, motivational speaker, and project initiator, not bad for someone who is eleven. Bella has written on the impact of global warming in her book “Bella’s challenge” and she has iniated a project in our community by convincing city council to invest in thirty lockers for homeless people, a fantastic project. Bella has bestowed her passion and energy and love on our community for the benefit of all.

We can all do something, we can all bestow our love in some way, great or small.

Heartless is my world
my wallet is cold, empty
warm is my embrace

© Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under history, life, meditation, mindfulness, poetry, quote, Spirituality