Red Book, White Book: MarkingsNovember 20, 2010
After Dag Hammarskjöld’s death on 18 September 1961, the manuscript of Vägmärken was found in his house in New York together with the following undated letter, addressed to the Swedish Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Leif Belfrage.
Perhaps you may remember I once told you that, in spite of everything, I kept a diary which I wanted you to take charge of someday.
Here it is.
It was begun without a though of anybody else reading it. But, what with my later history and all that has been said and written about me, the situation has changed. These entries provide the only true “profile” that can be drawn. That is why, during recent years, I have reckoned with the possibility of publication, though I have continued to write for myself, not for the public.
If you find them worth publishing, you have my permission to do so – as a sort of white book concerning my negotiations with myself – and with God. ~ Dag
Image Credit: lefsetime.com
I don’t know Who – or what – put the question, I don’t know when it was put. I don’t even remember answering. But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone – or Something – and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender, had a goal.
From that moment I have known what it means “not to look back,” and “to take no thought for the morrow.”
Led by the Ariadne’s thread of my answer through the labyrinth of Life, I came to a time and place where I realized that the Way leads to a triumph which is a catastrophe, and to a catastrophe which is a triumph, that the price for committing one’s life would be reproach, and that the only elevation possible to man lies in the depths of humiliation. After that, the word “courage” lost its meaning, since nothing could be taken from me.
As I continued along the Way, I learned, step by step, word by word, that behind every saying in the Gospels stands one man and one man’s experience. Also behind the prayer that the cup might pass from him and his promise to drink it. Also behind each of the words from the Cross.
~ Extract Markings by Dag Hammarskjöld, published 1964
Dag Hammarskjöld (1905–1961) was the UN Secretary-General 1953–1961.
After finishing his doctoral studies, Hammarskjöld began a successful career in Sweden. He was Governor of the Riksbank (the central bank of Sweden), State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, minister without portfolio and a member of the Swedish Academy.
As Secretary-General of the United Nations, Hammarskjöld played a very active diplomatic role in the conflicts that went on. His quiet diplomacy proved to be very effective and won great respect.
Dag Hammarskjöld died in unclear circumstances in a plane crash in 1961. He was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Some believe he was murdered.
Since Dag Hammarskjold was an independent man, not bending to the Western powers, nor to the Communists, nor to Israel, but instead trying to build a strong United Nations which would be independent from all national politics, he not only become the enemy of Israel, but of all world leaders.