Interpreting Hammarskjöld's Political Wisdom
History can enchain us. What is important is to work for the future.
This entry and several following look at three forms of courage as Hammarskjöld understood them: physical courage, the courage of one’s convictions, courage rooted in faith—and their integration in acts of political courage.
During the present session of the General Assembly I have superficial contacts with several whom I have to place in the category MDP (Morally Displaced Persons)….
Today, as so often in the past, we need a rediscovery of courage and of faith in man by leaders on every level of the social scale, in every walk of life, from the local community to this Assembly Hall of the United Nations.
Once you go head first into it, even the most impossible task may show unexpected opportunities.
This will be no affair of a few months or a few years, of course—a kind of war against fear and hate ending with conclusive victory as the reward of successful effort.
Hammarskjöld excelled at face-to-face encounters. He had a knack of inspiring confidence and of piercing through another’s reserve. He could be disarmingly direct, but also, as need arose, involved and subtle. His transparent sincerity and sense of dedication inspired a remarkable degree of confidence.
We have to maneuver in such a way as to give free swing to those forces which are constructive and conciliatory. And if we can do that, we shall do well enough.
A negotiated solution that ignores the legal issues is just as unlikely to be permanent as a solution that ignores any other main aspect of the case; a party which is induced to accept a settlement without any consideration of its legal claims is likely to retain an abiding sense of injustice.
"Through ambiguity to the stars"—a tag suggested by some unknown wit around Hammarskjöld as the motto for his diplomatic method.