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The Bedrock


“Concerning men and their way to peace and concord–?” The truth is so simple that it is considered a pretentious banality. Yet it is continually being denied by our behavior. Every day furnishes new examples.
It is more important to be aware of the grounds for your own behavior than to understand the motives of another.
The other’s “face” is more important than your own. If, while pleading another’s cause, you are at the same time seeking something for yourself, you cannot hope to succeed.
You can only hope to find a lasting solution to a conflict if you have learned to see the other objectively, but, at the same time, to experience his difficulties subjectively.
The man who “likes people” disposes once and for all of the man who despises them.
All first-hand experience is valuable, and he who has given up looking for it will one day find–that he lacks what he needs: a closed mind is a weakness, and he who approaches persons or painting or poetry without the youthful ambition to learn a new language and so gain access to someone else’s perspective on life, let him beware.
A successful lie is doubly a lie, an error which has to be corrected is a heavier burden than truth: only an uncompromising “honesty” can reach the bedrock of decency which you should always expect to find, even under deep layers of evil.
Diplomatic “finesse” must never be another word for fear of being unpopular: that is to seek the appearance of influence at the cost of its reality.

Dag Hammarskjold, 1955, “Markings”

Transparency

This UN document was sent to me recently from Gustav Wenneberg of Denmark, the son of Johan Wenneberg; Johan was a UN security officer stationed in Leopoldville at the time of the crash. I don’t believe this has anything new to add to the investigation, but it is interesting since it mentions only 14 people, when there were 16 people total on the plane; Swedish UN officers Hjelte and Persson were not included.

I am posting this also as a reminder, to anyone who believes they can assist the UN investigation with new information, to please contact Judge Othman’s office at dh.investigation@un.org, “first providing a brief outline summarising the new information”.

Truth

My sincere thanks and appreciation to Judge Othman for his hard work on the Hammarskjold investigation, and for his 25 October 2017 report. Once again, I want to reaffirm my complete support of the United Nations investigation, and I stand with Judge Othman with the strong conviction that there should be unconditional cooperation and transparency from anyone who has information about the death of our relatives. There are no good reasons to obstruct this official investigation, and I will continue to speak up for truth and justice for Vlado.

For those who have not read the October report, you can find it on the UNA Westminster “Hammarskjold Inquiry News Page”, click on “Eminent Person Report 2017”.

56 Years Ago Today

In memory of the 16 who died in Ndola, here is some of the collection from my mother-in-law, Olga Fabry, who carefully saved all the documents and mementos I share here. Vlado was only 40 years old when he died, a man who was very much loved by his family and friends, and my thoughts are with all the relatives around the world who remember their family on this day. The struggle against racism and white supremacy continues for us, let us not forget their example of courage to resist, and to fight for justice.

Program from the first wreath laying ceremony at UN Headquarters, one year after the crash, 17 September 1962:



Invitation from Acting Secretary-General, U Thant, to Madame Fabry:

Letter and commemorative UN stamps from U Thant to Olga Fabry:


Signatures from UN staff were collected from all over the world to fill this two-volume set of books in memory of Vladimir Fabry:

Signatures from UN Headquarters in New York include Ralph Bunche, and his wife Ruth:


Signatures from Geneva Headquarters and a message from John A. Olver:

Telegrams from friends in every country:

Among them, a message of sympathy from the King of Sweden relayed through Ralph Bunche:

And a cable from Jozef Lettrich:

UN cables express the loss of a dear friend and highly valued colleague:


Newspaper clippings from 1961 and 1962, the first one with a photo of Olga Fabry and her mother at the funeral in Geneva, Switzerland:







The investigation will coming up for review in the General Assembly, and for those who think we should give up and be quiet about it already after all these years, Dag Hammarskjold said it best: “Never, “for the sake of peace and quiet,” deny your own experience or convictions.”

Letter to Beirut

On November 4, 1959, while Vlado was working in Beirut as Legal and Political Adviser to the UNEF in the Middle East, there was a fight between four Egyptian and six Israeli jets at the border of the two countries. Here is a letter from Vlado’s father, Pavel, written the following day, which has a news clipping in German referencing this event. I can’t properly translate the Slovak, but it shows Pavel’s usual sense of humor, in the format of a mock newspaper front page – especially the magazine image he altered to look like Vlado, with his nose in a book at the beach, surrounded by women trying to get his attention, ha! He was so funny. I’ve included a couple photos of Pavel, showing what he looked like around this time.

Poem for Vlado

Fabry Archive - Selected Photographs (86)

Looking through the family papers today, I found a poem by Olinka Fabry, written in tribute of her brother Vlado.  I share it here with love to the both of them.

To Vlado

You died, as you lived –

not fearless, nor reckless,

but wisely bargaining

the single coin of life

for the one thing it is worth,

to bargain for

not for the siren song of gold

nor for the temptation of flesh

nor for the praise of men –

but to help life bloom and sing

and save it from withering away

For while we procrastinated

while we withdrew and barricaded ourselves in our insides

you stepped out –

with a pick and the rope, climbed to the top

into the streaming sunshine of bullets

and called to the man, behind the bush

to come out and talk over his grievance….

Now that it’s consummated,

we see it well, this hard won lesson:

not for the thrill

nor to subdue the mountain

but to steel the gaze

at the edge of the abyss

so when time comes

for the free man

he shall not flinch,

he shall not be found wanting.

Enter now in the hall of fame

of our small mountainfolk,

join the heroes standing around

the famous cliff – straight as candles –

you who wrote their courage in the sky

for all the world to see.

Of you I sing on this foreign shore

gentle as white wool of our lambs

hard as the granite of our cliffs.

You shall not walk again the mountain path

but your name shall be whispered

when the forest sings