Tag Archives: Dag Hammarskjold

United Nations Suez Canal Clearance Operations: 1956-’57

Need help clearing the Suez Canal? Take your problem to the United Nations! Vlado Fabry was on assignment in Egypt during the Suez Crisis, assisting with the UN clearance operations of about 30 wrecks, which began in December of 1956 and was completed in April 1957. I promised a while back to post images of the large clearance chart that Vlado saved, but now I have a very good reason to share it! It is 2 feet x 2 feet in size, beautiful to look at. Prepared in 1957 by UNSCO, drawn and traced by Roger Gammino.

I am also including this eye-opening BBC documentary about the Suez Crisis, I highly recommend it!

Happy 100th Birthday, Vlado!

Born 23 November 1920, a toast to Vlado from the S-G – and me! Thank you to everyone who has contacted me with your fond memories of Vlado, I appreciate them all.

From New York to Gaza, 22 November 1960, birthday wishes from Vlado’s sister Olinka.

Not a birthday telegram, just a “confidential” message from Vlado’s mother to write home more often!

A birthday message and pep talk from big brother Vlado to his sister, sent late September 1960:

“However it may be, there’s no use fighting it or grumbling about what could be – just try to enjoy life as it comes and make every year of it – or every day, or every minute, – a memorable experience and adventure. Carpe diem! -“

Vlado and the Mercenaries: Operation Rum Punch

The United Nations will be 75 years old this October 24th, and when I see how certain member nations react to having their human rights abuses pointed out to them, how they bully and attempt to silence others, interfere with elections, poison their tea, kidnap, arrest, dismember them, or shoot down their planes, it only reaffirms how important the UN truly is; how important it is that all nations be able to come together and communicate honestly with each other for peace. The UN makes a difference in so many lives every day around the world, and it made a huge difference in the lives of the Fabry family, pretty much saving Vlado’s life by giving him a legal position in 1946 and getting him out of Prague – Vlado was lucky to live to age 40.

In May of this year, I was sent an interview of Vlado’s personal secretary at Hotel Le Royal in Leopoldville(now Kinshasa), from Maurin Picard, author of “Ils Ont Tue Monsieur H”, and she says she “had worked for weeks with Vladimir Fabry and the issue of the “frightfuls”, these mercenaries.

“I made dozens of photocopies from these documents that had been somehow collected and that had to do with these mercenaries. Vladimir Fabry worked a great deal on this issue. We did an extensive research on these documents.”

She gives her recollection of 17 September 1961: “That day, when I arrived at my office, Vladimir Fabry immediately requested to dictate some telegrams. I spent the whole afternoon doing that: typing messages, then bringing them to the “chiffre” for them to be coded accordingly with the recipient’s identity.

By the time I was finished, they were getting ready to leave for the airport.

Before leaving, Vladimir Fabry was so thrilled.

Happy as a kid who was just offered a new toy.

Albeit a very reserved character, he was practically jumping on his feet.

He came into my office and said excitedly: “M******, I am leaving with the Secretary-General! I am trusting you with my car keys!”

He had to be very happy, for he would never have done such a thing otherwise. His car was an official UN vehicle. He told me I could use it all the time during his absence.”

In connection to mercenaries, here is one more document of interest I found during my visit to the UN archives in May 2015, concerning Vlado and Operation Rum Punch; when 79 mercenaries working for Katanga were arrested on 28 August 1961. From Series 0793-0012-81, with folder description “UNOC: Mercenaries, Fabry”, a letter from Conor Cruise O’Brien to Michel Tombelaine in English, with the legal advice of Vladimir Fabry in French:



No to racism and white supremacy!

Ian Smith, the last Prime Minister of Rhodesia, in this news report from 1976, says “I am not a racist”, he just has “standards” – he was only following the “standards” of the British colonists that came before him, “and if it was right then, I wonder, why it is wrong now?” I had to rewind this crazy interview several times(starting 15:35), Smith has a forked tongue, manipulating words and changing their meaning to justify the unjustifiable, stirring up violence – like the snake currently occupying the White House. His tone in defense of white minority rule reminds me of Hendrick Verwoerd, who also spoke like a very concerned and condescending parent, as if apartheid for Black Africans was a fair thing, a neighborly thing.

I do not need to ask why there is a lack of cooperation in getting information concerning the death of uncle Vlado and Dag Hammarskjold and their friends on September 17-18, 1961, I know why. For governments and organizations to open up their archives to examination of the past, that would mean an examination into present day activities, and the truth is that nothing has changed, it’s business as usual. One has to be willfully blind not to connect the dots of the past to the present, racism is real and so is white supremacy. There have been so many times it has scared the hell out of me to speak up here and stand for what is right, but I refuse to let fear silence me!

Never give up in doing good!

Tired
And lonely,
So tired
The heart aches.
Meltwater trickles
Down the rocks,
The fingers are numb,
The knees tremble.
It is now,
Now, that you must not give in.

On the path of the others
Are resting places,
Places in the sun
Where they can meet.
But this
Is your path,
And it is now,
Now, that you must not fail.

Weep
If you can,
Weep,
But do not complain.
The way chose you–
And you must be thankful.

–Dag Hammarskjold’s “Markings”, July 6, 1961