Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Leave It to Dag"

"Of all the people I have known, Hammarskjold was by far the most successful in organizing his public life and his widespread intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic interests into an integrated and self-sustaining pattern. Literature in three or four languages, music, the visual arts and nature were his beloved companions, and his posthumously published diary, 'Markings,' showed that he was developing his own version of mysticism. His friend the sculptor Barbara Hepworth said, 'Dag Hammarskjold had a pure and exact perception of aesthetic principles, as exact as it was over ethical and moral principles. I believe they were, to him, one and the same thing.' But Hammarskjold’s feet were firmly on the ground. 'The United Nations was not created to bring us to heaven,' he told an audience in 1954, 'but to save us from hell.'"

Brian Urquhart in The New York Times praises Dag Hammarskjold, fifty years after the United Nations secretary general died in a plane crash.

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