Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cry, The Beloved Country

I was in my teens when I first read this amazing book by Alan Paton. Now, 65 years later, I have re-read it and find it just as compelling. There have been tremendous changes in South Africa since he wrote this novel. Apartheid (which came into existence just a year after his book was published) has been abolished and the past 20 years, or so, have brought new hope and many changes to that land.

I wish I could say the same for these United States. Although the blacks have many less restrictions now there is still a vicious hatred against them that smolders just beneath the surface and it is killing our nation. It is almost miraculous that we were able to elect a black President and re-elect him ! However, that may have exacerbated the fear that so many whites seem to feel.

In Cry, The Beloved Country Paton gives an account of the inhumanity of the whites against the blacks of South Africa. He speaks of how the love of gold and power corrupt a country and he is most often remembered by this quote: “But there is only one thing that has power completely, and this is love. Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power.”

That is a memorable statement but the one that pierced my heart was at the very end of the novel when the black priest, Theophilus Msimangu “who had no hate for any man” said “I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they turn to loving they will find that we are turned to hating.”

An awfully good description of what is happening in our nation right now ... and it is, indeed, fearful.


Blogger ellen said...

Dearest Ginnie,
This is one of my all time beloved books. I remember my mother reading it...lying by her side such a very long time ago. It stays in my heart and will be there forever.
Then there is Too Late the Phalarope.
Such a gift he gave.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

We 'studied' this book in grade 12 back in the day. I enjoyed it and read at least one of his other books.

4:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned long ago not to generalize about people. There are racists of every kind everywhere in the U.s., however, I see incredible acts of kindness and have high hopes that love will overcome hate. Cheer up Ginnie, there are rays of sunshine for those who will see.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Some great stuff here, Ginnie. Love is the answer for sure. It may be different in other areas of the country, but right now, in SC, things are tense. No rioting thankfully, but there is much need for healing. Those who ignore what is happening or offer platitudes need to read the hateful posts on social media. Yes, there is much good too. I am working hard at seeing that, but I cannot ignore the overt racism that still exists.

9:34 AM  
Blogger possum said...

An awesome book, and great quotes - so true, so true.
Thanks for reminding me of an old favorite!

3:17 PM  

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