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Some Reflections on the Long March

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Joined: 13-Aug-2004
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    Posted: 21-Oct-2010 at 08:06

In the two week period before I joined the Baha’i Faith in early October 1959 at the age of 15 much happened in the economic and political world.  I do not want to give a travelogue or a social analysis of all the events or the happenings as they might appear in some annalistic, chronological history, month by month, and especially in September and October 1959.  But I will mention one or two events of those months. Oil was discovered in China near Daqing City; Russia’s Nikita Krushchev visited the US in one of the many confrontations of the cold war. The Tenth Anniversary of the People's Republic of China was held in October 1959.  Mao Tse-tung was replaced as chairman by Liu Shaoqi.  The Great Leap Forward of 1958 to 1960, Mao's grand plan to organize the huge Chinese population, was beginning to become unstuck. It became a disaster. Some 30 to 40 million starved in the period 1959-1961 due to natural disasters.

I want to mention here two other events in Baha’i history that have a curious correlation with the history of the Communist Party in China.  The formation date of the Communist Party in 1921 coincided with the death of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and the building of Baha’i administrative institutions by Shoghi Effendi.  The end of The Long March in October 1936 coincided with the beginning of the Baha’i long teaching march in a series of Teaching Plans.   After an expedition of almost a year, the Second Red Army reached Shaanxi on 22 October 1936, known in China as the “union of the three armies” and the end of The Long March.1  By October 1936 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the USA had begun trying to conceive a plan, as requested by Shoghi Effendi in May 1936, to establish one Baha’i centre in every state and republic in the Americas. –Ron Price with thanks to 1ABC1 TV, 14 October 2010 and “Long March,” Wikipedia, 21 October 2010.

Simple contemporaneity, some might

say serendipitous coincidence…or an

overlapping history overlapping…that

awesome anarchy of one enormous

mud-puddle and my foot in one of

the puddles…And meaning---far, far

from the eye of a dead ant--but only

what I can endow it as I look back at

the decades into which I was born &

which my parents lived in had being.

 

The starving China boys my mother

used to talk about to get me to eat

my vegies--they were real enough,

even if not to me as I stared at the

green and yellow pees and corn on

my plate and watched my mother &

father grow old and die and then…..

 

.…in 1959, mirabile dictu, Mao was

beginning his slide into obscurity &

I was beginning in that Movement 

which was slowly taking the world by storm:

very slowly, unobtrusively, with a grace so

contained as to pose no threat; it captured my

heart and mind, at least part of it, for the long

march that was my life on this earthly plain!*

 

Ron Price

25 February 2007

Updated on¨21/10/’10

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Price has been married for 47 years(in 2014) and a teacher for 35. He has been a writer and editor for 15, and a Baha'i for 55(in 2014).
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