DECEMBER 31, 1953
HYDE PARK Wednesday —I went down early Monday morning from Hyde Park to attend a meeting of the Students for Democratic Action. This is the group of young people who have worked closely with Americans for Democratic Action and have been a liberal voice among the students but consistently opposed to Communist influence. I returned to the country the same afternoon and I hope to spend the rest of the holidays in the country.
We listened to the radio news as we came down and I was distressed to hear there were two reports on the treatment of the prisoners in Korea. One report said they had been intimidated and not allowed to hear proper presentations from their countries, and the other, signed by the minority consisting of Sweden and Switzerland, said that this was not so that they had been given ample opportunity to hear what their countries wished to say.
As I had understood it, it was the prisoners themselves who had refused, in spite of encouragement, to listen. At best, this sort of thing can never be entirely free of fear on the part of the prisoners. They must always wonder whether if they show interest one way or another they will not be caught in a trap for they have been through so much and are so accustomed to be wary of captors.
On Saturday at Hyde Park I went to see the picture called "The Robe." This photography is better than what I have seen before but I cannot help feeling that the book gave one many things that the picture, for obvious reasons, cannot convey. On the other hand, I suppose there are advantages to looking at people and seeing their expressions. This is a well-acted film and some of the faces were most interesting.
There were a great many children in the audience and I wondered how much the film really meant to them. When you think of it, it is extraordinary that this little band of devoted people who believed in the Carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth, have managed to convince so many others of their own conviction through the passage of the centuries.
All the disciples died as martyrs except St. John, who had been exiled to the island of Patros rather early in his life. He therefore died a natural death even though he had gone on with his teaching and writing. But in spite of martyrdom and death which might have suppressed the idea of Christianity, it has grown actually because of oppression and people have gone gladly to their death because of their beliefs. This is certainly a proof that ideas and spiritual beliefs cannot be destroyed by any material power.