“Anne Frank Today is a Syrian Girl”

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Anne Frank side-by-side with Rouwaida Hanoun, a Syrian 5-year-old wounded last week. (Getty Images)

I love how literature stirs the imagination, takes us to Fairy Land, Camelot, Narnia, Middle Earth, and beyond. And based on my own worldview, I don’t see these motifs as escapism but actually congruous with my own beliefs in a way (another discussion). Nevertheless, literature is also supposed to keep us right where we are  open our eyes to the harsh realities around us that we miss. For a long time I have been moved by WWII literature though I have yet to read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

A NY Times op-ed piece published yesterday by Nicholas Kristof entitled “Anne Frank Today is a Syrian Girl” is a poignant reminder that “History rhymes.” There is a world crisis  happening right now, but too often I’m stuck in the past reading about how horrific life once was. Kristof cites some of the fears for aiding or sheltering refugees, national security being chief among them. He attempts to abet those fears, but I think some of us need to rise above even that and understand that risk should not prevent aid.

Some day there will be new literature with the Syrian Refugee Crisis as its setting. Will I be able to say that I was part of the solution or part of the apathy?  Right now, regrettably, I’d have to say the latter.

HERE is a link with a list of organizations you can support. Let’s do something. Myself included. Oh, and if you haven’t already, check out this powerful video at the bottom.

[Teacher’s note: I thought this post might be especially helpful as a tie-in to current events when teaching material such as the Holocaust or Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel, etc.] 

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