Thursday, 26 August 2010

Anne Frank's Diary: The Afterthoughts

And the 2nd Post of the day is here!

I have just finished reading Anne Franks' "The Diary of a Young Girl"!

Trust me, it's a good read. Few books are able to actually inspire me more than this diary does, so I've decided to honor the book with a full-blown, rather lengthy review :)

To be completely honest, the first 50 pages of the diary bored me a little, since the first few entries were written when Anne Frank was yet to achieve the degree of emotional maturity, which would eventually give birth to a mind-blowing, philosophical read in the later entries of the diary. The diary was a witness of the girl's metamorphosis from an immature (and cheeky) yet innocent child who was simply a victim of the cruelty out of her cerebral reach into a full-blown humanist who viewed the world from a unique, revolutionary and decidedly rebellious angle. She painted the 'Secret Annexe'; which was the oasis of relative safety compared to the harsh WW2 environment of atrocity, which was the reality of the world outside the annex, very vividly with the detailed and at times, banal-sounding descriptions of their daily routines in hiding. While the banality of their daily routines is truly understandable, given the lives of secrecy they were living in hiding, this certainly didn't bar Anne from building her own world, which was even more liberating than the world outside where she could have been enjoying the warm, pleasant 1943 summer with the other teens her age, for example. She turned the seemingly-disastrous fate that the family had to live with in hiding into an opportunity for her inner emancipation from the common reality that plagued the other girls her age. While she herself lamented the pain of living in hiding, she spread her wing, fluttered, and eventually out-mature the adults who also sought refuge there. This, however, was not something that even her parents understood, and their view of Anne as a 'child', hence her deserving a treatment fitting for a child frustrated her greatly and caused her emotional pain. Interestingly, this very situation can also be applied to the way kids are raised nowadays. Does the current inertial education system, which advocates nearly 'universal' uniformity actually consider the differing level of maturity that the Annes of the world possess? Anne's refusal (and difficulty) to follow the way other girls her age in their behavior and outlook led to her being considered as the 'spoiled brat' of the Annexe, while the more conventionally-likable, less-rebellious Margot, was held as an example by her parents for her to emulate.

While the diary is full of the direct, dark and haunting descriptions of the daily chores that the Secret Annexe dwellers underwent, it is beaming with Anne's aspiration for the future. She, like the other girls her age, had a big dream of making difference to the world. Her favored way of achieving this was unconventional, however. She aimed to achieve this through her writing. She also painted the picture of gloom and melancholy, which were characteristic of the lives of the other Jewish 'outcasts' in hiding in a very optimistic manner. She wrote; "I want to be useful or give pleasure to people around me who yet don't really know me. I want to go on living even after my death!", and this was spot-on. The diary has truly become an embodiment of the suffering of the six million Jews and even the Gypsies of Europe who died out of human's bigotry and ignorance. While Hitler's Mein Kampf laid the foundation towards the the subsequent efforts to annihilate the Jews of the world, Anne's diary, which was actually intended as her "...great support of comfort and support" prevailed as a testament of human's capability of not only to survive, but to not die before their time. This serves as a classic example of the prevailing of good versus evil; the evil nature of human beings may result in all kinds of destruction, but it will never kill the inner spirit of faith and goodness that make human race special. This gives me hope that the current situation inflicting the people of the world will eventually end, and the good will surely reign supreme.

With this in mind, I truly hope that the oppressed in today's world (including the blockaded Gazans and displaced Palestinians who are currently in their millions, the substantial group of innocent Israelis who are the victim of the possible political greed and deception of those in power, the famished victims of the African still-existent Kleptocracies, and the list can go on forever) can be inspired to wade through their sufferings with a fresh spark of inner hope and courage. The world should also learn a lesson from Holocaust to simply get away with bigotry and racism, as these are the elements that are able to strip humans off their dignity and humanistic spirit. Who, in their right mind, would condone the massacre of millions of innocent lives? Don't forget that massacres still happened in parts of the world even after the Holocaust ended. Millions more collectively died in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, to name a few. The waves of Islamophobia in the West and anti-Semitism in the Muslim countries just act as an ominous sign of the possibility of another atrocity of even bigger scale to happen in the future. When will people understand that not all Muslims are terrorists and not all Jews are actually involved in persecuting the Palestinians? Why can't we categorize humans as good/evil, and ignore the other classical classifications of people in accordance to their racial and religious background?

While many people blame religions as the main reason for the calamities we're experiencing in the world today, I believe that ignorance is the main element that that drives human civilizations on the path of self-destruction. There's this excellent piece that Anne Frank wrote a month prior to her capture and subsequent deportation to the 'Death Camp',

"People who are religious should be glad, since not everyone is blessed with the ability to believe in a higher order. You don't even have to live in fear if eternal punishment; the concept of purgatory, heaven and hell are difficult for many people to accept, yet religion itself, any religion, keeps a person on a right path. Not the fear of God, but upholding your own sense of honour and self-conscience. How noble and good everyone could be if, at the end of each day, they were to review their own behavior and weigh up the rights and wrongs. They would automatically try to do better at the start of each new day and, after a while, would certainly accomplish a great deal. Everyone is welcome to this prescription; it costs nothing and is definitely useful."

None of the Annexe occupants but Otto Frank (Anne's father) survived the war.

Millions are suffering today, and the cause of their misfortune is similar to Anne's; ignorance and bigotry.

Faizal Hamssin


aleen said...

Ive been looking for this book all over the place (and yes i know, mph ade) but can't seem to find enough space and time to buy it!
nak pinjammmmmmmmmmmmmm

Faizal Hamssin said...

leensyyyyy! of course i have. it's a good read lah, so i really recommend you buying it! tak rugi okayyy hehe
if we were to have an ib reunion next time and i happened to see you there nanti i bagi pinjam okay!
anyway, are we gonna be on the same obs slot? (10-16th dec)