Listen Up America!
In a little house in Amsterdam seven people huddled. They were afraid for their lives and indeed only one will survive. Anne Frank’s Jewish family was hiding from the Christian Nazis who hated them. They tried to get away. They applied for emigration status to both England and the United States of America, but in the 1940s America said no. They tried to hide in Amsterdam, but eventually were found and sent to concentration camps. Only the father survived. The rest were all killed.
When I was in fifth grade my class read The Diary of Anne Frank, and we all marveled at the shocking and vicious acts of Nazi Germany and we clucked our tongues and shook our heads at the silence of the rest of the world (we never admitted they were Christian or White Supremacists in those days). Our fifth grade class insisted that were WE to have been alive at that time, we would have stood up for what is right and human and good. We never would have allowed such horrors to occur.
Forty years later I see history repeating itself. Hatred is alive again and manifesting itself in hatred against Arab and Muslim peoples. I am horrified at the cheers to ‘deport all Syrians’ and the declarations by Governors (!) that THEY will not allow those Syrians (said as though they were subhuman) to enter their border.
Let me tell you about Syrians. I lived with them for over twenty years.
They have crystal chandeliers in their living room and they call it the ‘parlor’.
They wear pleats and jackets and ties.
Girls and boys graduate high-school at equal rates and girls are equally represented in STEM subjects in High School.
They love books and education.
They are entrepreneurs.
They get along with one another (before the war ethnicities and religions all got along and shared holidays, intermarried, worked and lived lovingly and productively together.)
They are resilient, proud, and smart.
They are generous, caring, and open-minded.
These are the people running, escaping, dying, crying, starving and praying that someone on this Earth will listen to any of the revelations of God and reach out a loving and helpful hand.
In 1941 the United States refused Anne Frank’s family a refuge and safety because they were Jewish. We promised it would never happen again. In 2015 let us welcome the Muslim Anne Franks and their families. Let us finally set hatred, racism and otherophobia aside. Let us embrace, love, and join hand in hand with those who are running from ISIS. We can fulfill our fifth grade promise to ourselves if we all recognize ISIS for what it is…the New Nazi party.