“Anne Frank Today is a Syrian Girl”

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.] 



  1. Mariela Magana says:

    I think it is sad that history is being lived again but in other times. It is sad that even with the past, humanity has not learned that violence is not the answer. Also, everyone can help to make a change. Starting with prayers and marking a difference from where we live, can help make a change in the world and those people’s lives.

    Mariela Magaña 11 A

    1. calebjwestbrook says:

      You’re right; it IS sad! Thanks for commenting. (+2)

  2. Diego says:

    It’s sad these events are happening more often nowadays….

    11B #7

    1. calebjwestbrook says:

      Yes it is. Thanks for commenting! (+2)

  3. Gabriela Figueroa 12th A says:

    My word in here is that indeed, this story is sad. Even though we cannot feel what those people are feeling, through prayer and donations we can brighten up their days. Moreover, the lack of God in people who try to hurt others is unbelievable. Instead of grieving with them, we should ask God for mercy and forgiveness.

    1. calebjwestbrook says:

      Thanks for commenting. Yeah, when I read the article for the first time, it really made me think. (+2)

  4. 12A says:

    It is a really sad story because the way people and specially kids are suffering from the sin of mankind. As someone said we can’t feel what they’re feeling, we can just imagine. In this case, imagination is still short in comparison of what they’re actually living. The only thing we can ask is God’s help, mercy and love in their life.
    12A, #2

    1. calebjwestbrook says:

      Thanks for commenting. I agree; I was very moved by the article and this situation. (+2)

  5. swandrh says:

    Sad but true, good written blog

    Please check out mine I’m new. Thanks

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