The first time I learned about you was in secondary school in one of the history lessons when my teacher talked about a ruthless man called Adolf Hitler who killed millions of innocent humans. For some reason, even as a thirteen-year-old, those words such as ‘the holocaust’ and ‘concentration camps’ stuck with me. In the years to come, I would spend hours looking up about the horrific treatment of innocent souls in those dreadful concentration camps.
I have always looked up to you. You had the courage not only to live during those horrid times but yet trying to find peace in life by penning your emotions to an inanimate object – your diary, your birthday gift. You risked your life every day to document what you went through so that several hundreds of years later kids could learn about it and realise how barbaric it is to even think about inflicting pain on a fellow being.
Years later, I had the chance to visit your hiding place where you had to spend two years of your childhood years since your 13th birthday. You had to spend those days living in a small enclosed space, fearing for you and your family’s life every single second.
You did not deserve it. You did not deserve to have had to give up the simple joys of your life. No, you deserved a happy life where you would be able to bike around your favorite streets, go out for a walk with that neighborhood crush of yours, go to a classroom filled with your best friends, and make fun of each other. Even after reading so much about those times, and watching the several movies that came later on based on those years, I still cannot imagine even half of the suffering that you and your people had to go through.
And now, as I walked through those narrow passages and catching a glimpse of how those years have been, I cannot help but have a feeling of immense sorrow. Yes, I feel sad that you had to go through it all, but there was one thing that made it even worse.
My dear Anne, I am sorry to say this, but despite your best efforts, we have failed you time and time again. It hurts me to say this, but your notes have gone in vain. Do you know why? Because what had happened then, has happened again and is still happening. And did we do anything different each time? No, we watched. We simply watched in silence.
I watch on my little screen, lying on my comfortable bed with warm blankets on me, videos of little kids being ruthlessly murdered. Murdered in ways that one cannot even begin to comprehend in their minds. Do those kids deserve it? Did they deserve to die before they even knew what happiness was? Did they deserve to die before they could even see the colours of this beautiful world? No, definitely not! They were all precious little souls!
Some days I feel helpless, knowing that there is not much I can do to stop it;
Some days I feel guilty, am I even worthy to have this good life?;
Some days I feel blessed, that I do not have to worry about the death of loved ones every second of my life;
Some days I feel useless, for I do nothing but watch from a safe place;
Some days I feel angry, that the people who could actually do something about it, turn a blind eye;
But on the day that I visited your hiding place, I felt blank.
I left the place with a heavy heart. And you know why?
Because I knew then that, we have failed you.
We have failed you and several other brave souls throughout the history of time, who had risked everything that had to try and put across a simple message. They might have done that in their own different ways but it has always been the same message;
Every life matters. Every single one of them.
My dear girl, I wish we were half as brave as you. I wish we could be half as empathetic as you so we could fight for the existence of our fellow beings. Sometimes I wonder, what is worse -losing your life in a second or the fate of having to constantly live in fear of death?