- Posted August 12, 2014 by
Eshkol Region, Israel
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Anne Frank Died in WWII. She's not in Gaza
My name is Adele. I live in a kibbutz on the border with the Gaza Strip. We are hopefully drawing to a conclusion of this war, Operation Protective Edge. I have been here throughout the entire period, and experienced the war first hand - its effects on my community, my family, myself. I have written numerous iReports, and given frequent interviews, especially to foreign journalists, to try and explain what we, on our side have been living through.
No - it is not the vast destruction that is shown in Gaza. But war is not a ball game where people keep score of which side downed more structures or killed more people. In war, each side tries to do the best they can, in order to achieve their goals. The goals are not necessarily objective.Definition of those goals depends on which perspective you are looking from. Regardless of the goals and the perspective, there is much at stake in any war.
In one of my interviews, I had the extraordinary opportunity to be able to have a live discussion, hosted by Sky TV, with a very special young woman - Farah from Gaza. 16 year old Farah, with the huge eyes which have seen more than any 16 year-old should, lives not far from Shiba hospital, where her father is a surgeon. Her English is excellent, she has obviously been given the best her parents could provide for her education (privileged, certainly, compared to the vast majority of the children who live in Gaza). Throughout the war, this remarkable teen has communicated with the world, via Twitter, describing what she is experiencing, and witnessing, building a following of thousands around the world.
However one of the things she said in the discussion I had with her, really hit me in the solar plexus. She said that people have told her she is the Anne Frank of Gaza. It hit me because, regardless of the hardships to which she is bearing witness, it is just not true. It is a fantastic soundbyte - but completely off base.
Anne Frank, the teenager who kept a diary throughout her 26-month period of hiding during the Holocaust, was persecuted for being a Jew. She and her family fled to Amsterdam from Germany, in hopes that the Nazis,with their persecution and atrocities, would not pursue them there. Anne Frank, as the other Jews of the time, was forced to wear a yellow star that identified her as a Jew and an inferior, subhuman being. Her friends and family were hunted down, targeted regardless of their age, social standing or their political beliefs. Jews were forced to work in slave labor, and exterminated, like vermin. If they were not capable of fulfilling the slave-labor requirements, they were gassed, or shot, or experimented upon like laboratory mice.
Anne and her family hid for over two years, at peril of death unable to leave their hiding place, even approaching a window in the Secret Annex where they hid, could cost them all their lives. She and her family stayed in their self- inflicted prison, crucial for their survival, praying that they would not be discovered, protected as much as possible by individual non-Jewish friends. Anyone else who lived in the vicinity was an enemy, and if the Franks were discovered by a careless noise or movement of a curtain, Anne knew that she and her family would be slaughtered.
Farah, on the other hand, while she has been tragically caught up in a war, forced by circumstances to mature before her time, and aside from the fact that she fears to leave her house (for now), is keeping a diary of sorts via Twitter, of her experiences, there ends the comparison. She is not being persecuted or hunted for her beliefs.
The embargo on Gaza is there because Hamas is indeed a jihadist movement that is committed to war. Instead of bringing in essential goods and building an economy, Hamas brought in thousands of rockets and built a military fortress. Every online translator gives the same translation of the Hamas motto on their website: “This is Jihad - victory or martyrdom.”
Hamas must be willing to accept the international community’s reasonable demand to join negotiations for a peace treaty between Palestinians and Israelis. Hopefully, that will happen and would immediately bring an end to the embargo on Gaza. Farah (who HAS been outside Gaza a few times) will once again be able to travel abroad, study, become whatever she wishes. Possibly even come visit me on my kibbutz on the other side of the border, when peace comes! The world can potentially be her oyster.
Hopefully, this ceasefire will hold, the entities will continue their talks, and compromises will be made. Farah will then be able to walk out in the streets again without fear of the Israeli bombs (of course she will still probably have the reigning bullies Hamas who, if she dared to speak against them, could cause her and her family grief).
Farah: Anne Frank’s destiny is not your destiny. Anne died of typhus, in a concentration camp. You will continue your education, and be able to become whatever you want in life. With your intelligence and tenacity, you will doubtless, go far. You, and any other Gazan who is taking refuge these days are no Anne Frank. And we can all thank God / Allah/ whatever superior entity we believe in, for that. For you, and your Israeli counterparts on the other side of our border, are our hopes for the future.
P.S. You can see a recording of the dialog we had, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-iULNLSKzA#t=24