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Doesn’t see a need to hear about Anne Frank’s diary

| 16/02/2017 | 50 Comments

Who selects the speakers and why do they focus mostly on violence? Are there guidelines for what is appropriate and what is not when it comes to children? Why mess up children’s minds with horrors of violence? Anne Frank’s diary had been exploited and overused. No offence, but reliving a tragedy is not beneficial for anyone’s mind, especially children’s.


Auntie’s answer: This question was prompted by the news of the upcoming visit of Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor who was Anne Frank’s childhood friend, who will be speaking at a free event here in March (see Holocaust survivor to share memories of Anne Frank).

I will start with the first part of your query because I have a lot to say about the rest of your questions and comments. People in Cayman are lucky that our tiny home can attract a wide range of interesting individuals, many of them famous, to talk at various events, seminars and conferences, some private but others open to the public.

I cannot comment on why speakers are chosen; that is up to the organisers of all the different events. I am sure, though, that they look for dynamic, interesting, relevant people to talk. I also do not agree that the speakers “focus mostly on violence”. Here are a few of the guests who have spoken at various events in Cayman over the years: Former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, comedian Jay Leno, and actors Al Pacino and Jamie Lee Curtis. And, yes, there have also been a former US Navy SEAL and a kidnapping victim who have addressed audiences here.

I will add that most of those events were not open to children; they were conferences or functions for adults, so I do not think any guidelines for speakers are necessary. There would not be any “children’s minds” present to “mess up”.

Which leads me to your assessment of the benefits, or lack thereof, of “reliving a tragedy”, followed by you calling Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl  “exploited and overused”.

Well, you may have said “no offence”, but I happen to take great offence at your words.

Perhaps dwelling on a personal tragedy that affects one’s ability to get on with his or her life is not beneficial; I will grant you that.

But we are talking about Anne Frank and the Holocaust. We are talking about the murder of 6 million Jews plus millions more based on their ethnicity and religion, among other classifications. We are talking about being forced into concentration camps and facing horrors that those of us who did not experience it can barely understand.

This is something we definitely need to relive. There is a quote that I think most people would be familiar with: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And, that could not be more appropriate in the context of the Holocaust.

Or to put it simply, as seen on a handmade sign put up by prisoners after the Buchenwald concentration camp had been liberated by US forces, and a rallying cry forever after: “Never again”.

Having said all that, and despite the tragedy of Anne Frank and Eva Schloss’ own personal unimaginable nightmare of surviving life in a concentration camp, she spreads a message of hope, an ultimately uplifting affirmation of life. The woman is 87 years old, yet travels the world to tell her story of incredible resilience in the face of adversity.

By the way, I want you also to appreciate that these stories are universal. Nelson Mandela spoke of how he and some of his fellow prisoners at Robben Island read The Diary of a Young Girl for inspiration.

But to make sure you completely understand what I am saying: Anne Frank’s diary was, is and will always be an important chronicle of a time that must never be forgotten, which is why schools must continue to keep it on their reading lists for our children (yes, children) to read.

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (50)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is a simple solution for people like the one who doesn't want to hear about Anne Frank's diary.

    Don't go to the lecture. Just like if you don't approve of what's being shown at the movies: don't go. Or if you don't like or approve of certain TV shows: don't watch them.

    It's all about choices: not all about you.

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  2. L.Bell says:

    @Anonymous
    22/02/2017 at 1:33 am
    I'm glad that my "asinine" question was published by Auntie, as Compass had refused to do so. However, you might want to know that only part of my actual question was published, which created misunderstanding of, as you said, "my own propaganda and agenda " by so many readers. The unexpected direction of the discussion took me by surprise. Nevertheless I have read all comments, some with interest some with amusement, some with bewilderment, as all added a bit to the debate.
    "perhaps you will understand the vitriol that you received in the responses" you said. What I understood from your comments is that some people use any online discussion as "a platform" for venting out some deep seated issues, such as anger for example.
    Unmeasured vituperation damages online discussions. Nothing is gained by creating a hostile environment. It deprives you an opportunity to hear an argument. Pausing and reflecting before trashing someone who might be a good person is, in my opinion, a good idea.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    To the OP. Years ago in a previous life in another country I used to deal almost weekly with a little old lady in my bank. She was, to be fair, hard work but over time we got chatting and became quite friendly. The day she rolled up her sleeve and showed me the concentration camp tattoo number on her wrist was a day I won't forget. So forgive me if I think your post should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I would rather we forgot the modern propaganda machine used by the evil right wing Israeli government who use the holocaust as a springboard to equate any criticism of that horrific regime with antisemitism.

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    • AlanP says:

      @8:37 pm
      what does your comment have to do with the question? Someone had rightfully noticed in his comment: "never forget" vs. "never remember"

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Well said Auntie!! I love this column so much.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Interesting point and lively debate.

    Although one cannot escape the regional irony of the embrace of "never forget" as we appear to "never remember" our own far more bloody, prolonged and consequential volume of human degredation.

    - Who

    *However, maybe the fact that Anne Frank's sect of people benefitted so greatly therefrom speaks to the modern disparity in the acknowledged merits of either issue.

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    • Diogenes says:

      WTF.. Anne Frank's "sect of people"? Benefited? How exactly did 6 million Jews getting exterminated benefit any of them? I hadn't realised your anti colonialism extended to anti seminism. Ironic - you have something in common with the KKK.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Just writing a similar reply. I actually think the original remark should be flagged as it is clearly racist and inappropriate. Deeply unpleasant person.

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        • Anonymous says:

          And you are clearly misunderstanding the original remark ... or perhaps simply yet another miseducated individual as it concerns the referenced issue(s).

          - Who

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        • Anonymous says:

          This post shows how the brainwashing of many has led to the fettering of genuine free speech, and attitude that Netanyahu uses to maintain international division to the oppression of the Palestinians.

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      • Anonymous says:

        They did get a country out of it and apparently they got the right to treat everyone unfortunate enough to live next to that country like dirt ever after.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Dear Diogenes,

        Please try again. I know you are better than this.

        Regards,

        - Who

        *Although, I do sympathise as my referenced issues and facts are almost never included in the general script of education and "history". I am sure you are not alone in your confusion and objection by way of ignorance.

        However and as always, it is what it is.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Can you please explain how the Caribbean experience could possibly be considered to be "far more bloody....and consequential" than The Holocaust - a period of history that saw the interment of over 11 million people and the extermination of 6 million Jews?? Your pseudo-academic Troll comments and anti-Semitic rant in your last sentence merely serve to undermine said lively debate

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      • Anonymous says:

        (The ignorance is humid and stifling in this room today.)

        I refuse to elaborate any further on my points. Simply because the relevant information exists for those that truly seek enlightenment.
        One must only be brave enough to the confront the miseducation of their strategically indoctrinated minds.

        Lastly, your slurs and accusations against me are ineffective and erroneous. Actual history is never biased or prejudiced. It simply was what it was.

        - Who

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  6. Auntie
    The question that was posed to you raises so many issues that it's hard to know where to start. The Holocaust is not some awful, unfortunate outcropping of violence that might have been addressed/resolved by a set of policies or laws at a particular place and time, that might have halted the deterioration of social and legal norms. It is not, for instance, something like we might see in, say, the US city of Chicago.
    The Holocaust was a federally mandated, conceived and administered program to exterminate an entire class of people – the Jews -- based on religious belief. This program extended across roughly 15 years, driven by a government bureaucracy specifically appointed to devise and operate the plan, which, in its turn, was conceived and driven by a single man. Maps of Europe display well more than 100 camps across Germany and Eastern Europe dedicated to not only the internment of the Jews, but their enslavement, forced labor and extermination. The camps were created after the Nazi regime was overwhelmed by deporting to Eastern Europe – Poland, chiefly -- 11.3 million Jews from across Europe (France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Croatia ... the list goes on).
    You see, the Nazis had originally set out to shoot every Jew on the continent, leaving behind, in Russia and the Ukraine in particular, entire forests of human slaughter. The task proved so immense, however, that the military couldn't keep up. They convened a conference in which they decided on the “Final Solution,” a network of death camps – and the transport systems and methods of industrial murder to expedite the process.
    That physical description, however, does not entirely address the question posed to Auntie. The Holocaust had a profound impact on the very conception of God, driving an entire school of thought called “Holocaust Theology.” It asks, in brief, how God, if He exists, could permit an action, a consummate evil so prolonged, so monstrous, so beyond imagination, to occur.
    I hasten to add that this question is not simply a restatement of the typical schoolroom challenge: If God is good, how can evil exist? The Holocaust raises a fundamental challenge to the existence of God. What must the implications be of the targeted, single-minded annihilation of 6 million Jews? What hath “God” wrought? Why? The destruction of an entire people – based on their religious affiliation -- is far greater than happenstance; far more than “tragedy.” It assumes proportions so immense that the questions raised by “Holocaust Theology” have no satisfactory response.
    The suffering has never stopped. It passes across generations.
    “Holocaust survivors,” of course, were those who emerged from the death camps, and have faced desperate recesses of guilt and bewilderment, wondering why their lives were spared and 6 million others were not. The children of survivors inhabit their own agony. The children of those who did not survive contemplate the deaths of parents, grandparents, uncles/aunts, entire families.
    We see today even geopolitical consequences of The Holocaust. The creation of Zionism, the state of Israel, government policies -- particularly in Germany and the US – and networks of modern institutions, both public and private, involved with forming, advising, pondering the complexities of Middle East politics.
    A last note, in our Caribbean context, might help address the question originally posed to Auntie: Should we avoid pondering the terrible questions of violence and suffering imposed on so many people by slavery? Should children be steered away from learning about an evil that once infected their own communities?
    A mature understanding of a wildly divergent world, in 2017 and beyond, relies on an understanding of The Holocaust.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, yes, the holocaust was bad. Lots of bad things have happened at the behest of governments. But the past is being used to maintain oppression in the present. I would rather school children learned about the mistreatment today in Palestine, the state sponsored theft of homelands by Israeli settlements and the deliberate abuse of media by the government that perpetrates such evil.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I was also greatly offended reading this question. Thank you Auntie for the perfect response. It was noted that history books are changing black slaves to black workers. Really?!? When will the alternate facts stop?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Then you are snowflake that is offended too easily.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I am not the poster you responded to, and I can't say I'm familiar with the saying about the snowflake. However, I do agree that people are much too fragile in this day and age. What ever happened to "telling it like it is" (within reason, of course)? Politically correct verbiage has gotten out of control to the extent that "freedom of speech" is no longer a right.

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  8. L.Bell says:

    United we stand? Are we? From bizarre to hatred filled, the comments clearly demonstrate we tolerate only one point of view which is always "MINE".

    Faceless and nameless comments completely missed the point of the question to Auntie.

    Not even one word on my 1:12 pm comment. Saving the world is easy, saving just one child living next door to you is a different story.

    By the way, I did walk the Buchenwald memorial grounds. But this has nothing to do with this discussion. It is not about the invited speaker or the story behind it. But many had an opportunity to turn it into people and religions intolerance. Where did this came from?

    It seems impossible to have an opinion here and few understand that we all hold different perspectives that justify our believes and that is how it was meant to be.

    If I lived your life, saw what you saw, believed in what you believed, I will be doing and saying exactly what you are doing and saying. And vice versa.

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    • Anonymouse says:

      Not one response to your comment of 1:12 pm? Guess you can't see comments that you don't want to answer then. I assure you someone responded - check again. You're not the only person in the world to worry about Caymanian children currrently suffering, but by your tone of triumph I suspect you're using them to win your internet battle rather than to actually do much to help them. Don't worry, although you can only worry about one problem affecting children at a time other people, and other children, have the capacity for compassion and empathy to absolve you of needing to pretend to care. Those of us who actually care will continue to do so, and will help all suffering children to the best of our abilities. And those, like Anne, who can no longer be helped, we will do our best not to forget their memories so that their suffering will not have been in vain.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The next stage will be "Why is my child reading?" and that way lies President Trump and Brexit.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Who on earth is this Anne Frank person?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, for God's sake.

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    • M Wilson says:

      Who the hell are you.. eeejit?

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    • Whatcha Say says:

      Obviously the education system has failed you miserably, as this story is/should be required reading for anyone who believes that racial/ethnic/religious discrimination and hatred has no place in the world today. That said, a religion that espouses genocide over another also gas no place in this world. As Auntie stated, "those who cannot or REFUSE to remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

      Now, either broaden your horizons, or take your head out of the sand (or wherever else it may be stuck) whichever applies!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    To the person who posted this question.

    Go stand at the gates of Auschwitz, visit Yad Vashem, meet Holocaust survivors, try living in Israel for a while then you'll get the answer. And before the anti-Semites start up I'm not a Jew - I was raised Protestant before choosing Atheism (the tolerant version) over 50 years ago so if I can understand the need for this I'm sure you can, if you want to.

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  12. anon says:

    Auntie - you are a legend! More well informed smack-downs please 🙂

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Hate can metastasize and become systemic in a culture.

    Hatred of an individual or group begets hatred of others.

    Understanding the causes and consequences of hate may prevent a future genocide.

    "I DID NOT SAY ANYTHING AND THEY CAME FOR ME"

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Sadly the memories of the horrors of the Nazis are being manipulated by Netanyahu and his extreme nationalists to equate criticisms of the evil activities of Israel in the continued persecution of the Palestinians and the extension of settlements and land theft with anti-Semitism which is a disgrace.

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  15. LM says:

    Well said Auntie!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Everything that Aunty and everyone else said

    More than ever we need to be accepting and tolerant of other people, especially if they are different from us. We have so much to be thankful and grateful for. You just cannot ignore the tragedies and horrors of the past and pretend they didn't happen. Everyone has a story to tell and we all need to listen.

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  17. DIARY'S a FAKE... says:

    It's been proven that Anne Frank Diary's a FAKE, so why bother with the enduring SCAM?...

    http://nationalvanguard.org/2015/01/anne-frank-hoax-exposed/

    http://www.annefrank.org/ImageVaultFiles/id_14671/cf_21/tenquestions_en.PDF

    Why not discuss instead the stealing of Palestinian land and the endless murders of Palestinian women and children by the Zionists?...

    http://ifamericansknew.org/images/FourMaps.jpg

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear God we have a certified fascist lunatic in our midst.

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  18. L.Bell says:

    How about unimaginable nightmare of surviving life in your own family where your cousins, brothers, fathers, uncles and grandpas are sexual predators and your mothers, churches, government officials, the police, and judicial system look the other way? The prison little girls in this country can't escape.
    9.56am and others:
    My question to Auntie has absolutely nothing to do with the invited speaker or Anne's Frank diary.
    I recommend " Pull your head out of the sand and leave the little bubble you obviously live in." and make a difference in a real, living and breathing child's life living next door to you.

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    • Anonymouse says:

      You know it is possible to be concerned about more than one thing at a time. People are capable of being concerned about the current suffering of little girls and boys right now, and reading life stories of how other children in other situations dealt with other kinds of suffering.

      I am curious though. You have clearly read the diary of Anne Frank and learned from it. You have apparently decided that you are the Cayman expert on when children should learn about it. Okay then, I'll bite. What are your qualifications? What makes you an expert in this field? What backs up your assertions that children - Anne's age, I presume - are too young to understand? What about the adults that are invited, should they not go? What about this lady, should she never speak again without your prior approval? What it is about her story particularly that in your expert experience is harmful to all people? Why was it okay for Anne and all other children to go through at the time but it is inappropriate for children to learn about now? Oh learned expert, should children only learn about your personal projects? Why?

      Who died and made you queen of Cayman? Elizabeth II still reigns, and even Elizabeth I had more sense than to try and dictate thought to this degree. Believe it or not, but children of all ages have more capacity than you apparently understand to learn about compassion, and empathy, and humour, and violence, and being scared, and hope, and that sometimes things aren't okay in the end. And that we are still living through history - Anne Frank may have died, but the people who knew her still live, if only for a short period. Her story even resonates with and helps some of those very children experiencing family violence and abuse that you're suddenly hiding behind.

      Oh, and don't complain about being lectured. You lost that right when you started lecturing people yourself. No offence.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    ". . .reliving a tragedy is not beneficial for anyone’s mind, especially children’s"

    Every weekend, thousands of people in Cayman (including children) sit on a hard seat and look at an image of extreme violence -- a man pinned to a cross, bleeding from his scalp and his side; and they listen to sermons threatening hell and damnation for anyone who doesn't believe in certain iron age myths.. My guess is the questioner is one of these people, and yet she's worried about the contents of Ann Frank's diary!

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  20. L.Bell says:

    @9.56 am
    Why don't you spare me the sermon?
    Where did you get that I have not traveled the world, lack world's history knowledge and intolerant to people? From my question? Or simply because my opinion is different from yours?

    The point of my question was that we are overexposed to world's tragedies, past and present, and children's mind especially can't cope well with it.

    "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". A catchy phrase. But if this was true, there would be no wars since the first recorded war took place in 1274 BC, the Battle of Kadesh. Wikipedia lists several hundreds wars since this first recorded war. The 20th century is described as the “bloodiest”, with an estimated 187 million deaths due to the various wars combined. WHY DO HUMAN BEINGS REPEAT ITS PAST if all it takes to remember it?
    Why after Mongol Conquests (1207 to 1472) that took 60,000,000 lives, WWI and WWII took place with estimated 100,000,000 deaths?

    I think Mark Twain (if he indeed said that) is more accurate: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

    I recommend that next speaker(s) would be young Dutch man Boyan Slat who works on methods of cleaning plastic waste from the oceans and or Laura Dekker who at the age of 13 had sailed around the world on her own.

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    • datadoc says:

      Then, as Auntie suggests, you should pay to bring your choice of speakers here. Cayman's Jewish community has paid for Eva Schloss to come here and they have very generously opened the event to everyone, free of charge. If you want Boyan Slat or Laura Dekker to come here, put your money where your mouth is. But please don't whine about how other people spend their time and money.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well, L.Bell. (Clears throat, prepares for sermon... oh wait, I'm not a priest or minister!) Funny that you take offense to my message. Something must have hit a nerve - perhaps it is worth investigating as to why.
      Thanks so much for your hostile reply. In the future, I'd suggest not throwing fuel on a fire, starting with your passive-aggressive question to Auntie. Frankly, your replies to any who have rightfully refuted your asinine question show that you aren't interested in the topic at hand, but are using it as a platform for your own propaganda and agenda (whatever that may be at the present time, because it seems to be a moving target).
      Of course I want to eradicate child molestation and paedophelia! I think that the people that harm children in any way should be taken to a firing squad and erased from the face of the earth. But your question to Auntie had absolutely NOTHING to do with this topic. I suggest you reread what you sent in as your question, and perhaps you will understand the vitriol that you received in the responses.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    With the latest developments not that far from these shores with walls to be built and illegal immigrants to be rounded up by National Guardsmen now more than ever before should the message of tolerance and acceptance be shouted from the rooftops. Never, ever again should be said and heard loud and clear.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Please what's on the news is just as graphic, next....

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  23. Anonymous says:

    My question to the person that sent this: how is the Diary of Anne Frank "exploited" and "overused"? I cannot fathom how someone can be so ignorant and heartless. If you have an issue with the speaker coming here, there is a simple solution: DO NOT ATTEND. Please enlighten us on how this personally affects you in your day to day (and obviously very simple minded) life.

    Auntie is completely right on with the quote, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". Look at the world today: there is increasing racial tension in the USA as well as discrimination because of religious faith towards muslims. In our own country, there is regular discrimination towards those that are LGBT, non-Christians, the handicapped, visitors, ex-pats, and many, many more. The constitution even allows for discrimination - this is a true tragedy. One of the main essentials in order to eliminate intolerance towards people that are different than you is EDUCATION and KNOWLEDGE - familiarizing yourself with other customs and cultures reduces the hesitation and fear towards the unknown, and increases the curiosity and acceptance. Without this, then hate and bigotry seeps through the community and chaos eventually ensues. So do yourself, and those like you, a gigantic favor. Pull your head out of the sand and leave the little bubble you obviously live in. Travel. Read about current and significant historical events. Pretending that oppression and suffering do not exist benefits no one - especially not "the children". Equality and freedom should never be taken for granted; all it takes for oppressors to take control is an uneducated population.

    “Knowledge, like air, is vital to life. Like air, no one should be denied it.”

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  24. A says:

    The person who felt the need to ask this question has an obvious axe to grind.

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    • frangipani says:

      the person who asked this question is obviously not so very well enlightened.
      this is history for Heaven's sake!

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Here here Aunty

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  26. Anonymous says:

    I read The Diary of Anne Frank as a child. It was one of the most important books to read. Every child should have to read it in school to assist in their development as compassionate human beings.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Best answer yet. No further comment needed here for the person with their head in the sand as usual.

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