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A Reaction Paper on The Diary of Anne Frank

A Reaction Paper on The Diary of Anne Frank
In one of her early entries in her diary, Anne Frank quoted a saying, “Paper is more patient than man.”
And as I concluded my reading of her diary, I found myself completely agreeing to that very saying.
The two years of Anne’s young life told in a diary was very rich and beautifully written that it is as if you
are her very diary, which was not only a paper to her but more like a very dear friend – a great source of
comfort and support. To me, the friendship they had was the best Anne could ever have, holocaust or
not. She was a creative, bold, opinionated, and ambitious teenager. I think these qualities made her
keep the faith, hope and love in the midst of hate. God is listening, she believed.
Anne was just one of the one and a half million children murdered in the genocide. Her diary opened our
eyes and hearts to the dilemma of the Jews at the time. Firsthand narrative of the Jewish horrific
experience was beyond me before reading of Anne’s diary. Goosebumps after goosebumps, it came to
me how her story, unlike the others, didn’t get lost among the millions Jewish stories. Hers stayed adrift.
Her story, her short life stirs you to look into humanity from the inside out. It makes you ask yourself
from within – how is it to be human and then how are we being human today.
Necessarily, to be human is to be able to exercise rights innate to us simply because we are humans.
Notable Filipino author on Human Rights Law, Rene V. Sarmiento, quoted French Philosopher Jean
Jacques Maritain stressing in his book “The Rights of Man” that “the human person possesses rights
because of the very fact that it is a person, a whole, master of itself, and of its acts, and which
consequently is not merely a means to an end, but an end which must be treated as such.”
At least 5.5 millions Jews and millions of other victims were stripped of their humanity during the Nazi
regime. Adolf Hitler and his followers deemed the Jews subhumans or socially undesirable. What started
with a simple boycott of Jewish shops escalated to death from starvation, disease or from being gassed
in chambers or while working as slave laborers. Then came liberty. Nazi’s horrendous glory ended after
12 long years. So yes, Anne’s hopes were right, “God listens to Jews.”
The horrors of the holocaust greatly impacted the development of human rights frameworks after the
World War II. Nations pledged, “Never again.”
Nowadays, we purport to celebrate the existence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In it, we
are guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and security; freedom from slavery and servitude; freedom from
torture and inhuman treatment or punishment; the right to recognition as a person before the law;
freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile; the right to equal protection of the law; the right to an
effective remedy; the right to a fair trial; the right to privacy; freedom of movement and residence; the
right to nationality; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of opinion and expression;
freedom of assembly and association; the right to property; the right to participate in government, etc.
The holocaust was unprecedented in the history of man. Looking back, it remains to be appalling. The
inhumanness of it all continues to haunt us. We see the ghost of the holocaust in the plight of the
Palestinians, Syrians, Rohingyas, and Chinese Muslims among others being deprived of their basic
human rights. It seems that we have not learned well from the lessons of the holocaust. We are still at
lost on finding comfort and support simply from our being human.
Anne’s life was short and her story remains to be poignant up until these days. Perhaps Anne was right
for believing that paper is more patient than man. We may have done the ‘paperworks,’ even made
progress, but we still falter on the implementation.