Thursday, February 15, 2007

Unanswered Questions

Our daughter L, the former middle-child until we had number 4, has a project due later this month for school. She has to give an oral report on someone that made a contribution that changed the world.

The project is fairly straight-forward, but still overwhelming to an 11 year old. Decide on your person and their contribution, get it approved by the teacher (the letter home to parents urged them to make sure their children did not pick football stars or American Idol winners), come up with 3-4 different sources (letter said they cant all be from the internet), and address 4 core questions.

The questions are: Who is the person (include detailed biographical information), what was their contribution, how did the it come to be and come to be known, and how did it change the world.

L chose Anne Frank. She read her diary/book, researched her on the internet, and we rented the movie “Anne Frank: The Whole Story”. We decided to watch it as a family for movie night, and settled in to experience the 3 hour saga.

It was interesting to see the entire family engaged- even our 5 and 8 year old girls. The film is very well done, and the girl that portrays Anne Frank, Hannah Taylor-Gordon, did a wonderful job. L completely identified with her- she bears more than a slight resemblance to Hannah as well as Anne Frank (I guess that makes sense), is about the same age, and enjoys reading, art and stories. She was literally pulled into the film, and I observed her living it.

Because of the length of the film, we had to end it with about an hour to go, right after the Frank family was discovered and arrested. The tension was intense, and L was upset and heart-broken. She was actually weeping and Michelle and I had to comfort her for some time when we tucked her in. She was scared, angry, confused. How could this be happening? Why would anyone want to hurt Anne and her family? She could not grasp the evil that was not yet seen. She could feel it though. Sense it- cold, deep and approaching. She knew it was there. She knew the ending of the story, and that added to the fear.

The next night we finished the movie. L was not as emotional as the night before. There was a rhythm to the final hour that could be understood- the evil was known now, the end is near, the things that L could identify with (beauty, art, friends, family, security) were long gone. All that was left was death, destruction, and then the victory of Anne’s contribution to the world being discovered. And then life once again.

Bedtime was filled with questions and conversation. Why would Adolph Hitler do what he did? Why did the soldiers follow his orders? Why did that lady call the police about Anne Frank’s hiding place? Why didn’t the German people do anything to stop it? Why didn’t the United States do something faster to help all those people? Why do some people hate Jews? Why would God let something like that happen? Are there any more people like Hitler or the Nazis that are alive now?

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Liza on Maui said...

we'll have to check that movie out. sounds interestingly good.

DigitalRich said...

I thought I might give short versions of the answers to the questions at the bottom of the post:

1. He loved himself above all others.

2. Because every man, woman and child is hard-wired to believe in God, and Hitler was theirs.

3. Because she sought acceptance and praise from those in power for personal gain and glory.

4. Because most of them believed Hitler was the messiah. Many of those that didn’t were too afraid to stand up for what was right.

5. Because there were too many people in the US then, just like now, that didn’t believe there are some things worth fighting and dying for. And those that do, are constantly being held back and attacked by those that don't in the name of “peace” (…What we need to do is dialogue with them…we just need to talk…we need to try diplomatic measures…I’m sure we can work it all out…Can’t we all just get along?...).

6. Because they are seeking something or someone beyond themselves to blame for their own failings, ignorance and stupidity.

7. I don't know.

8. Yes.

Christa said...

I love your answers to those questions. This is an excellent movie, and I think it's great your family watched it. It's good for all of us to remember what hatred can do, and that we need to fight for things that are just.

Liza on Maui said...

I found this today and thought you and your girls will find this musing interesting:

Anonymous said...

I think you answered those questions very well. I think it is important for kids to learn about the evils of the past so that past is not repeated. The Anne Frank is a wonderful way to teach children about the evils that happened, but also how much a child can offer to the world.

Here via the carnival of family life.

Samantha said...

You did a wonderful job answering those questions. It's great that she chose Anne Frank...When I read that book, I felt like I related to her too :) Here via CFL :)

Anonymous said...

Whay a powerful and memorable experience for your daughter. She is lucky to have been able to talk to you about it.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

What with the closing of the United States borders, the elimination of habeas corpus, and the Supreme court almost completely filled with regime-placed puppets, something like this could very well happen in our own country. I'm sure muslims would be the first rounded up under martial law.

DigitalRich said...

While that is a very interesting thought, I would like to point out a few problems, in my humble opinion, with your assertion.

1. The US borders are not secure. I wish they were. And if they were, what would be the problem with that? For over 10,000 years, all people in all cultures have valued security within their territory, and that always, always, always starts with a secure border.

2. Habeaus Corpus has not been eliminated for US citizens, and is not suspended anywhere on US soil. I assume you are referring to Guantanamo Bay, where ‘enemy combatants’ are being held. In that case, I will concur with you that HC is suspended for those enemies of the US that seek to destroy us, and it is being suspended by US citizens against non-US citizens.

3. The Supreme Court is not filled with regime puppets. They regularly and blatantly disagree with anyone they darn well choose with almost every decision they make.

4. Something like what happened to Anne Frank could not very well happen in our country. That is why so many people are desperate to get INTO our country.

Perhaps the biggest problem I see in your assertion is that you are comparing something that DID happen (Nazi persecution of the Jews, Christians, Muslins and almost everyone else, the murder of over 6 million people including Anne Frank), with what has NOT happened, but you worry will (the rounding up of Muslims). The fear or worry of one person, or a thousand, about something that has not happened and will not happen, cannot be compared to an event that HAS taken place, and is a real part of history. Again, in my opinion.

In any case- I sure am thankful you stopped by and commented- thanks!


Rockin' Hejabi said...

Whoa, I am not in ANY way trying to belittle or diminish the terrors of the Holocaust or the tragedy of Anne Frank.

I'm merely taking what other people in pretty mainstream forums are already saying and going one step further.

Read this Daily Kos diary and think about it for yourself.


DigitalRich said...

Cool- understand. Thanks RH.

Jen @ de Jong Dream House said...

Hey Rich, I remember being fascinated by the holocaust in high school. I was overwhelmed by the horror of it, and it was the first time I really wrestled with the reality of evil in the world.

I married a Dutch man. Our engagement was part of a mini-European tour. We spent a day in Amsterdam and I was able to see Anne Frank's house. Seeing that historic place brought back all those feelings. I am so glad that the Dutch government continues to protect her home so we never forget.