So today is the Dutch day for celebrating the liberation of the Netherlands from the Nazis in WW2. I feel like the UK doesn’t acknowledge the fact that a lot of mainland Europe suffered horrifically during world wars one and two, and I feel like we should. The Dutch were one of the first few nations to be annexed, and we all know what happened to Anne Frank. I read somewhere recently, and correct me if I’m wrong, that she applied to the United States to get a visa to leave the Netherlands. They denied it.
In the light of that, I just want to say that I don’t care where you’ve come from or where you lived before I met you. You’re a human being and if you are running away from something terrifying that’s happening in your country, you deserve safety and peace. The UK, USA and anywhere else that has the capability to welcome refugees and asylum seekers should do so.
Anne Frank did not want to leave her home. She was terrified and vulnerable when her family applied to live abroad. Likely, they would have had to grab what they could carry and run as fast as they could to get away. The same applies to anyone running away from war in Syria, Chechnya, Africa… They have lost everything and are desperate.
Some of the people who lost their lives in world war two were artists, philosophers, scientists, poets, engineers and playwrights. Some were elderly people who had every right to have a calm, quiet retirement, but were dragged onto a train to a death camp. Some were frightened children. They had the potential to be anything, but their young lives were snuffed out because of incredible racism and bigotry. Some people who died were disabled, some physically unable to fight back, others suffering from mental issues which made them unable to resist. Some were black or Romany, treated awfully and not given the human rights they deserved. The LGBT+ community suffered terribly too, losing their lives to the regime that claimed so many.
I’m writing this because it is clear to me that we are seeing this happening again. The USA elected an evil man, and Russia is sitting idly by as Chechnya kills its own people. Whilst the world’s richest sit on their wealth, Somalia faces famines. Children are ripped from everything they know in Syria, Palestine, the Congo, and trafficked, forced to be child soldiers, orphaned.
We cannot let this happen again.
We really have to include people who have made it out of those awful warzones, places where they had to leave high-paying jobs for menial shelf work in a country where people are discriminatory. We have to stand up for the Native American people, at Standing Rock and other sacred places. We have to call out white cops who kill black children. We have to talk to the lady in the hijab who takes the bus with us, to the old black lady who is lonely and wants a friend, to the kid in our class who is gay and not handling the rejection from his peers too well. We have to stop being bigoted, violent, ableist and racist…
Or the next history books our children’s children will read will be about how we had WW2 as an example of how NOT to act, yet we ignored it and sat idly by as people died and we decided it wasn’t out problem.
In school, I learned that war is ugly and it should teach us one thing:
If they come for your neighbour… You stand up and say no.
16 and 27.