“Jews were required to do their shopping between 3 and 5 P.M.;
Jews were required to frequent only Jewish-owned barbershops and beauty parlors;
Jews were forbidden to be out on the streets between 8 P.M. and 6 A.M.;
Jews were forbidden to attend theaters, movies or any other forms of entertainment;
Jews were forbidden to use swimming pools…”
(Extract from the Anne Frank diary)
"Secret Annex" was the hideout of Anne Frank, her family and the Van Pels, these people hid for two years between 1942 and 1944 from the atrocities of the Nazi regime, in the last year a Jewish dentist joined. In the year of 1942, Anne received a diary as a gift from her parents, not knowing that a few weeks later their lives would change dramatically. "Secret Annex" represents the concealment of the fear of death, inequality, discrimination and social exclusion.
In her diary this little girl detailed every day of her confinement, she recorded her thoughts on her life, love, human relations, politics, Human Rights, Peace and Freedom. Until today her writings are considered a legacy to the world. This diary was published by her father Otto Frank on June 25, 1947 after the war.
With a fragment of the Anne Frank diary, I begin my column, remember that in isolation, Kitty was the imaginary friend of this Jewish girl and to whom she shared her thoughts and feelings:
“It seems like years since Sunday morning. So much has happened it's as if the whole world had suddenly turned upside down. But as you can see, Kitty, I'm still alive, and that's the main thing, Father says”.
These words of Anne are the portrait of what happens to us today as a society. Suddenly the world changed, this time due to a pandemic that forced a kind of confinement in the "Secret Annex", a life lesson, that shows us that the planet belongs more to the varied fauna and flora, than to humanity. We are a simple guest in this vast world; it is not just about human life, but about all forms of life.
The confinement of Anne and the rest of the people in the "Secret Annex" was a way to save their lives from the horrors carried out by the German regime, without a doubt a social virus that killed thousands of Jewish people, by the logic of this little girl, this refuge was the safest place on the planet, away from the reality of Nazi crimes. Today, the social isolation that the world is experiencing due to the coronavirus seems like a lesson from nature, which makes us wonder if the virus really is the same humanity itself.
If Anne was able to survive for two years in total confinement, in precarious conditions without losing hope, despite fear, exclusion and discrimination, all the more reason that we the people in the world today must find the best of ourselves to redefine the relationships we have with the planet and understand that we cannot leave in the “ Secret Annex”: the flora and fauna, victims of armed conflict, who have also suffered a series of confinements, as well as other vulnerable populations.
Plants and animals have been living for a long time in the "Secret Annex" hiding from the threat of humans. Today, now that humanity is hidden, we realize that rare animals are able to go out into the cities to claim their place in the world without fear of meeting people on the street.
Likewise, in Colombia, we must become aware of the most vulnerable populations that also continue to live in the "Secret Annex". Some communities in Catatumbo, Cauca, Chocó and other Departments, have restrictions on their mobility, they cannot leave due to threats from armed groups, or mobilize freely, the same goes for leaders and social leaders, who hide to escape death.
Our place today in the "Secret Annex" also shows the levels of inequality and social gaps, all this should invite us to reflect on our actions, and the urgency to understand that the planet is the habitat of a variety of species, native communities, and different forms of life, all of which have historically lived in the "Secret Annex". This world needs more solidarity, empathy and love and less self-absorption and indifference.
Like Anne Frank wrote:
Can you tell me why people go to such lengths to hide their real selves? (…) Why do people have so little trust in one another?
It is time to trust again, to believe that a change is possible, to put ourselves in the shoes of the people and living beings that live in the "Secret Annex", hiding from different threats and trying to survive. For this reason, I invite you to write your own diaries and change our history, I start mine with these lines:
“Today, now that we are in the Secret Annex, I miss the sun, the wind, the warmth of a hug, I miss touching the rain, feeling the beat of another heart, my family, my friends, the possibilities of love, I miss my place in the world, the days that we routinely sometimes lose ... today, I cry seeing on the screen so much social inequality in pandemic times, inequality that has always been in our society in families whose reality is the "Secret Annex" ... I cry with emotion when seeing the fauna that recolonized the city: leopards, peacocks, sea lions, foxes, deer, they tell us this house is also ours. In the distance I feel the breath of nature and I do not lose hope that one day we will be better guests of this planet and we will be able to live in peace with everything around us, without sending any form of life to the “Secret Annex.”
Recommended Reading The Anne Frank Diary
Translated by: Diego Mauricio Cristancho Zabaleta