This blog is dedicated to Nabeel Quresh, who passed away on September 16, 2017 at the tender age of 34. His book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus,” was one of the most intriguing books I have ever read. Thank you, Nabeel, for sharing your journey with the world. I admire your courage, intellect, and above all, love of humanity.
Most people instinctively treasure life. For instance, I don’t know what it is about babies of all species but they have the power to melt our hearts. Many of us are delighted to see plants sprout and grow, too. Every living thing that surrounds us reminds us that we are all part of this wonderful phenomenon called life.
Where there is life, there is death. Most of us are saddened by other’s death even when we do not know the individual personally. The sadness is even deeper when someone dies prematurely.
Like millions of people around the world, I have been fascinated by the story of Anne Frank. Today, decades after her death in 1945, her spirit continues to live on in our hearts as the beautiful and bright 15-year-old girl whose precious life was cut short by the hands of evil. Evil that manipulated those who blindly followed orders to kill other humans, millions of them. Such abhorrent and unimaginable crime against humanity!
In the fall of 1999, among other places of interest in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, David and I were fortunate enough to include a visit to the Anne Frank House – by accident. Here is David’s blog about it. (Please scroll down to the paragraph with the picture of the cover of The Diary of Anne Frank.)
As of this posting, when you search “Anne Frank” on YouTube, you can find many documentaries. Recently, I came across “National Geographic – Final Days of Anne Frank.”
What struck me the most about this documentary was the complete lack of remorse by those who perpetrated evil acts. What is this about humans? Invariably, this atrocity makes me wonder about our own existence, human nature, and what it means to be human.
I spent the first 23 years of my life in Japan, an environment known for its male-dominant culture. Laws are in place to reinforce the cultural mores as well. Unlike natural laws, which are unshakeable truth of nature, nothing instituted by humans is ever perfect. Every culture has merits and demerits; beauty and ugliness; virtue and corruption.
I cannot speak to how things are today but, when I was growing up, I was surrounded by those who held prejudices against almost anyone who was not Japanese –perhaps the remnants of how the authorities brainwashed its citizens prior to the end of WWII. Such prejudices have two major elements: they are (1) hard to shake and (2) a taboo topic. Few Japanese, therefore, would dare talk about it, let alone admit to it.
Every child starts life with purity of innocence. As time goes on, influence of those that surround that child begins to take effect.
Prejudice is a powerful negative force in one’s life. When one’s brain has been filled with prejudices against others since birth, it takes years of conscious efforts to get rid of them. Ask me how I know. I envy those who grew up (like David) or are growing up in a family environment where there is little to no prejudice against others.
Other than humans, I don’t know of any animals that kill their own species on a massive scale. For sure, some animals kill their own kind by means of physical prowess. This is nature’s way to help sustain the best genes within the same species.
Humans, on the other hand, are known to kill our own kind on a massive scale through brainwashing those who can be manipulated – with prejudices – to get the dirty work done. Because of long-held prejudices, they, in turn, become completely devoid of conscience. The atrocities committed on a massive scale by the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II are just two examples with which most people are familiar.
The story of Anne Frank reminds us what Edmund Burke, an 18th century Irish statesman, had stated so eloquently:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”