Not so long ago a brave girl hid in a secret attic with her family and 4 other people who were forced to hide themselves from the world. This may sound familiar when you compare it to the current crisis we are living through, though really it is far from similar. You see this young girl is living in fear, not of a disease but of being found because being found would be a death sentence for her and all the others in the Secret Annex. Her family and the other 4 people who had lived ordinary lives were now forced to hide in a cramped attic, living in fear of discovery. Why were they there? Why were they hiding? Because they were Jewish. Their religion was all people saw when they looked at them. They were blamed for the loss of a war, they were humiliated, they were shunned and they were killed by the people who used to be their neighbours and friends. Nobody in their homeland saw them as people anymore, all they saw was a Jew and Jews were not accepted. Not anymore.

This girl was just a teenage writer, a little bit like me in that respect who had hopes and dreams like any young girl, she had a sister, a mother, a father but none of that mattered to the people marching in the streets rounding up the Jews. However even though she was stuck inside and couldn’t see friends, she kept her spirits up by writing about her experience. Despite everything she was going through she still smiled and laughed like an ordinary child. I wish I could say that this girl and all the others in that secret attic led happy long lives but as horrible as it is that didn’t happen. They were betrayed, they were found and then they were taken away, separated and sent to camps in which all but one of them died. Anne Frank was murdered in February 1945 when she was just fifteen years old. One of the worst parts of Anne’s story is knowing that these camps were liberated just a few weeks later but by that time it was too late for so many of the people trapped in these harrowing camps. Only Anne’s father Otto survived. Think about that for a minute, out of the eight people that hid in that attic only one made it out of the war alive. These awful places still stand today to serve as a reminder of the atrocities that were committed in the Holocaust. Anne was fifteen when she died. I find it utterly disgusting that these people were stripped of their rights and murdered in their thousands just because of their religion. Now you may say that this is in the past but you need only look at what is happening just now and you will see that discrimination is still very much alive. When the virus was spreading in China people around the world were subjected to racist abuse. Chinese people have been abused because certain people have been making false claims such as calling the virus ‘the Chinese Virus, which has been fuelling tensions and causing people to panic. They no longer saw the person on the inside, only the colour of the person’s skin. The Holocaust may be over but prejudice and discrimination are not.

The saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is a saying we should all think about a little more before we judge someone based on their appearance. It’s not what’s on the outside that matters but what’s on the inside. Imagine you could write a letter to Anne Frank when she first went into hiding, what would you say? I would tell her that she is an inspiration and that she is remembered across the world but most of all I would tell her that she does not deserve all the painful things that are happening to her. We need to leave these stereotypes in the past where they belong or we risk history repeating itself. I know what being judged based on these stereotypes feels like and it does not feel good, I can’t imagine that anyone enjoys it.

All I want people to realise is a person isn’t defined by what they look like on the outside or which religion and sexuality they are. Some women have short hair. Men can cry too. Not all Muslims are terrorists. I could go on and on correcting every stereotype that people have made but that will get my point across. I have a small piece of advice for the next time you meet a new person. When you meet them get to know them first before you form an opinion on them because everyone is different and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If we were all the same life would be tediously boring. Remember, if people laugh at you for being who you are then they aren’t worth listening to.

Imagine a world where everyone is equal, where sexism, homophobia and racism are all gone. This world could be real but only if everyone pulls together to throw off these stereotypes and leave them behind. Remember Anne Frank the young girl who wanted to be a writer and the millions of people that have been mistreated because of who they are. Let’s stop pinning labels on people and create a world of equality together. A world that Anne Frank would’ve loved. A world worth fighting for.


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