This is our wedding anniversary. On this day in 1993 I tied the knot with Louise in Holy Cross Abbey, 24 years and still muddling through.
It is Anne Frank’s birthday. When she was 13 years old, on this day in 1942, she received a diary as a birthday present. She wrote in it regularly for two years and two months until the family were captured by the Germans and interned in concentration camps. Only the father, Otto, survived the war. He found the diary and had it published as “The diary of a young girl”.
Today my daughter, Esha, sits her Maths 2 paper in the morning and the Irish 1 in the afternoon. This is the busiest exam day in her Leaving Cert Schedule. Esha is 18, an age never attained by Anne Frank.
Over in England people are fuelled by Brexit jingoism and xenophobia heightened by recent terror attacks in Manchester and London. In the recent election Theresa May was leaning in favour of internment of suspect terrorists and deportations. Effectively she was speaking about an assault on civil liberties. That is a dangerous road.
The last time the British Government tried internment was as a solution to violence in Northern Ireland. Far from solving the problem Internment was responsible for bringing the leading lights of Sinn Féin and the IRA together, facilitating them to organize and acting as a recruitment drive.
Anne Frank was born a German citizen in Frankfurt. Her family moved out of Germany in the early 1930’s as the Nazi’s dismantled the civil liberties of certain sectors of the population including communists, gypsies and Jews. By 1941 Anne Frank no longer held citizenship and was effectively a stateless person.
Theresa May can show good reasons for removing civil liberties as a means of protecting the populace from terror attacks but there are better reasons for protecting civil liberties. Remember the poem by Pastor Niemöller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.