Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day

Don’t worry if you don’t know about this. Chances are, unless you are of Jewish descent, a WWII veteran, or a European expatriate, this will be news to you since Holocaust Memorial Day rarely gets a mention by the American media (not even NPR which holds itself up to some of the highest standards).

After checking several different (American) online news sources, the only article I could find was on CNN, which has a story about an American soldier remembering the liberation of Auschwitz.

Of course there are several big news stories that are still monopolizing the headlines, the main one being the devastation in Haiti following the January 12 earthquake. There’s also President Obama’s up coming (tonight) State of the Union address. If you’re a techie like my husband, you were probably eagerly awaiting word of Apple’s latest gadget (rumored to be a tablet size computer).

It is all these things that have pushed the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Concentration Camps like Auschwitz and Birkenau very much to the back pages if mentioned at all in America. This is just further proof how geocentric our world view (as Americans) is, most not knowing or caring what goes on beyond our borders. Should we blame the media or should we blame ourselves?

Either way, each one of us should take a quiet moment today and say a prayer for all those who perished in the camps, and pray that such genocide never happens again (it still does but on a much smaller scale).

Friday, January 22, 2010

10 Things that would make Women Happier (poll)

January 2009 Real Simple Poll:

Real Simple surveyed 2,600 women and men on their keys to happiness – profound and otherwise.

10 Things that would make Women Happier:

1. A permanently clean home.
2. A luxury trip.
3. A big house.
4. Losing 10 pounds.
5. A great body.
6. Time for themselves.
7. A really romantic relationship.
8. Being smarter.
9. Saying “no” more.
10. A luxury car.

Differences on the man’s list:

6. A better sex life.
10. Having a personal assistant.
(men didn’t list ‘time for themselves’ or ‘say no more’)

My thoughts on the subject:

I agree with six out of the ten things on the women’s list. The four things I don’t need/want are: a big house (there’s something to be said for coziness you know!), to lose 10 pounds. I guess I’d be happy to stay at about 115 pounds for at least a few more years. As it is, I tend to only fluctuate by about 3 pounds or so. I don’t really have a problem saying no, but it’s more that not many demands are placed on me outside of work. Being “child free” immediately frees me up from so many responsibilities except for the occasional job of babysitting my sister’s kids. I also don’t need a luxury car. I’m still not sure what kind of car I would want if money were no object. It would be nice to have a chauffer though sometimes! I agree with the men in that, I definitely wouldn’t mind a personal assistant! (to help me finally sort/archive all my photos, negatives, and slides).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Miep Gies

Miep Gies, originally uploaded by authorwannabe.

(photo from Associated Press)

the Death of Miep Gies

Yesterday, on January 11, one of twentieth century's quiet heroes passed away at the age of 100. Miep Gies, whom most presumably know, helped out (by way of daily grocery deliveries, etc.) the Frank family while they were in hiding in Amsterdam during WWII.

Having visited the Anne Frank House just after September 11, 2001, and having read her diary several times, I can get a feel for the sense of duty Miep must have felt in wanting to help the Frank family. Of course this assistance by Miep didn't come without its risks, and I doubt many of us (myself included) could have been so brave.

I admire Miep for her modesty. True, she didn't do as much as some people. Probably the best known is Oscar Schindler who is credited for saving about 1200 jews during WWII. However, Miep, without knowing it, gave the public an even greater gift - the diary of Anne Frank.

As the media has reported, Miep recovered it from the Frank's rooms above the storehouse and kept it in her desk until after Anne died and the war was over, before returning it to Otto Frank. Little did she know that book would still be published more than 60 years later in over 70 languages. It's thanks to Miep's discernment, and Otto Frank's agreement to publish her diary that we have this legacy.