Tag Archives: Anne Frank

Making A Positive Difference In Wartime; Miep Gies vs. Jane Fonda

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One of the goals of my blog here is to write about people who are making a positive difference, and hopefully, if I’m really lucky, make one myself. This week, actress Jane Fonda is getting a lot of press for her claims that she was canned by the home shopping network, QVC, for her status as a controversial person during the Vietnam War. You can read about that here: Jane Fonda — QVC Axed Me Over Possible Protests 

Whether or not you side with Jane Fonda or QVC in this matter, photographs tend to speak for themselves….

Jane Fonda wrote a rebuttal to her critics and QVC via her blog, and you can read that in its entirety here, along with the comments she has chosen to publish. I will state for the record that she has not yet posted my own comment, in which I ask her to make a donation of a portion of her millions to a Facebook Cause I founded, Thank a Vietnam Veteran, in order to prove the sincerity of her regret at supposedly being somehow tricked into sitting on that anti-aircraft gun: Jane Fonda’s Blog Post, “The Truth About My Trip To Hanoi”

Quite frankly, I was less than impressed with the argument set forth in the blog by Ms. Fonda. It seemed to be all about her, all about how she was framed and coerced by this that and the other person, and more than a little whiney. I’m sure that there have been some things said about her that aren’t true. This is the case with almost every celebrity, with every high profile news event, etc. But, Janey….Girlfriend…that’s so not the point. The point is, when you are confronted with a war that you don’t agree with, or a political leader that you don’t like and wish to protest, this is not how you make a positive difference. But, you’re a big girl now and you know that, don’t you?

For tips and pointers on how to make a difference in war time, no matter how Jane Fonda is trying to spin her actions now, 40 years later, when what she herself did and said is hitting her wallet, look not to Jane, but to a real wartime hero–Miep Gies.

Who???? Who, you say, well let me tell you a little bit about Miep Gies. Hopefully, afterward, you’ll want read and learn more about her for yourself. Miep shares one similarity with Jane–they both went against their own government during wartime. But that is where the similarities end. Miep Gies was one of the Dutch citizens who actively, at the very real risk of her own life, helped hide Anne Frank and her family in that annex  for two years during World War II. She is mentioned in The Diary of Anne Frank, and later penned her own account of that time in history in her volume, Anne Frank Remembered. I picked up a copy of it at the library today and, after reading just the prologue, cannot wait to delve into her account of those same events covered by Anne in her infamous diary. 

Consider these words from Miep Gies, as opposed to Fonda’s self aggrandizing, self pitying words in her recent blog:

“I am not a hero. I stand at the end of a long long line of good Dutch people who did what I did or more–much more–during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened to them…There is nothing special about me. I have never wanted special attention. I was only willing to do what was asked of me and what seemed necessary at the time”. 

Wow. I guess the point to my blog today, and I do have one, is that each of us has a choice, including me, of course. We make choices every day regarding our own actions. My feelings about Jane Fonda’s actions back during the Vietnam War are probably not a secret. However, I didn’t write this blog to bash Ms. Fonda. I think her actions, and her own words of spin in the guise of truth telling in her own blog probably speak for themselves and are up to your own interpretation. What I ask you (and myself really) to consider, is the contrast between Jane Fonda and Miep Gies. Both women claim to have had only the best of intentions during wartime.

And war, I might add, isn’t really the issue here either. Show me a person who “loves” war, and I’ll show you a troubled individual. As my WWII Veteran grandfather once told me, “Shell, nobody loves war. And nobody hates war more than a soldier.” However, my grandfather was a veteran himself, and saw two sons go off to Vietnam not knowing whether or not they’d come home to him whole, or in one of those infamous body bags. He was and still is, however, a lifelong Republican, and an educated man as well. He may not have supported every war the U.S. fought in his heart, but he always supported his country, and its soldiers. And he would also be the first to tell you that support is NEVER spelled by going into enemy territory during wartime and sitting on weaponry with the enemy for a destructive, hurtful, self promoting photo opportunity. That’s just not supportive, and I suspect even Jane Fonda knows that. Miep Gies actually went against her occupied country’s leadership at the time, in a bigger, way more gutsy manner than Jane Fonda could have dreamed of doing. But, and here’s the critical difference, she did it in a way that saved lives, that positively impacted the victims of war–she fought the good fight. Jane? Not so much, because I really fail to see how her stunt in North Vietnam positively impacted even one victim of war–either the Vietnamese people, or Vietnam Soldiers, now Veterans, POWs, or Casualties. 

So, in the end, I think we all have to decide….when it comes to doing what’s right, to helping the victims of a war, to expressing ourselves in a positive and constructive manner, and showing the world what we’re really made of….Will we be Jane Fonda or Miep Gies? I know who I choose! 

As always, thanks for reading….

Happy Birthday To The Girl Who Should Have Been 82 Today

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Had she lived, Anne Frank would have been 82 today. I’ve always been a little fascinated with The Diary of Anne Frank, more so as I’ve gotten older and better able to appreciate her obvious budding writing talent, her wit and charm, and her ability to craft such a beautiful volume under unimaginably frightening and difficult circumstances.

Anne Frank would have been phenomenal blogger! Her insightful observations about life, people, and her days and nights in the Annex were clearly well beyond her years. And she was funny too…well, maybe not LOL funny, but witty is the descriptor that comes to mind.

Sometimes I wonder what she would think of it all…personal computers, the internet, social media, texting, and blogging of all things. Really, just a new twist on what came naturally to her. A lot has been written about Anne over the many years since her father turned her diary over to the world, and a good many people have clearly found her as interesting as I do.

What is it about her that captures our attention so, and tugs at our hearts? Well, for me, it’s just how average, and at the same time extraordinary she was. And I guess also the unsolved mystery of what and who she might have become. Would she have been a homemaker and mother? And would her children have inherited her love of writing, and of telling the story of life exactly as she saw it? Or would she have become a dedicated career woman? Continuing to write…perhaps books, or even as a professional journalist of some sort?

We’ll never know now, but one thing that is so wonderful about sharing our words, whether it is in a diary, or a book, or a blog, is that a piece of you really does live on. Our words are our own, and offer a little glimpse into who we really are.  Because our thoughts and impressions, and particularly the way we choose to share them at the point we put pen to paper, or hand to keyboard, are as unique as our fingerprints…

Who knows what sort of life 82 year old Anne would be reflecting back on now as she blew out those 82 candles, or maybe just the big wax eight and two…No doubt she would have some stories to tell of post war Europe, and perhaps her own immigration to the United States, or even Israel.

One thing I know for certain—a woman like Anne would own a laptop, and have a blog. Maybe she’d give her blog a girl’s name too, just like she called her diary “Kitty”. And she’d write about all of the life that she’d lived, what was going on around her at the moment, and she would definitely have a lot to say about the realities and annoyances of being 82, I’m sure.

But, as much as I wish she were still around to share her thoughts with us today, she’ll always be…just a girl…in the writing business…sometimes witty…

“And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren’t any other people living in the world”. ~ Anne Frank

Click the photo of Anne’s Diary to visit the Anne Frank Museum Online. This is a wonderful site with a lot of interactive multimedia, and The Annex in 3D…