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Miep Gies and evil times

January 12, 2010

We’ll start today by marking the death of Miep Gies – the secretary who hid Anne Frank’s family from the Nazis for two years, and who saved Anne’s diary. She was 100 and the last survivor of the few non-jews who supplied, food, books and company to the secret annexe in Amsterdam. Words seem insufficient to mark the passing of this force for good (she worked to promote tolerance in the years after Anne’s death at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp), but even an atheist like me can’t help but wish her a place in heaven.

Talking of evil times, while the Independent is still worth reading (rumours abound that Rod Liddle will shortly be appointed editor – gods help us), do read two astounding pieces by Paul Vallely. Saved from the agony of female circumcision really does bring home the horrors of this practice, as well as the hope that the practice is slowly disappearing thanks to a British charity’s programme of education on the consequences of female circumcision.

I strive not to prescribe here, but every woman should read this article and ask for a donation to ActionAid to be made instead of a birthday present or Mother’s Day gift. Perhaps in my lifetime, these mutilations will stop. 

Paul Vallely has also turned his eye upon child detention in the UK. No place for the innocent is an extremely troubling article and I urge you to read it. Stories like these make me hope fervently for a hung Parliament and the slim chance that the Liberal Democrats might be able to improve things. As things stand I am deeply ashamed to know my country is treating children so terribly.

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