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  • Writer's pictureJoia

Today's rhaps is on ... Anne Frank

Anne Frank House in Amsterdam (

I thought of Anne Frank last night because I woke up screaming.

If she had done this, her family would have been commandeered to Auschwitz the very next day, sooner than history records.

In my case, a loud voice upstairs woke me and I reacted with equivalent volume before socialization constraints took hold and I quieted down. As did my neighbors, so dreaming all the screaming is unfortunately not an option.

I'm on top of most of my daily MS and PTSD symptoms, but this one took me by surprise. What on earth? Fear of plague-droplets seeping through the cracks of my solitary confinement? Anger that I may be on house-arrest for many months yet? Self-defense against a midnight attacker?

I don't know.

I have woken up screaming only one other time in my life, after the ectopic pregnancy. I had finished teaching a visiting winter term of Intro Phil and Philosophy of Human Nature and had written a chapter on the influence of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity on Vienna Circle empiricism. I thought I was fine. I was back to swimming a half-mile every morning. Then Blue Cross insurance aggravated my excellent recovery by insisting they did not owe more than 60% of the obscene hospital bill, since I had not called in time for the emergency surgery. In which my right fallopian tube and ovary were discarded, along with the two-week old embryo. My ex-husband and father took the Blue Cross side, in support of my glaring oversight. Unconscious in the ICU? Silly girl.

So...I felt what, thwarted?

A similar obstinacy occurred seven months ago when a local accountant abused his privilege of sending in my taxes without my consent and then lied about it. He justified his own action and made me the crazy one. Interestingly, this worked in his favor only among the expats—among Portuguese friends his unprofessional behavior is indefensible. It would be a fascinating case of cultural discontinuity if the bastards weren't still after me for money I don't have, as well as a suitably certified re-diagnosis of an illness it took five years to establish on the other side of the Atlantic. Silly girl, who do you think you are?

My body, myself, my poetry, my books.…

Anne, there is so much you gave us and still so much more you would have given us had you lived! Our hearts are bereft. We miss you.

So what is happening, are we mourning the outdoors? You wrote:

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”

Are we just so very tired of being undervalued? You also wrote:

“Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn't women have their share? Soldiers and war heroes are honored and commemorated, explorers are granted immortal fame, martyrs are revered, but how many people look upon women too as soldiers?...Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together!”

I don't know.

I'm going to hope that nothing makes me wake up screaming tonight and I'm going to try and believe with you even in the midst of a churning, burning, wild and disorderly world, that:

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

Thank you, Anne.

18 MARCH 2020

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