She is a girl, she suffers. And she writes about her suffering, puts her life into words. She gets famous. It is a sad fame. Her name is Anne. Anne Frank. No, it’s Bana. Bana Alabed. She was born in Frankfurt or in Syria, dying from bombs or in death camps. She has a million names. Anne and Bana are born, live and die everywhere in this world where girls suffer from failed politics, intractable conflicts and wars. And most, unlike Anne or Bana, suffer and die unnamed and unbeknownst to us.

It doesn’t matter if their stories reach us after their death, as in Anne’s case, or before. Bana is a refugee, like Anne was. And she is still alive. Anne was alive too, after her family escaped from Nazi Germany, until the Netherlands was also occupied. Her father’s efforts to take the family to the United States failed. The two girl’s lives were very similar. And they are nearly identical to thousands of Annes and Banas today.

By denying these girls and their families entry to the USA and other safer countries around the globe, we take on the burden of responsibility. We become responsible for their deaths, however indirectly. We allow history to repeat in perpetuum and ad nauseum. Girls dying unnecessarily over and over again. The security risks of taking in refugees from war torn countries is known, not only since the latest terror attack in Germany, executed by a refugee. But the question is: do we sacrifice inner security, or people in dire need of refuge? Are we minimizing the risk or humanity? Which life is worth more? Are ten Afghans worth one American or European? Or twelve? And who calculates this? Who has the right?

Our governments and weapons manufacturers have profited from the agony of whole countries and their people. We are now shutting the door in the face of those we have used. In the future, will we read Bana’s tweets as a book to our children, having to say yet again that ‘we just didn’t know’? Because we do know. We all know. We decide over life and death. How will we decide for the next Bana?

-Kristina Kraemer
Junior Editor
Girl News International

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