Friday, June 19, 2009
Anne Frank of Sarajevo
To some people life gives lemons, out of the blue they manage to make lemonade.
I admire them a lot.
Zlata Filipović (born 3 December 1980) is the author of the book Zlata's Diary.
From 1991 to 1993, she wrote in her diary (called "Mimmy") about the horrors of war in Sarajevo, through which she was living. Some news agencies and media outlets labeled her the "Anne Frank of Sarajevo". Unlike Frank, however, Zlata and her family all survived and escaped to Paris in 1993 where they stayed for a year. She attended St. Andrew's College, Dublin senior school, going on to graduate from the University of Oxford in 2001 with a BA in human sciences, and now lives in Dublin, Ireland.
Stolen Voices: Young People's War Diaries, from World War I to Iraq
Filipovic's Zlata's Diary (1994), about her teenage years in wartime Sarajevo, was an international best-seller. Now she and her coeditor combine brief excerpts from that stirring account with diary entries from young civilians and soldiers in World War I Germany; World War II Russia, Austria, New Zealand, Germany, Singapore, and the U.S.; Holocaust Lithuania and Poland; Vietnam; Israel and Palestine; and, finally, Iraq. Each entry is framed by a brief historical introduction and an afterword. Anne Frank is everywhere as inspiration, and, like her Diary, the power of these unforgettable pieces is in the close-up details of everyday life in crisis, fragments of war that raise elemental connections. One of the best is the spare account of an Austrian child on the Kindertransport. An American soldier in Vietnam writes of his unspeakable brutality against civilians; then, at an airport bar in California, he is refused service as a minor. An Israeli girl and a Palestinian confront the same question: "I don't understand why people want to kill me."