I have no "empathy" for Anne Frank in the sense that there is nothing I can do for her. She's dead, and all the compassion in the world will not alter that one bit.
My compassion is reserved for the living Anne Franks of the world, who are suffering and who - maybe, just maybe - I can make some kind of a difference for. It is better to learn from history than to cry over it, because by learning from history, it is possible to avoid repeating it.
How is this different, say, from someone who lost their job? I can do nothing about a job. I don't have a magic job-creating machine that I can use to rescue people without jobs. Pitying them achieves nothing and even risks feeding the depression that comes with losing a job. Feeding the disease may feel like it is doing something, but in truth it is not. It emotionally cripples people.
It is also true that people can survive without jobs perfectly well. True, you can't watch cable TV, drive an SUV, or fly to the Bahamas on holiday, but the first destroys your mind, the second destroys the environment and the third destroys what little is left of a foreign culture. As such, I find it hard to be overly sympathetic if you miss out on these "luxuries". I don't see that it helps anyone to promote destruction.
Empathy, true empathy, fights monsterous evils, prejudice, hatred and destruction. These are things we can all tackle - if we choose - and which if defeated, even marginally, would lead to the betterment of everyone.
You may "care" about Anne Frank, but that is because it is "safe" to do so. Nobody will ever ask you to do a damn thing for her. The same is the reason why many Americans favoured "liberating" Iraq - it wasn't their skins involved. No, it's easy to care when you aren't the one having to do anything.
On the other hand, there's plenty of people in the world who suffer persecution - and murder - at the hands of fanatics. These are the Anne Franks of today. I don't see you mentioning them in your post, but unless you live in the middle of nowhere, there's likely a dozen within a block of you.
There are likely businesses illegally dumping deadly toxic waste in residential areas, in your community. There are probably gifted but chronically homeless people who just need a helping hand for them to support themselves. Chances are good that someone you meet on a daily basis is physically or sexually abused by someone they're close to. Many communities have thriving black markets, particularly in deadly drugs. It is likely that persecution of people who are "different" is a regular occurence along your street.
"Faith without works is dead", we are told. I would argue the same is true for empathy. If it doesn't lead to you doing anything to address the issue, then you have nothing. Talking about issues is important, but only if it then leads you to do something, however small.
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