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In Amsterdam, there’s been a fight over a tree. Not just any tree, but THE tree that gave Anne Frank comfort and about whom she wrote of in her famous diary during her family’s enclosure in a house while hiding from the Nazis. The current drama is that the tree has got a disease. It is so diseased, that there is tremendous concern the tree will fall into the house that the Frank family was sequestered in.

Activists have won an injunction against removing the tree and a support frame will be constructed to uphold the tree very shortly.

Hmmmmm…moral quandary….save tree? or save house?

As if that is even a valid question? I can be as much a tree hugger as the next moe, but are they kidding me? Save the tree? Sure, I love trees, they flesh out a neighborhood, make excellent hideouts from parents, and make an even better point of attack for would be assailants (yes, I was as rotten a kid as I am a rotten adult), but given the choice between saving the tree or saving the house, my decision is clear: rip that sucker out of the ground and commence making compost out of it.

The unfortunate thing about the tree is that it is too abstract to understand its importance on the Richter scale. It is serves as a symbol and given that people can barely observe the symbol of traffic sign, I think asking them to understand the symbolism of a tree is a bit of stretch. Besides, efforts are under way to clone the tree and really, doesn’t cloning just solve everything?

But let’s consider the house for moment and its’ potential loss. What would be lost if the house were to go away? Aside from the revenue generated by the one million visitors that go to see it every year, what do you lose? You lose something that is very necessary and in very short supply. You lose tangible perspective. You can walk around a house. You can see and touch the bookcase that hid the entrance to the attic. You can walk the creaking floor boards that the Frank family learned to walk like young Grasshopper in Kung Fu, when the tyke could walk across sand without leaving a single foot print. You can smell the claustrophobia of too many people sharing cramped living quarters. You can look out the window that Anne herself looked out of and see the world she could no longer be a part of. You can get a feel for the house and its general sense of imprisonment which makes the writings of a young girl whose mind is so miraculously set free that much more compelling, heartbreaking and infinitely tragic. So utterly effen tragic, that I think there is no doubt where loyalties should lie.

Sorry tree, but this is a battle you will ultimately lose.

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