The Unswung Bat

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
I shouldn't have been surprised, but was unprepared for the cruelty of the Toronto Sun's libel against Asmaa Hussein, whose husband was killed this Friday at a peaceful protest in Alexandria. Insinuations that her one-time employment at one school within a global institute through whose doors a handful of notorious men drifted, in disparate times and places, could be grounds for condemnation or a withdrawal of sympathy, can only appeal to a degenerate mass. They are a reminder that doubt can be spread dumbly, perversely, for the sake of insulating prejudice as much as for spurring inquiry that would reveal it.

I knew Asmaa in undergrad, not well at all, but well enough to be dumbstruck with horror at what has happened to her young family over the past five days. I took a poetry class with her in second year, and while I was an editor at the Varsity she was working in an office directly above mine, editing the Muslim Voice. We attended one or two events with the same party, knew one another through mutual friends, and understood each other a sight better than strangers would. The hideous crimes inflicted on her late husband, her, and their 9-month-old baby, which have been followed by inhumane insults in Egypt and here in her home, I have watched her bear with unimaginable grace, courage and articulateness that have left me shaken by her faith and understanding of what it is to be human.

To those insufficiently concerned with such things, know that you make yourselves apparent when you fling stones at people in her position who happen to fit profiles you've chosen to hate. Her friends, I am sure, are needed as few people ever are. The rest, including those at the Sun prone to feeling deserved guilt, I would suggest should back off. And imagine themselves in her situation, rather than grasping at reasons not to.

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