The rape and brutal murder of a 7 year old girl is a serious matter. Or is it? Enter Fasih Ahmed, the Editor in Chief of Newsweek Pakistan, who thinks it’s an appropriate subject for comedy.
Take a look for yourself.
The edgy Mr. Fasih Ahmed has read Lolita, guys.
This isn’t even the first time Fasih has made comments like these. Scroll down his Twitter timeline and the tone and content almost defy belief.
Here, he implies rape is subjective depending on the attractiveness of the rapist.
Instead of backing down at the widespread condemnation which even caught the attention of celebrities like Alyssa Milano and the global Newsweek magazine itself, Mr Ahmed doubled down and defended his views.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, @Alyssa_Milano. Recent tweets by Newsweek Pakistan editor @therealfasih do not represent the views of @Newsweek. We are reviewing our relationship with Newsweek Pakistan, which operates under a license agreement.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 24, 2018
Delete your account
— tara strong (@tarastrong) January 23, 2018
— Imani Gandy’d Yams 🍁🍁 (@AngryBlackLady) January 23, 2018
Everyone from celebrities to journalists working for Newsweek International have condemned the tweets
He wasn’t alone either. He was accompanied by the supposedly enlightened liberals of Pakistan, who stressed that it was dark humor. Thankfully, people weren’t having it.
You are the editor of @Newsweek in #Pakistan. You are on the board of @lhrlitfest. And all you can say after I call you out for making misogynist & racist comments after a 7yo girl was raped & murdered is this? “Fuck” & my hair colour?Your words disgrace @Newsweek and @lhrlitfest https://t.co/gUxZhZA0To
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) January 23, 2018
Ek moun se 'poor zainab', doosre moun se 'fasih is not like this'.
Hypocrites ek darje ke.
— Tony Khan (@anthonypermal) January 23, 2018
Shocked to see 'progressive' members of society tweet in defence of @therealfasih's distorted views on rape and child abuse
— Atika Rehman (@AtikaRehman) January 24, 2018
Joining in the defense of the indefensible was Mangobaaz, which calls itself the voice of millennials in Pakistan. Instead of calling out the toxic behavior, they defended him, leading people to question just how low they were willing to go.
First the guy made a joke about rape, child molestation and then people started defending him that it might be something else. He owned it and now @mangobaaz calling it sarcasm and dark humor. How low you can go? #BoycottLLF pic.twitter.com/9px5ccrDtr
— Ammar (@Ammar_Haider) January 23, 2018
Fasih ki baaton ka mafhoom ye ha k…
With all due respect Mangobaaz, there’s no nuance or hidden wordplay or biting insight into Fasih’s comments. They’re vile, they’re crass and you should be ashamed of yourself for defending him.
Faced with a violent backlash, they’ve since published an ‘apology’. It seems like in hindsight, defending someone who made a mockery out of the rape of a child wasn’t a good idea. What a surprise!
Talking about issues is okay. Calling out selective outrage is okay too. We are all aware that this is not an isolated incident but one in a line of many. Pakistan has to do better and a national debate on the matter is long due and welcome. But there’s a time, place and way to discuss it.
It hasn’t been a week since poor Zainab was buried and Fasih is tweeting about how child abuse leads to great art. In your self-appointed mission to highlight insensitivity, Mr Ahmed, maybe the first thing should be taking a look in the mirror. But we doubt that’ll happen. Money and connections mean everything in Pakistan.
A petition calling for firing Fasih from Lahore Literary Festival, which he organizes, is already gaining steam on social media. We’re signing it and so should you. We’re also going to be reaching out to Newsweek global to lodge a complaint about the type of personnel representing its brand in Pakistan.
Update: The Lahore Literary Festival, of which Fasih Ahmed is a board member of, recently responded to this controversy on Facebook:
Fasih Ahmed has resigned from the board of the LLF.
A special shoutout to MeraBichraYaar, who first highlighted Fasih’s tweets