The editor-in-chief of Newsweek Pakistan has apologized amid backlash over a tweet Tuesday that said child sex abuse can sometimes “lead to great art.”
Mr. Ahmed argued that pedophilia has always and will always exist, and that movements like #MeToo do little to actually address the problem.
The outrage won’t last because people are assholes. Child molestation was ok before MeToo and it will be ok again. We’ll pretend it doesn’t happen. I don’t think I was being subtle about it— Fasih Ahmed (@therealfasih) January 23, 2018
Child sexual abuse has always happened, is happening, and will always continue. Two days of outrage on Twitter and participating in a 10-person vigil may make you feel so noble but that’s all just about you, not those who’ve been victimized— Fasih Ahmed (@therealfasih) January 23, 2018
You know uncles, servants, teachers, cousins, random shopkeepers hurt boys and girls. Did you report them? Did you have the balls to step out of your denial? This is the cause du jour. Default mode denial is just around the corner. Zainab is not a watershed moment— Fasih Ahmed (@therealfasih) January 23, 2018
Mr. Ahmed was referring to the death of Zainab Amin, a 7-year-old Pakistani girl who was raped, strangled and dumped in garbage near her home, according to police in Kasur. A 24-year-old man was arrested Tuesday in connection with her death. The police handling of Zainab’s murder sparked widespread, deadly protests in Punjab province earlier this month.
After facing backlash for his comments, Mr. Ahmed explained that he was sarcastically pointing out the hypocrisy of the armchair activists.
Jesus Christ. Let me spell it out: (a) Victims resort to art forms because no one believes them and no one hears them. (b) That was sarcasm aimed at the casual activists who’ve arrived for a fuel break at this issue as a cause— Fasih Ahmed (@therealfasih) January 23, 2018
He eventually relented, admitting that his tweets were “poorly phrased” and “misread.”
My tweets of yesterday were coming from anger, were poorly phrased, and misread. I’m sorry to have upset the people who have survived child abuse. I have been angry at the conspiracy of silence around this evil. #MeToo#StopChildAbuse— Fasih Ahmed (@therealfasih) January 24, 2018
Child abuse is pure evil. Zainab needs to be a watershed moment. Talk about it. Deal with it. Don’t shame those who have to live with it.— Fasih Ahmed (@therealfasih) January 24, 2018
Meanwhile, Newsweek distanced itself from Mr. Ahmed’s comments and said it was reviewing its licensing agreement with Newsweek Pakistan.
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
The Lahore Literature Festival, an international literary festival held annually in Lahore, announced Wednesday that Mr. Ahmed had recused himself from the Board of Governors.
The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) has received several complaints pertaining to the tweets on January 23, 2018 from the personal twitter handle of Mr Fasih Ahmed. This account and its tweets do not in any way represent or reflect the ethos or values of the LLF.>>>— LLF (@lhrlitfest) January 24, 2018
>>In view of the same, Mr Ahmed has recused himself from the LLF and the Board has unanimously accepted his resignation.— LLF (@lhrlitfest) January 24, 2018
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