The Yassmin Controversy: Should We Forget?



An open letter to Julie Bishop Editor's Note: On Anzac Day 25 April 2017, Abdel-Magied posted "LEST.WE.FORGET. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine...)" on Facebook. Yassmin deleted the status soon after, commenting, "It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly". She has since been met with public vitriol in the face of what has been deemed an insult to the Anzacs. You can read more about the public's reaction here and here.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop appointed Abdel-Magied to the Council for Australian-Arab Relations in 2015. There are now calls for Bishop to remove Abdel-Magied. This decision is still being deliberated.

The letter below, addressed to Julie Bishop, was submitted to us anonymously.

If you feel as strongly about this issue, consider emailing your thoughts to us and/or Julie Bishop at Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au



Dear Ms Bishop,

I write to implore you not to terminate Yassmin Abdel-Magied's employment. Please do not succumb to public pressure to terminate a woman's employment, who, like yourself, is such a strong role model for the young women of today.

I implore you not to succumb to public pressure to burn Yassmin at the stake, for exercising her right to free speech that is not constitutionally entrenched, but valued highly by your party.

I implore you, despite your political differences, not to punish this woman. Despite her lack of tact, Yassmin has demonstrated how hypocritical we are as a society, for paying tribute to one group of victims of war, whilst punishing another. Anzac Day is a well established day of mourning, paying tribute to soldiers that fought for us at war. Yassmin's words have critiqued Australia as a whole, for punishing asylum seekers who risked their lives to escape persecution, which occurs on every other day of the year.

This decision that you have in front of you, is one of extreme gravity and significance. You have the power to set a precedent for the future of Australian society. Are we a society which will ostracise one empowered and overall good hearted woman for caring about the sanctity of human life? Or are we a society who is so petulant that we can't recognise a woman who has made a politically loaded mistake, but offered her sincerest apologies?

I implore you not to terminate Yassmin's employment, as to do so would make me, an unyielding ally of yours, question your ability to think critically about what is at stake here.

I understand you are not a feminist, it is not part of your lexicon. But I implore you, to let Yassmin's debts be paid, in the form of receiving unwavering death and rape threats. This is a heavy enough cross to bear.

We can talk about asylum seekers on any other day except ANZAC Day. But would anyone have listened as intently as Australians did on the 25th, if it all?

I understand that there are a few premises to my email that you fundamentally disagree with. That 'boat people' for one, should not 'jump the queue' and risk their lives to come and live in our boundless plains to share. However, I do note, that as Un-Australian Yassmin seemed, in her 190 character flippancy - the real Un-Australians hate this woman, who represents the very multicultural tenet, that makes us stand strong.

Regards,

Anonymous Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of the Monash LSS.

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