Rex Murphy: When the woke come for conservatives of colour

Thank you, Professor Rima Azar, for picking Canada as your home. I apologize for some of the tenants

The suspension of Prof. Rima Azar by Mount Allison University was a cowardly act, writes Rex Murphy.

There is a sort of madness abroad, a flippancy about the terms of reality itself, and it is comforted by the blasé acceptance that what we know is strange and rare and off every centre is perfectly normal. Is “normal” an allowed word? An interminable tide of woke prescriptions and politically correct dogmas pulses on. New and invented rules multiply by the minute and are not one bit less stringent for never having been debated, passed by any assembly, or discussed out loud in any forum of open minds. Suddenly, they are just there.

Resist them all. Hold fast to your own ideas of what is right and wrong.

A very current and cruel example of the new rules and codes comes from Mount Allison University. Professor Rima Azar, who was born in Lebanon during the horrors of a civil war — an experience, believe it or not, more “triggering” than a snippet from a Jordan Peterson talk — dissented from the radical left perspective that Canada is a “racist country.” Thereby she caught the inquisitorial eyes of some woke Mount A. students.

New and invented rules multiply by the minute

They keened that she denied that Canada was “systemically racist” and moreover — terrible human person that she is — spoke “unkindly” of the Black Lives Matter movement. Is there no limit to her indecency? Her new-Canadian audacity? The associate professor of health psychology was creating an “unsafe space.” I guess they weren’t in Lebanon 20 years ago.

Mount Allison, with that courage that now marks almost all universities education institutions, quickly leaped to suspend her, and without pay. Ah, Mount Allison, I presume you still have a philosophy department.

Rima Azar is a Canadian. She has the right to speak her mind. To use the phrase beloved by so many, her “lived experience” makes her all the richer on this topic than the majority on the other side of the question. She has tasted some of the most bitter parts of life on this globe of ours. She knows real hurt, has seen pain and death.

She came to Canada. She found a welcome. She found work in this “systemically racist” country. These facts — and this is my assumption, but I think it well-founded — told her (a) once a foreigner, (b) from the Middle East, (c) a woman, that, hey, this Canada is a fair and welcoming place.

  1. An Arab-Canadian Mount Allison psychology professor is being accused on Twitter of racism.

    Jonathan Kay: A white mob comes after an Arab-Canadian professor — in the name of anti-racism

  2. November 24 2017 - Wilfrid Laurier teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd finishes speaking at a rally in support of academic freedom near the University in Waterloo, Ontario, November 24, 2017.

    Full Comment with Anthony Furey: Lindsay Shepherd on the battle against campus cancel culture

She suffers attacks on her character and is suspended from her job because she expressed praise for the country that accepted her. Off with her head!

Between the spine of a jellyfish and that of Mount A’s faculty and administrators, there is only this difference: in time, the jellyfish may grow one.

If Canada is a place where an immigrant professor is attacked and hurt, for saying the country she came to, to escape the hell of civil war, to say in public that this country is not “systemically racist,” can be vilified and shamed, here’s my question: What kind of country have we become?

Rima Azar, I do not know you. But I can thank you for expressing appreciation of the country you chose to make your home. It is a sweet thing you have done, to say “thank you” out loud to that new homeland, and it was a brave thing — how strange this is — to declare it as a place of welcome. I am sorry to see you at the centre of a storm that only privileged and safe people would think of stirring.

I’m glad you picked us as home. I apologize for some of the tenants.

National Post

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