Your Mind

A Moment Of Silence For Ruquia Hassan

By January 7, 2016 0

As women, and as writers, our hearts break for Ruquia Hassan.

Hassan was a citizen journalist in Syria who wrote regularly — with honesty and humor — about what life was like living under ISIS.

She lived in fear for her life, but never stopped sharing her opinions with the world. She was hunted, and later executed, for being a “spy.”

Ruquia, we thank you for your courage.

She was a regular 30-year-old woman who loved to write and accessorized her hijab with hot pink lipstick and glittery jewelry. Despite being worlds away, both geographically and culturally, Hassan wasn’t all that different from us.

Here at Degree180, our mission is to take popular opinions and challenge them — to literally flip them 180 degrees — which is exactly what Hassan did in Syria. The difference is that we can say whatever we want without fear. We can sit behind our computer screens and speak our minds about everything from the presidential election to third dates to orgasms, and the only thing we have to worry about is what our parents are going to think.

Last month, a reporter stood in the quad at Yale University and asked students to sign a petition to repeal the first amendment. He got 50+ signatures in under an hour.

In case you, like these ignorant Yale students, somehow also don’t know what the first amendment is, it’s our RIGHT TO THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

People in this country have become so comfortable with being able to spout their opinions, however misinformed or ridiculous they may be (Donald Trump, anyone?), they don’t even bother to know how these rights are protected.

Anywhere else in the world, especially in the Middle East and especially, especially under ISIS, free speech is a luxury most people will never know. The thought of expressing their opinions  publicly on social media is enough to get them captured and killed. Our biggest concern is how many people are going to “like” our posts.

For just one moment today, we ask you to take some time to think of Ruquia Hassan and to consider just how lucky we are to have the first amendment.

Ruquia, we thank you for your courage and strength, which we, as a team, admire and wish to emulate. You are an inspiration.