She was pilloried in the papers, attacked on social media, even urged to self-deport by members of Parliament, so it will surprise few that writer/engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied has a complicated relationship with Australia.
But during an appearance on The Project on Wednesday, the 26-year-old Sudanese-born woman explained just how damaging the experience has been.
Asked by host Carrie Bickmore how she describes Australia to people overseas, she replied, “It is hard. It is like dating an abusive guy.
“You love a lot of things about them, but they hurt you deep. So what do you do? What do you tell people? Do you tell them about the great times you had, about how grateful you were for all of the good stuff? Or do you tell them about how they traumatised you in a way that you will never be the same for?”
Abdel-Magied moved to London in August following a period of intense scrutiny, criticism and even outright hatred over a message she tweeted on ANZAC Day that read, “Lest. We. Forget. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine…)”.
The uproar over this perceived display of disrespect rolled easily off the back of what she had copped for claiming Islam to be “the most feminist religion” during an appearance on ABC panel show Q&A in February.
“I was Young Queenslander of the Year and on all of these boards and councils, and I was the good Muslim girl, the darling, and next minute it is like everything exploded,” Abdel-Magied said on Tuesday.
“It showed me that, I am just some 26-year-old and I can have the full weight of mainstream media, social media, the Government and the public against me and I come out on top. What of it?”