Remember that 14 year old kid, Ahmed Mohamed, who tinkered around with a clock to try to show off his engineering skills in his Texas school, and wound up almost being arrested because he’s a Sudanese Muslim and therefore is presumed terrorist (at least when carrying around unfamiliar-looking electronics) here in US America until proven otherwise? Well, I felt real bad for that kid, because no 14 year old should be subjected to that kind of treatment just for trying to build something he thought was cool. And I still feel bad for him, and anger toward the school and police force who saw his name, looked at his face, and immediately assumed he’d built a bomb.
But since that whole thing happened, Ahmed’s been living kind of a whirlwind life. He went to the Google Science Fair, had a whole day proclaimed in his honor in New York, went on Hajj, and has been on TV over and over again. He’s also met a lot of world leaders, from Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, to Jordan’s Queen Rania, to Barack Obama. Oh, and also, he and his family (who are Sudanese) got to go to Sudan and meet with that country’s President, Omar al-Bashir. The thing about that last one is, Omar al-Bashir is (allegedly, I guess) a genocidaire and a war criminal, wanted by the International Criminal Court for his efforts to exterminate and/or displace the population of Darfur. He is, in fact, the only sitting world leader currently wanted by the ICC, though admittedly there’s a case to be made that the ICC is unfairly biased toward a focus on African war crimes. Still, ICC bias or not, Omar al-Bashir is, by all available evidence, a really bad guy. Uh, allegedly.
What’s a little odd about this meeting is that Ahmed’s father, Mohamed al-Hassan, has actually tried to run for president against Bashir a couple of times (needless to say he hasn’t been successful). Omar al-Bashir doesn’t really countenance political opposition in general, but everybody looks chummy here. I guess international fame buys you a little leeway in Khartoum.
Then yesterday Ahmed’s life took another big turn. Ahmed needs a new school, since he (understandably) withdrew from the one where the teachers called the police on him. Well, yesterday his family announced that he wasn’t just changing schools, he’s changing countries: Continue reading