At this time, if you Google Ahmed the results that will come flying are only about the teenager who was mistaken for a terrorist by a supposedly over-cautious, over-anxious, overzealous school. But it seems to that there are again, two sides to every story.
Ahmed Mohamed. Who is he? Just a person of color? A teenager? Or an individual from a religion that’s widely misunderstood, reviled and feared? How about we put them all together and add a device to the mix which does look like many bombs I’ve seen in papers or on television and you have a huge faux pas which is trending on social media and making an unlikely celebrity of someone who should be playing ball like other kids his age and not have to shoulder this media circus.
Now this is my personal viewpoint entirely. Was he wronged against. Yes. Undoubtedly. That’s been proven. Was the school too hasty in branding him a terrorist or even thinking of him along those lines? Again. Yes. Were they wrong in thinking what they did? Now that’s the gray area I can’t skate over.
The last few years have seen a devastating rise in school shootings, racial profiling and anti-Islam propaganda in the United States. How do I know this? Well pretty much every source of communication is putting that message out real-time.
Teenage perpetrators of hate crimes, homicides are inexplicably on the rise. So from where I stand, when a child of a religion that some loonies seem to speak for and act as vanguards of; makes a “device” which looks less like what an innocuous clock ought to and more like pictures of bombs left on sidewalks cafes, libraries, parks across the world; it is understandable that his gestures, his actions, and ultimately he and his device will be feared and misunderstood.
I mean didn’t the Commander-in-Chief of the United States attack a country that left thousands dead, on intel that’s yet to be proven accurate, about weapons of mass destruction?! Fear psychosis or just plain old fear of the unknown is a terrible motivating force. Unfortunately, Ahmed became a casualty to it and underwent things he shouldn’t have. But let’s not be in too much of a hurry to condemn those who suspected or misunderstood the boy. They haven’t crossed the point of no-return just yet.
Maybe they should have tried to be the adults that they are and tried logic, relied on their knowledge and understanding of the kind of person Ahmed is. But the times we live in warp a lot of things even if they are benign and warped they may remain.
When I mentioned my point of view to my husband, he smirked and said I would fit in well in Texas. His minimalistic way of saying that I exhibited trigger-happy, redneck inclinations. See? Stereotypes are alive and kicking every which way we look.
But I still believe that while reparations may not be enough or even possible for Ahmed from the town of Irving or his school, as he grows up he might eventually understand what led them to treat him as public enemy #1. If he doesn’t, he might consider asking his parents to fill him in seeing that they are from Sudan. Even if they might not have lived in the ‘shoot-first-ask-later’ conditions, they will still understand turbulence, in the world and in the human mind.