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Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Fine Line Between Precaution And Racism.

The web was agog yesterday with the news of young Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old boy who was arrested for making a clock. Ahmed had brought a home-made clock to school to impress his teachers and while his engineering teacher was so impressed, another teacher wasn't much interested and she panicked enough to alert the school authorities who in turn alerted the police that Ahmed had come to school with a bomb. Things spiralled out of control from that moment. Ahmed was cuffed (see, this picture of him cuffed and looking so pained and confused broke my heart), arrested and interrogated.

While I can understand why any unenlightened person would mistake 14-year-old's project for a bomb, I mean given the fear bloodthirsty psychopaths like Al Queida, ISIS, Boko Haram, etc has invoked in us all, the truth is that if Ahmed had bore a different name and look, all this fuss wouldn't have happened. Reports show that he kept insisting that his invention was a clock yet no one believed him. He said " they took me into a room filled with five officers in which they interrogated me and searched through my stuff and took my tablet and invention. They were like 'so you tried to make a bomb.' I told them no, I was trying to make a clock, ". It's really hurtful to be singled out for ridicule and humiliation based on things that are simply beyond one's control. 

Gone are the days when people could really invent stuff without facing humiliating interrogation for their talents and efforts. These days, everyone is on hot alert with a mental panic button flashing in their heads. It does make me wonder how we intend to " really live" in the future.

I am really glad Ahmed got so much support from all corners of the world and I hope the experience would not deter him from inventing more things. Who knows, perhaps he will come up with a time machine that will zap any distance between us and those we love at the blink of an eye. :) 

Kudos and good luck Ahmed.

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