The Many Sides Of Standing With Ahmed
The United States of America calls itself “God’s own country” and if you believe this narrative, it’s a land flowing with milk and honey.
With money hanging on trees and ripe for the picking, perhaps there’s no brand as big as the “American dream”.
Every year, millions of people from developing countries make it their life’s goal to migrate to America, lofty visions of wealth and success at the front of their minds.
The reality of the American Society is a departure from all the propaganda Hollywood feeds us. The reality has never been felt sharper than this year.
Race relations and gun control remain real issues. Even the most optimistic people have to admit that it is not all uhuru in God’s own country.
Yesterday, a 14 year old student, Ahmed Mohammed was arrested in a high school in Texas.
Ahmed’s crime was taking the clock (pictured below) to school. His teacher, who mistook his self made clock for a bomb called the police.
The gaffe made its way to social media where the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed pushed the event to the forefront.
As you can guess, what followed was an ass kissing campaign of spectacular proportion as different sections of the American Society pondered to Ahmed.
Silicon valley got in on the act, with Twitter asking the inventor a chance to come work for them. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said, “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest, the future belongs to people like Ahmed.”
Zuckerberg followed up with an invitation to the Facebook he Menlo Park campus.
The President got in too, tweeting, “Cool clock, Ahmed, “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”
Away from the attention and furore raised, there have been a number of interesting opinions raised. The most prevalent of course was that Ahmed’s clock doesn’t look like a clock.
I don’t know what ied’s look like but I share the teachers concern. His greatest fault lay in the handling of the situation.
Race relations and stereotyping have also been thrown into sharp focus again. There’s no doubt that Ahmed’s race drove his teacher’s fears and of course his religion didn’t help matters too.
It is on the basis of such stereotyping that almighty America invaded Iraq. No facts were needed, only the assumption that a middle eastern Muslim can be up to no good.
The same assumption that requires a black man to be held in a choke hold or shot in the head even after being stopped for something as a traffic offense.
The attacks in Charleston, Missouri amidst others point to the fact that it is perfectly rational to be afraid in America.
There are many sides to standing with Ahmed and simple objectivity will tell us that this incident is symptomatic of a larger malaise in the American Society.
It’s God’s own country, but for God’s sake, be careful!