Story of 2015: the clockmaker who was taken for a terrorist

Dec 19, 2015 · 2 min read

This is Ahmed Mohamed. His father traded a political carreer in homeland Sudan for the American Dream, where he started as a pizza delivery guy and has founded several companies since. His 14-year-old genius son experimented a lot with electronics, earning him the nickname ‘Inventor Kid’. Although bullied throughout middle and high school by fellow students and staff alike, he gained fame by fixing devices for whoever asked for it. Your everyday school nerd, one would say.

Until one day everything changed. He brought once more one of his inventions to school: a simple clock. It took him about 15 minutes to build, he later stated. The Texas school teachers however saw their prejudices confirmed in what they took for a cartoonesk time-bomb, and called the police. After a short interrogation he was taken into custody, which is when the picture above was taken.

The story of 2015 is the story of the facial expression of Ahmed in the picture above. It is not fear for what is to come. It is not anger at police officers or at the school staff. It is not a cry for help or a plead for pitty. It is the look of stupefaction. What we see above is the moment when Ahmed realises that he is surrounded by idiots.

For all his life he thought America is the land of freedom, where you can make your dreams come true. He was taught to stand out, to reach for the sky, to make the impossible possible. The NASA shirt he is wearing exemplifies just that. And now look at him. Handcuffed because of the paralysing fear of terrorism. He doesn’t understand it anymore. He is not thinking about himself or about his arrest. He is thinking that he might have overestimated humanity. That in fact everybody is really, really stupid. And he is thinking about how he can deal with this in the future, when the cops will admit their mistake but at the same time come up with a lame justification for their actions.

We now know where his future lies. After his relief Ahmed met with president Obama and with president Al-Bashir of Sudan, and he received invitations from Harvard and MIT. But he and his family moved to Qatar, where he obtained scholarship from the Qatar Foundation to pursuit his technological dreams. America has lost two generations of exceptional citizens, and it is likely that more will follow.


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