Catching Up With “Traumatized” Clock Kid Ahmed Mohamed

Do you remember Ahmed Mohamed? The 14-year-old who took the insides of an digital clock and put it in a briefcase for some reason, and was credited with inventing a new device to keep time? (Sort of like serving coffee in a wine glass and saying you’ve invented a new form of drinkable caffeine.)

He was briefly (and unfairly) detained more than a month ago because his clock looked like a bomb. Now President Obama is scheduled to make good on his invite for Ahmed to visit the White House, as Astronomy Night on Monday is likely the big culmination in the whirlwind post-bomb-looking-clock tour.

Ahmed is a kid, and there are some legitimate questions about whether he’s being put forward and controlled in some way by his parents and family. This is not a criticism of Ahmed — the bright, excited young kid — but instead of the narrative that is being pushed surrounding him.

So what’s the narrative? Well, let’s catch up with Ahmed.

  • Shortly after the brief arrest, Ahmed’s family pulled him out of school, and retained legal counsel. Because of “religious persecution,” they decided to home-school Ahmed, and their lawyers noted that Ahmed “has been severely traumatized.” Not just traumatized, but severely traumatized.
  • Then Ahmed began a media tour. First, on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. There, he described the arrest that severely traumatized him as “kind of cool.” Here’s Ahmed riding a hoverboard backstage:
  • Next Ahmed went to Dr. Oz’s daytime show, to show his inventor skills by putting various objects in liquid nitrogen and seeing what happens. By comparison, here’s a teen who invented an easier way to diagnose Ebola. Watch Ahmed be severely traumatized with Dr. Oz while hitting frozen flowers with a hammer.
  • But the national media tour was not enough — next, it was time to take Ahmed global. Ahmed and his family visited Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, all while documenting the fun on his growing Twitter, Instagram and Vine accounts. How’s he doing? Well, not so much “severely traumatized” anymore. Now it’s more like, “great!”
  • One snag though in Sudan. See, Ahmed and his dad met with the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who happens to be “wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.” Ahmed’s dad is not just a neutral party in this, either — he’s a political figure who ran against al-Bashir in April.

So — one meeting for Ahmed with a world leader said to be responsible for the deaths of more than 200,000 in Darfur, zero school classes in the last five weeks. Will this pre-White House visit with a war criminal hamper his much-anticipated meeting with President Obama? Will he ever go back to school? Will his return to Texas bring back a sudden bout of being “severely traumatized”?

Poor kid. And shame on those using him to make political statements. Maybe after his meeting on Monday at the White House he can get back to being a student, instead of a reality star for the microaggression crowd.