Poor kid. I tell myself that many of us spent our adolescence waiting to escape the grip of our family’s dysfunctions, and mostly succeeded, or at least survived. From Jessica Contrera, in the Washington Post:
The news crew is here, but the famous boy is still asleep. He had just flown 22 hours, back to this squat stone house where he used to live when he was just a regular 14-year-old. His bright green go-kart is still out back. A year ago, he could have woken up and spent hours tinkering with its engine. He could have spent the day on his trampoline, or just watching funny YouTube videos on his phone.
Instead, he’s waking up to the sound of more reporters in the living room. Because he’s not Ahmed Mohamed, a regular 14-year-old. He’s “Clock Boy,” a viral sensation, the accidental embodiment of a national debate about Muslims being dangerous — or not. A black youth mistreated by overzealous cops — or an example of vigilance against potential terrorism…
The reporters are from Fox 4, a local TV channel. [Ahmed’s father] Mohamed invited them here, on Ahmed’s first day back in Texas after nine months in Qatar. They moved a month after Ahmed was arrested for possessing a homemade clock that his school deemed suspicious-looking. The move, it seemed, was an attempt to escape the spotlight, or at least the hate mail and death threats that came with it.
And yet, Ahmed’s summer homecoming was heralded to reporters with a news release sent out by the family and its supporters: Clock Boy is back, and ready to be interviewed…
… His parents had a choice: deal with this quietly, or tell someone. Their son had been placed in handcuffs and interrogated, in a town known for its resentment of Muslims. So they called the media, and soon Ahmed was trending on Twitter, and everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to President Obama was sharing messages of support.
Two days after he was arrested, the charges were dropped.
“This is what happens when we (IPD) screw something up,” one Irving Police Department detective wrote in an email later uncovered as part of a public records request from Vice. “That thing didn’t even look like a bomb.”
And so came the next choice: Let this all die down, or seize the platform they’d been given and use it.
So they put Ahmed on “Good Morning America,” MSNBC and “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.” He told reporters how kids in school called him ISIS Boy. Sympathetic crowdfunders raised $18,000 for his education. He visited the White House, the Google Science Fair and the president of his home country of Sudan (a wanted war criminal, but Mohamed said it would be rude not to accept the invitation)…
His dad tells him that this is God opening doors for him. Something bad happened, but God turned it to make it good. God chose him for this, so he can make the world a better place.
Only now, he feels safer on the other side of the world. As trolls tried to pick apart his story, someone posted the Mohameds’ home address on Twitter…