It’s clear who should be running Egypt: this genius of a 12-year-old

I doubt there's a handful of British kids who could match this boy's acumen

 

Share

The most eloquent political analyst I’ve heard in ages is an Egyptian called Ali Ahmed. Interviewed on telly this week for El Wady News, he spoke out against the Military Council, President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and the corruptions inherent in the new draft of the constitution. Many Twitter followers watched him online and declared themselves amazed by his passionate common sense.

Who is Mr Ahmed? He’s not a politician, a lobbyist, a strategist, a public intellectual or a journalist. He is, in fact, a 12-year-old Egyptian prep-school boy with a political grasp beyond his years. 

I’d love to have watched the (unseen) lady reporter’s face when he started talking. She went up to him (at a street demo) probably assuming he was just a cute innocent with an amusingly serious expression. What was he doing at a demonstration? “I’m here to prevent Egypt becoming a commodity owned by one person,” he said in a squeaky treble. “And to protest [against] the confiscation of the constitution by one single party. We didn’t get rid of a military regime to replace it with a fascist theocracy.”

Oh my, says the interviewer, I don’t even know what that means (you sweet precocious little boy!)  “It’s when you manipulate religion,” Ali coolly replies. “And enforce extremist regulations in the name of religion, even though religion doesn’t command that.”

Striving to process the fact that a child in a blue stripy T-shirt was defining abstruse terminology for her benefit, the woman then asks, in her naïve way: “So you see the country is not doing well and has to change?” There’s a pause. “You mean politically or socially?” says Ali. Whereupon he launches into a lecture on the failure of the Morsi economy, the lack of social justice and the sexual inequality enshrined in the constitution. “It’s abuse and insanity,” says Ali.

He was forensically clear-thinking. He was amazing. I doubt there’s a handful of British 12-year-olds equipped to properly understand the overlap of state politics and religion – and fewer who could extemporise arguments about political doublethink on-camera in the street.

At a time when the Western powers are looking in dismay at the diplomats, technocrats and “liberals” being drafted into Egyptian politics, you feel like saying: “Let Ali Ahmed run the country! Or the people who taught him to think like that!” But Ali, unfortunately, doesn’t have a party. He wasn’t parroting a script he’d learned from someone else. “I listen to people a lot and use my brain,” he said. “I read newpapers, watch TV and search the internet.”

And it’s possible he’s young enough not to worry about getting a bullet in the head from Islamists who are unimpressed by his charming precocity.

Blake’s heaven

William Blake’s house is up for sale! The house is in Felpham, West Sussex, where he lived for three years (1800-1803) and wrote his impregnable epic poem Milton, featuring the lines that became “Jerusalem”. The great visionary liked the village. He wrote: “Away to sweet Felpham for heaven is there:/ The Ladder of Angels descends through the air./ On the turret its spiral does softly descend/ Through the village it winds, at my cot it does end.”

I like the way his visionary claims about his home echo the claims of estate agents. But how are the latter planning to sell the property? “Attractive 2-floor brick/stone cttge for sale. 4 bdrms, garage, gdn, summer house. Small apple tree oft full of angels singing “Holy Holy Holy!” Large ladder of ditto descending thro’ air. 3 acres surrounding land, mostly green and pleasant. Poss walked on by  J Christ in ancient times. Offers in region of £750,000.”

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Should parents be allowed to take pictures at nativity plays?  

Ghosts of Christmas past: What effect could posting pictures of nativity plays have on the next generation?

Ellen E Jones
The first Christmas card: in 1843 the inventor Sir Henry Cole commissioned the artist John Callcott Horsley to draw a card for him to send to family and friends  

Hold your temperance: New life for the first Christmas card

Simmy Richman
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick