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



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

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Street harrassment: There are some things only a man can explain

Katy Guest

Scottish referendum: To the victor, the carping and the criticism

John Rentoul
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam