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

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

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Riyadh is setting itself up as region’s policeman

Lina Khatib
Ed Miliband and David Cameron  

Cameron and Miliband should have faith in their bolder policies

Ian Birrell
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor