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

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Science versus religion in the three-parent baby debate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show  

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived

Howard Jacobson
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee