Ever since the Egyptian army ousted former President Mohamed Morsi early this month, a lot of the ensuing discussion focused on the political implications of the move or condescending to the Egyptian people about matters of democracy. Throughout all of this, it seems we've forgotten to discuss the fundamental principles of revolution and an egalitarian society. Luckily for us (and our faith in humanity), 12-year-old Ali Ahmed gives us a concise refresher:
Yes, you read that right. He's twelve years old. Yet, in a breathtakingly concise interview filled with scathing criticisms of the Muslim Brotherhood, he puts those who dismiss the protesters' rallying cries to shame. He continually breaks things down, from the meaning of a fascist theocracy to the political and social elements of the revolution. And to those who smugly mock protestors as not understanding democracy, perhaps there's something they could learn from this young man, who is arguably the epitome of an informed citizen: he's read his country's constitution in full (be honest, how many of us can claim to have done that?), he's politically informed, and he engages with his fellow citizens when constructing his opinions. He knows the central tenets of a free society: economic empowerment, freedom, social justice, equal treatment of genders, and so on.
Truth be told, my question for this young protestor is not whether he understands democracy by condemning former President Morsi, it is whether he has one of the best understandings of democracy, far better than mine. At the very least, he has a commitment to egalitarian principles like fairness and justice that is not merely admirable; it's a beautiful example and a necessary reminder, not just for Egyptians, but for all around the world. If the revolution could further be summarized (more than this Ahmed has so elegantly done already), it would be in this nugget of wisdom: "What is built on falsehood is false itself."
Oh, and in case you forgot, he's not even a teenager yet. So how does he know all of this?
"I listen to people a lot, and I use my own brain."
If only we all did the same.