Dear Ahmed Mohamed: An Open Letter To A True Builder for the Youth


September 16, 2015

Dear Ahmed,

What a world we live in, eh?

A young and remarkably talented kid creates something that 89.9% of those who share the same age demographic won’t even know where to even begin, and when he showcases it in hopes of excitement and proud remarks, he is arrested and taken for a criminal.  Now, the question is; why? What logical reason is there to arrest a 14 year old high school student who has individually handcrafted a fully functioning digital clock? The answer to that question is none. There simply is no logical reason to put a young, aspiring scientific genius into handcuffs and interrogation. Until, of course, you add the fact that he’s Muslim into the equation. Now there’s a reason, right? Wrong. Very wrong. But, I’m sure you already know the wrongdoing in that, Ahmed.

The reason I am writing you this open letter is because your situation really pissed me off, but at the same time it really inspired me. But let’s talk about why it pissed me off first. One, because like you, I am a creator. I know the feeling of creating something amazing and the anticipation of showing it off to everyone, in hopes they will love it and feel proud that a student or friend of theirs is doing something and perhaps going places. That combined feeling of excitement and nervousness is really something, isn’t it? So to have to finally have the opportunity to show off your hard work, and come off as a threat must be a horrible feeling! Two, I am pissed off because of the amounts of bigotry and closed mindedness that comes with it, on the part of your school staff and officers that is. Nah, I won’t only blame them. I’ll put the blame on society. Society is just all bent out of shape. We’ve got the racism, the sexism, the homophobia, the murder, the rape, the judgement, the everything. It’s just fucked up. The fact that when a Muslim kid creates something to such an advanced level technology at such a young age and brings it to school, and the first thought that jumps into officials’ heads is “BOMB, TERRORIST!” is really messed up and closed minded on their part. The fact that they put aside, and blind themselves to the amount of talent, dedication, and intellect that you have, and immediately categorize you as a terrorist is messed up. I mean, even if it was a bomb, I’d just be extremely impressed you could handcraft such a technical piece of equipment. But, all jokes aside, it’s really something that needs to be tweaked about society. The only problem with that is… it can’t change, at least not any time soon. There will always be someone or some people who will unequally judge something about a person, no matter how talented they are.

Now, the reason your situation inspired me is because it adds another reason to keep faith in the future of technology and innovation. I started this magazine for the young creatives and the innovators. I started this magazine to showcase people like you, youthful talent who deserve the spotlight. I’m not sure if you follow the creative youth side of social media, but there are a lot of kids who consider themselves creators and constantly tell themselves (and their Twitter and Instagram followers) that they are “building for the youth”. These same kids are investing more money into the way they look or their internet presence, than into what they claim is their craft or their passion. These same kids are boasting on social media about how many times they sell out on their t-shirts or caps, rather than investing and actually building. These same kids are probably in it for a quick buck, but I’ll sip my tea about that. Now, allow me to be the first to tell you: they aren’t really “building for the youth”. That’s a strong statement. One who is building for the youth is one who is focused on honing their craft 24/7, and taking us, as a culture, to the next level. One who is building for the youth is one who is focused on innovating and taking something great and making it 200 times greater and 300 times more efficient. One who is building for the youth doesn’t care whether they have 2 million social media followers or just 1. They would be too busy actually “building for the youth” to even have to worry about that. That’s what building for the youth is. And Ahmed, I’m telling you this because I see great potential and I have hope in you. Maybe you’re a scientific genius as a hobby and your true dream is to become McDonalds cashier, I don’t know. I don’t know your full story. But because you are 14 and created a digital clock from scratch means something to me. You’re so young, which means you are just getting started.

So, yeah. A lot of people will probably think I’m overreacting with this open letter, but your situation really hit me. And I feel like a lot of this had to be said.

You’re going far. Keep building, my guy. Don’t stop.

Ryan Henry

Founder and Managing Director of Cut x Sewn Magazine



Cut x Sewn Magazine Founder & Creative Director.


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