Ahmed was arrested, Osama kicked. And good people rallied against it

Recently otherwise distressing stories of suffering have received overwhelming positive support from the public

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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The cases of Ahmed Mohamed, the U.S. teen arrested for building a clock mistaken for a bomb, and Osama Abdul Mohsen, the Syrian refugee tripped by a Hungarian camerawoman as he fled border guards in Europe, both began as distressing tales. But the overwhelming public response to each of these cases suggests a far more positive story.

After being arrested on suspicion of creating a hoax bomb, Ahmed, whose father is originally from Sudan, is now happily celebrating after many stood by him in support.

The U.S. President Barack Obama took to Twitter to voice support for the 14-year-old. “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great,” he wrote.

The moral is not about the teachers who complained about Ahmed - it’s about the thousands of Americans who stood in solidarity with him

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Ahmed has received numerous job offers and other invites, as many rushed to show solidarity against the racial stance his school took in accusing him of making some kind of ISIS bomb.

Syrian refugee

Osama Abdul Mohsen, the Syrian refugee tripped by a Hungarian camerawoman as he carried one of his sons, has also received a wonderful opportunity for a better life.

After all the difficult circumstances he and his family have been through, Real Madrid – one of the most renowned football clubs in the world – sympathized with Osama, and invited him to join its ranks as a coach.

Life can be tough. However there are still many good and kind people in this world. The refugees we see today, in search of a tent and a meal, were once ordinary people who lived in houses and had jobs – until their lives were turned upside down by war and chaos.

Those we see in boats and on borders include doctors, engineers and teachers. They are people who have done everything they can to provide for their families and their future. However fate has its vicissitudes. And this is where kind people come in – people who are kinder than any words can describe.

These good people are complete strangers. They don’t know the refugees, and many neither understand their language nor know their religion. But they open their houses and embrace them, sharing their savings and food with them. This shows great humanity and unconditional love, defying the culture of evil and terrorists who kill in the name of religion, race, history and politics.

We don’t know many of these good people have acted, and we cannot thank them all for their respectable acts. But we are grateful to them.

Telling their stories

German journalist Paul Ronzheimer volunteered to accompany refugees fleeing to Europe. He was with them during dangerous moments as they boarded a boat to Europe, and he walked with them across borders, narrating their stories to the newspaper he works for, ‘Bild’.

He used his Twitter account @ronzheimer to publish videos of refugees telling their stories. He did that in order for the world to know that these refugees are not mere numbers, photos and material for news pieces – but that they are real humans. His move was welcomed by thousands of people who voiced their readiness to help refugees and offer them shelter.

The moral is not in the negative aspects of these stories – it’s not about the teachers who complained of Ahmed and called in the police to arrest him. It is about the thousands of Americans who stood in solidarity with Ahmed when they didn’t have to, and who collectively expressed their rejection of paranoia and racism.

And the moral is not about the Hungarian camerawoman who tripped Osama Abdul Mohsen as he carried his child as they tried to flee the border guards. It’s about the German journalist who accompanied the hundreds of refugees like him, narrated their suffering, and helping them through their ordeal.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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