Hamed Ahmadi is a Fulbright semi-finalist who describes himself as a “Blogger & Writer at iPSO Afghanistan.” IPSO is the International Psychosocial Organization, a “German-based humanitarian organisation with a branch in Afghanistan. It is an international non-governmental, non-profit and non-political organisation, which delivers psychosocial counselling services according to best practices to the people in need.” Ahmadi may need their services himself, as he is now a refugee at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and is in distress: the food they’re giving him isn’t up to his standards.
On Thursday, Ahmadi tweeted out a photo of a Styrofoam container holding a bit of cantaloupe and watermelon, plus a few bare-looking pieces of chicken. He wrote: “Not complaining but this is what I got last night for dinner and the next meal is 12 hours later. Refugee life might be safe but never easy & favorable. Fort bliss El Paso Texas. #AfghanRefugees #afghanistan”
Not complaining but this is what I got last night for dinner and the next meal is 12 hours later. Refugee life might be safe but never easy & favorable. Fort bliss El Paso Texas. #AfghanRefugees #afghanistan pic.twitter.com/2X7eP8Uwa0
— Hamed Ahmadi (@ahmadihamed_) September 2, 2021
Ahmadi’s whiny display of entitlement and ingratitude kicked up a firestorm. Behavioral scientist Gad Saad, author of The Parasitic Mind, responded: “How about ‘thank you’? Be grateful. Have some humility and exhibit some dignity. No one owes you anything. I’m a refugee from Lebanon and I’m forever grateful.” Author and comedian Tim Young pointed out that two pieces of bread could be seen in the lower left of Ahmadi’s photo, and wrote: “I’d be happy to pay for your ticket to go back… since it’s so rough here that you have to take your sandwich apart and put the bread out of the shot.” Another Twitter user noted: “Apparently the food sucks, but the wifi is good and the phone chargers work…”
Stung by the criticism, Ahmadi was given ample space in the UK’s far-Left Independent to explain himself. “The point of that tweet was not … to be complaining, to be very critical,” he claimed. “I was just describing a situation of Afghan refugees that are in the situation that they never really wanted to be in. I had a pretty good job back in Kabul. I had a decent life. I had my family. I was forced to flee Afghanistan … if I had more space [on Twitter], I would have added more explanation — because I wanted to say that this is the refugee life. And we need to be patient.”
Ahmadi’s clarification didn’t actually explain why he felt no need to be grateful to those who saved him from almost certainly being killed, or at the very least from a perilous end to his contented professional life in Kabul (the Independent noted that “Mr Ahmadi’s own social media presence as a blogger working with foreign NGOs, however, left him in peril as the Taliban retook control of his country”). Ahmadi said nothing about the kindness of those who were providing him with free, taxpayer-funded food and lodging. In case any Independent reader was independent enough to notice all this, the Independent informed its readers of the outcome it was trying to bring about: “Further details about Mr Ahmadi’s own story would very likely silence any detractors or trolls claiming that Afghan refugees are only after a better life.”
It seems that “the journalist and scholar, who spent the past five years in Kabul with his parents and siblings, did not want to flee Afghanistan — and certainly didn’t want to leave his family behind.” And not only that, but tragedy has devastated his family already: “His brother died two months ago as a special ops fighter with the Afghan National Defence Forces combatting the Taliban. Another sister died last year of Covid. Still another sister, who is pregnant, is currently in hiding from the Taliban because she had been a member of the Afghan police force, he said.” Ahmadi added: “I used to travel to different provinces of Afghanistan and interview people and cover day-to-day stories of Afghans at the grassroots level — and how they … resolve their conflicts. Basically, most of the stories were about how people approach conflicts and peace-building at the community level.”
That’s wonderful, as clearly this fellow is an expert in peace-building, but none of it actually excuses Hamed Ahmadi from being grateful to those who rescued him, or makes him entitled to demand better quality food from those who are laboring to provide it to him at no cost to him at all. One bright spot in all this, however, is that Hamed Ahmadi may be an entitled, selfish whiner, but he is most likely not a jihadi. Up to 100 other Afghan evacuees have been flagged for possibly being on terror watch lists, and we are likely to be hearing many more such stories in the near future. But all Hamed Ahmadi demands is that we give him better food. Who could resist such a charming appeal?