Missing Afghan exchange student found safe in Canada

I hadn’t written about this before, but I had been following the case of Mohammed Karim Azizi, a 15-year-old boy from Afghanistan who had been missing since October. He was in Ohio on a cultural exchange thing, living with a host family and going to school. He disappeared in Indianapolis after going to an FFA (Future Farmers of America) convention. He had cleaned out his school locker, which indicated he was planning to leave.

There were a lot of comments about how perhaps he had joined a terrorist cell or some such thing, but the police focused on the theory that Mohammed had defected to Canada. If Mohammed obtained political asylum in Canada and citizenship, he could bring the rest of his family over. He has seven siblings and his dad is a shopkeeper.

Well, word got out today that Mohammed Azizi has indeed been found in Canada, though it’s unclear whether or not he’s applied for asylum. Best of luck to him, whichever path he chooses for his future.

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10 thoughts on “Missing Afghan exchange student found safe in Canada

  1. marycarney January 13, 2011 / 8:03 pm

    Except he caused a LOT of consternation here in Indy when he went missing. The adults reponsible for chaperoning him at the FFA event have been traumatized, blamed etc. All he had to do was leave a note.

    • Meaghan January 13, 2011 / 8:54 pm

      If this was an ordinary boy running from his family, I would agree with you. However, if he left a note saying “I am defecting to Canada,” they might have stopped him and therefore stopped the much more promising future he was trying to get for himself and his family.

    • Zach April 11, 2011 / 11:27 pm

      I have an Afghan exchange friend that did the same thing. YESTERDAY April 10th,2010. He didn’t notify his host family at all until he was at the Canadian border. I think he did it to avoid possibly being stopped.

      • Meaghan April 11, 2011 / 11:44 pm

        You mean 2011, right?

  2. Celeste January 13, 2011 / 8:12 pm

    I can’t even believe some of the comments on that story. Did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps he was seeking assylum here because he would be maimed or killed in his homeland?

    • Meaghan January 13, 2011 / 8:53 pm

      Immigrants and asylum seekers always get a bad rap.

    • Laura Brown January 13, 2011 / 9:12 pm

      And I wonder if the Americans commenting on that story have given any thought as to why an Afghan might *need* to seek asylum. I dunno, something about a war there?

      • Meaghan January 14, 2011 / 12:45 am

        The really screwed-up thing about those xenophobic rants from Americans about asylum seekers is that, from all that I have observed, the asylum seekers would rather stay in their own country. Their country was their HOME, it was where they came from, what they were used to, and they didn’t want to just leave everything they’ve ever owned and known and loved behind, except that it was a choice between that and suffering horribly or dying.

        My friend John’s father had the misfortune of being from a wealthy family in pre-war Vietnam and, thus, on the wrong side when the Communists took over. He applied for, and received, asylum in the US. He traded the lush green jungle paradise of Vietnam for…Oklahoma. And to this day, he has never returned. He’s still afraid, even after all this time.

  3. Kat January 13, 2011 / 9:19 pm

    I am American (within reason, second and third generation only) and yes, I know there is a war. There and other places as well, generating a lot of refugees/asylum seekers in many countries. Australia just had a big wreck on Christmas Island with many deaths. People will do what they have to for freedom. If this boy is successful, great. But AFTER he got where he was going he might have let someone/anyone know. I do feel bad for the adults involved. But kids will always get away if they want to. I think it is a no win situation in some respects.

  4. L K Tucker January 14, 2011 / 9:32 am

    That explanation sounds reasonable and might be true but it depends on his mental state. There is a long list of missing students. Remember Brain Shaffer, Maura Murray, Michael Negrete, Justin Gains, or Josh Guimond? They were all college students but there have also been younger high school students vanish like this. At one point there were three Canadian engineering students missing but one was found in Texas.

    These cases might be Dissociative Fugue. Experts don’t actually know what causes it so they explain it with psychosocial psychobabble.

    But there is a simple problem of human physiology capable of causing mental breaks for students or office workers. It was discovered and solved forty years ago but almost no one knows it exists.

    His mental state and memory would reveal if he did escape to Canada or wander there in an altered mental state One of the recent college students that vanished was found when he tried to enter Canada without a passport. He was an American citizen. VisionAndPsychosis.Net has pages with other examples; Missing Students, Dissociative Fugue, and Mysterious Disappearances.

    You might remember a case or two of people who turn up with amnesia and make public appeals for someone who can help them find out who they are. Those are Dissociative Fugue cases.

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