NEW YORK: Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has Asperger’s syndrome and is repeatedly confronted with insults and hateful comments, took to Twitter over the weekend to encourage people to be different. “Being different is a superpower,” the 16-year-old wrote late on Saturday in a tweet that collected more than 400,000 likes by Sunday morning. In Germany, for example, a candidate for the far-right AfD party, Andreas Kalbitz, described the activist as a “braided-faced moon-faced girl,” while Australian columnist Andrew Bolt has slammed her as being “deeply disturbed.” Thunberg, however, now hit back at her attackers. “I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm.
And — given the right circumstances — being different is a superpower.” Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder that manifests itself, among other things, through difficulties in social interaction and the development of intensive special interests. Asperger’s is a milder autism spectrum disorder and people who have it are often very intelligent. Thunberg herself recently said in a documentary that without the disorder she would probably never have started her “school strike for climate” and might not have been interested in the issue of climate change at all. One year ago, the then completely unknown 15-year-old sat in front of the parliament in Stockholm with a protest sign and called for a school strike for climate. — DPA