By Ahmad Masood Wahed
“The peak of Islam, the heart of Asia…”
“Forever free the land of Arians…”
… are lines from one of the hundreds of national anthems Afghans have sung throughout the centuries. This poor nation has saluted hundreds of colours and shapes of flags, and danced to thousands of various songs composed by the sound of the gun.
During the political history of Afghanistan, this nation has witnessed the most horrific and notorious scenes that have shaped the culture of this prosperous land.
This nation has been under the command of such brutal powers that civilians were hardly allowed to breathe and speak up against the crimes committed by the hands of religious warlords in their own home land.
Today the world calls for human rights, the end of slavery, and the promotion of democracy, but what has happened in Afghanistan during the past 30 years can never be justified. It is even more difficult to understand unless you ask an Afghan mother, whose sweetest possession has been killed in front of her eyes, or an Afghan father, sitting side by side with his son, whilst witnessing bullets heaving out of a gun, or an Afghan child, not able to recognise the dead bodies of his or her parents. The stories are countless.
The world has since defended the war in Afghanistan as an ethical struggle. Some have even branded it a religious war or the war of ideologies managed by the hands of outsiders. Well, they could be right, but who really should we Afghans blame? Should we point the finger at the so-called ‘outsiders’ who intervene in our political system in order to fulfil their political and strategic objectives? Should we blame religion as the source of tension? Yet, there is only one religion in Afghanistan which is Islam and 99.9% of the population are Muslims. Should we blame our own selfishness?
I was taught, along with all the other children starting school in Afghanistan that the reason for war in our homeland was due to the hands of the West and outsiders. They forced us to fight each other, killing our fathers and brothers, burning each others’ homes and lands. We were taught that our belief in Allah and Islam is our beginning and our end. We were told how to hate Pashtuns, who in turn were told to hate Tajiks, who were then told to hate Hazaras. We have always remained in darkness and on the other side of reality.
Now, imagine a child who grew up under the laws of a strict Islamic country. Could he or she ever be able to rationalise the concept, “why have we fought each other then if Islam speaks of brotherhood and friendship? Why have we not defeated those who try to create tensions between two brothers?” It is a matter of belief, not reality.
In the early 90s, just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Afghanistan was divided into four parts, with many parties claiming their victory over Russia, even though each one of them had fought shoulder to shoulder with the Russians. Every single faction created their own political agenda and beliefs, including national anthems, flags, style of extreme Islamic rule and law and even various Afghani currencies.
In fact, to understand the reality, we should instead look to the hands of outsiders, dividing us so that we fight each other in the name of hatred. Shias fighting Sunnis, Pashtuns fighting Tajiks, Hazaras fighting Uzbeks, it was all about superiority and selfishness. We fought each other but never understood why. We killed each other by the guns of others but never understood why. It was not hard for us to be one and united as we stood against the Soviet Union and not listen to what others were telling us to do, or telling us who to kill. It was all our own naivety, particularly our belief in our leaders who throughout the decades claimed to be brave, great warriors or the model of a real Islam. No, they have never been and never will be. These people have always used Islam as a shelter or as an excuse to deceive a nation, a nation which never had the chance to see the reality.
I, as an Afghan from a new generation of war, strongly believe that our leaders who are still, somehow, allowed to walk free in every corner of this unfortunate country are responsible for all the atrocities and bloodshed. It is not the fault of outsiders; our religious leaders have in fact deliberately exiled millions of Afghans, destroyed all aspects of a prosperous society and killed thousands of innocent civilians. Today, we Afghans are still waiting for a chance to see these faces prosecuted by the hands of our own people, and finally brought to justice for all the suffering they have caused.
Posted by Chiara Gnoli