National Identity: a response to Mr. Rahimi
A post on a website that somewhat resembles a "response" has recently been brought to my attention regarding my article titled, "National Identity." The author of the post, Nesar Rahimi first seems to have a great discomfort in the fact that my article was submitted by my friend Abdul Ali Faiq. I find it pathetic that Rahimi would willingly spend a great deal of time assuming that Faiq would lie or use a pseudonym for an article when, in fact, Faiq has already made several contributions of his own to ariaye.com. Faiq has written a great number of articles and has published them to the website and therefore any logical person would discern that Faiq knowingly put his own email address up and "realize" that the article had a different name all-together. Our friend, Rahimi, however, couldn't seem to think logically. I wasn't aware that submitting articles for someone else was frowned down upon by the likes of Rahimi.
Though a great deal has already been spent on this, I would also like to state a very important fact—it doesn't matter who wrote the article or what name it was even submitted under; the important thing is the content of the article and its submission for others judgment. I wrote the article because I felt that it was and still is one of the most important issues in the country. I must inform our friend Rahimi that I do not follow the tribal system where one person is the sole "judge, jury, and executioner." I represent only myself and my own opinions through the article "National Identity" and any other articles I may have written. However, whosoever reads it and agrees with the article has the right to agree with me and can choose to have the article represent their views as well. This is the democratic system.
I understand that my article does not agree with Rahimi's ethno-centric mindset but the last time I checked people were allowed to have opinions of their own. Another thing I'd like to point out is that issues such as the matter of our national identity does not form overnight by just one article like mine. It is an ongoing problem that is the result of years of oppression and years of having a false identity imposed on the non-Pashtuns ethnics—who are the majority of Afghanistan population, over 70%. My article merely addresses a problem that already exists.
Rahimi's arguments are as weak as the other nationalist and chauvinist Pashtuns who have stated it before him. The fact that the Loya Jirga did not properly represent all the ethnicities of the country has already been addressed several times by many people. The fact that the semantic meaning of the word "Afghan" had to be changed in order to apply to non-Pashtuns clearly highlights that this is not natural. It is not natural for Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Turkmen and all other non-Pashtun ethnics to be called "Afghan = Pashtun". For a non-Pashtun to be "Afghan" is for them to accept a borrowed identity, a forced identity. To be fair, the Loya Jirga should have allowed for the name-change of the country. It won't matter that the meaning of the word "Afghan" changed; the fact is that when the name was first introduced, it had a specific meaning behind it. Rahimi states that "Being Afghan does not deprive anyone from his ethnic identity and heritage.” But this is exactly what it does. By calling a Tajik as an "Afghan = Pashtun," you are depriving him/her from his/her own ethnic identity. It is somewhat similar to calling a white person a "Negro" merely because he lives in Africa or was born in that region. Afghanistan literally means "land of the Afghans = Pashtuns" besides having another insulting meaning (a tall thin dog originally used for hunting …). All one has to do is look up the word "Afghan" in a dictionary like Merriam-Webster, which is a widely-used dictionary, and it will show "Pashtun" and/or "Pashto." This was accepted for many years and the making of a Constitution after a fraudulent election is not going to change that definition.
The fact that the British are the ones that set up the boundaries of present Afghanistan as well as the name of the country is not something new so I'm not sure why Rahimi is lamenting about that. In Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia site, it states: "However, the current borders of Afghanistan would not be determined until the coming of the British". * This is one of the most readily available sources. The British demarcated the borders of Afghanistan in 1893 and basically established a region where different minorities were placed together and the majorities are outside the border. Rahimi, like others before him, tries to push the propaganda of Ahmad Shah Abdali, as well. Abdali was the first Pashtun/Afghan king of his region (in Kandahar) but not of so-called present Afghanistan because there was no Afghanistan during his time. He and his son and grandsons even called themselves "Kings of Khorasan" till end of the 19 century. His raids on India are well-documented and had established the Afghan/Pashtun tyranny and terrorism mentality for all Pashtuns from the past to the Present day.
I would advice Rahimi to re-read the article once more if he is up to the task. He seems to be too simple and narrow-minded person; however, to understand what it means to be unbiased. I am very well aware of what an ethnic identity is and what a national identity is. I am a Tajik myself and I can not fathom the thought of simultaneously being Tajik and Afghan at the same time. It does not make sense. Nor do I see the logic in calling a Hazara an Afghan/Pashtun. This is why the current Loya Jirga and the Constitution are not a proper representation of all the ethnicities or even of the nation. Do all Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns accept Sayyaf, Pacha Khan Zadran, Mullah Shinwary, Mullah Rocketi, and Karzai as their representative? The answer is no. The aforementioned people are imposed upon the public just like how the national identity of "Afghan" is imposed on us. The Constitution can "allow" us to be called Afghans but I just don't agree with it and nor do a lot of other people. The Constitution also says a lot of other ridiculous things that emphasizes the grievances done to non-Pashtuns of the country. It imposes the language of national anthem to a minority's language—Pashto—unto the country. Over 80% of the country doesn't even speak Pashto (including Zahir Shah – father of the nation) but, yet, out of pure resentment they make Pashto a national language. Pashto hadn't even become an official language of Afghanistan until 1936. Farsi (Dari) was (and is) used as an official language along the history in the whole region for thousands of years. That is pretty late for a tribal language to be recognized by a country and then for it to become a national language—it's just preposterous. Another ridiculous thing in the Constitution is the statement of Zahir Shah being the "father of the nation." This, alone, blatantly proves just how improper the non-Pashtun representation is in the Loya Jirga and Constitution. They made a thief and a thug the father of the nation. The majority of the country does not even relate to Zahir Shah and his actions. How much lower can a country be presented to the world than to have a savage as their father, their representative?
Rahimi then goes around the issue of Pashtun homosexuality by trying to manipulate one of Sa'adi's poems. I am not surprised that Rahimi (1) does not address Pashtun homosexuality and (2) doesn't directly explain or go over Sa'adi's poem. He is obviously referring to the word "affection" in Sa'adi's poem. When looking up the definition and synonyms of the word” affection" in the dictionary no where does it say "sexual" or any reference to "sexuality." A father can have affection for his child, a teacher can have affection for her student, and a basketball player can have affection for his fellow player. As for the rest of the poem, I can go on and give my own interpretation of it and I can honestly say it wouldn't be a perverted one like Rahimi's.
All one has to do, in fact, is see what kind of person/poet Sa'adi was. He is timeless and unrestricted. One of his poems is engraved on the building of the UN—on the entrance of the building to be exact. The poem goes as “The sons of Adam are limbs of each other/ having been created of one essence.” This shows a man of integrity and humanity. And now, what kind of poets does Pashtuns like Rahimi have? Why, they have the infamous Khushal Khan Khattak, one of the poets to "grace" the fraudulent Pota Khazana. Here is a sample of Khattak: "There is a boy across the river, whose bottom is like a peach, alas, I can not swim." Now, there is only one way to interpret those lines. Also, there have been several articles written about the homosexuality of the Pashtuns. These articles are printed in such well-known and respected newspapers such as the NYTimes, LATimes, etc. Kandahar has been called the "Gay Capital of South Asia" and there have been many articles and encounters with Pashtun homosexuality available on the internet. In the book written by Hassan M. Yousufzai and Ali Gohar titled "Towards Understanding Pukhtoon Jirga" it is written, "There is ample evidence of the presence of adultery and homosexuality in some segments of Pukhtoon society" (40)?.
I am not surprised that Rahimi would have a hard time with my article and the statements that are made through it. Khattak, the most praised Pashtun poet by Pashtuns, pinpoints the weakness and savagery of his own people through another poem. In this poem he curses at the Pashtuns and calls them "dogs," "scavengers," and that "no good qualities are there in the Pathans."* Now, is this what non-Pashtuns want to be associated with? Everything Khattak wrote was ethno-centric and that’s why he is only limited to Pashtuns and not the rest of the world like how Sa’adi or Rumi are. And depending on Khattak's mood, his opinion about his people swayed from praises to curses. Another embarrassing trait of the Pashtuns is fabricating and accepting a falsely created history and culture: the Pota Khazana. The Pota Khazana is obviously a fraudulent book and though some Pashtuns have admitted that, there are still many that adamantly stand by it even when there is no proof of an original manuscript.
So all and all, for Pashtuns when there is basically not much to be proud of in their own culture, people, and history it is only imminent that they would try to falsify it and then impose it on others and then this way, the Pashtuns can manipulate it so that they can share the non-Pashtuns' great culture and history i.e. call Rumi "Afghan," move into non-Pashtun soil in the North, etc. After all, misery loves company and you can't get more miserable than the state Afghanistan is in.
At the end I can say that by forcing a tribal (Afghan/Pashtun) name, language and culture on other ethnics and imposing a puppet regime in the country, there would be no peace and stability in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, this bloody wound continues to bleed!