The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Addressing ethnic challenges in Afghanistan, providing solutions

Part II

By: Firooz Ahmad Ebrahimi

Potential and actual social harms result from entrenched ideological constructs that have been passed down through generations among people within a particular geographic region. These constructs evolve into undesirable norms and sometimes even transform into sanctified beliefs. These beliefs shift from logic to conviction, leading individuals unconsciously to generate emotions. Consequently, when the discussion turns to ethnicity or tribe, individuals’ emotions are stirred, feeling obligated to defend themselves, whether justifiably or not. This process unfolds in the minds of individuals and within the collective consciousness of society over time, forming a gradual progression. If we aim to provide a solution to the crisis of ethnic tensions, firstly, we must perceive it as a social issue that has developed over time and requires time to eradicate. Within this framework, a plan must be formulated gradually, leading to unity. In this process, the elements of the problem must be dissected, and discussions must be held separately around each. It should be clarified which institutions and individuals have what responsibilities, and the government must take measures to ensure that, on the one hand, the crisis is not exacerbated. On the other hand, gradually, society’s general sentiments towards it diminish, replaced instead by a spirit of brotherhood, unity, and solidarity. The Role of Government in Mitigating Ethnic Tensions The government and governmental institutions play the most pivotal role in managing this fundamental crisis. Since a government’s survival relies on managing and satisfying the nation, it cannot survive without the people’s support. Therefore, the government cannot favor one ethnic group over another and alienate others as much as it can direct or provoke the masses’ emotions. Without exaggeration, no other element can be said. In the past, the decisions and policies of governments have always been the leading cause of these movements. The government should initially divide governmental institutions based on meritocracy so that appointments and privileges are not solely based on ethnic considerations as in previous governments. Instead, appointments and selections should be based on meritocracy while considering the role of ethnicities. For example, critical government positions should be distributed among elites, professionals, and individuals with religious and moral integrity. Distribution should also be made among elites of each ethnic group, as the prioritization of people’s affairs and sound administration should not be sacrificed for ethnic interests. The rule of law, which is one of the fundamental and essential duties of the government, must be uniformly enforced across all regions. The system of punishments and penalties should be consistent throughout the entire territory of the state, without differentiation between criminals from one region to another, preserving the general and universal nature of the law, something that Afghanistan has lacked in the past. On the other hand, the law should stand firm against undesirable ethnic norms based on religious principles and safeguard unity. This aspect should be explicitly deemed unlawful, with severe penalties considered for instigators and promoters of ethnic tensions. The government should draft a comprehensive and effective plan developed by community leaders, historians, legal experts, and religious scholars. On the other hand, the Ministry of Border and Tribal Affairs should be tasked to implement it, as this ministry has a fundamental responsibility to foster unity and cohesion among tribes. Although in the past, this ministry was merely a titular department, if approached impartially, it has played a significant role in the new Afghan government in fostering unity among tribes and even religious scholars. The government should fund this ministry and meticulously align its affairs with the opinions of experts to strive for unity among tribes on one hand and address conflicts to prevent further discord on the other. The government should embark on severe cultural promotion efforts to foster unity and solidarity. A joint plan should be formulated among the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Ministry of Borders and Tribal Affairs, the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, and the High Council of Afghan Ulamas. This plan must have a clear and transparent objective: to eradicate prejudice and promote unity, brotherhood, and solidarity. Through this cultural promotion process, people should overcome their misconceptions and embrace positive sentiments based on unity. It should not be forgotten that this plan should be developed under the guidance of experts in accordance with divine teachings, the laws of the government, and the customs and traditions of the Afghan people to prevent further tensions and yield effective results. The government is obliged to initiate this cultural promotion fundamentally and sustainably, from pulpits and Masjids to media outlets, from educational curricula to billboards and urban graffiti. From promoting culture among the general public to featuring prominent national figures, this cultural promotion must be part of the government’s agenda. It should cover cities and surrounding areas across Afghanistan. Unfortunately, one of the previous government’s fundamental problems in cultural promotion was that its coverage was limited to cities. In contrast, this issue primarily lies in districts and among tribes. Moreover, if the government initiates cultural promotion but does not genuinely commit to it, or if governmental decisions and actions contradict it, most efforts will be futile and will not yield significant results. The outcome will merely be a waste of resources, and the government will bear the consequences. To be Continued…

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.