Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Fighting Poverty and Class Disparities

Poor Afghan people face different sorts of miseries almost on daily basis. As the socio-economic conditions in the country have not improved, the people face different sorts of social and economic problems and, therefore, take every sort of step to fulfill the overgrowing necessities of life. The poor people in particular are influenced the most and they are compelled to live from hand to mouth because no considerable development has been made in the country. In fact, the funds and assistance that flowed in the country for development projects were devoured by corruption and ended in the bank accounts of the ruling elite. Therefore, the differences among the rich and poor have multiplied and so have the social and economic problems for the poor people.

It is really heartbreaking to see how the poor people face the difficulties in their lives in different parts of the country. A recent piece of news revealed that an Afghan woman from Herat province was forced to sell her kidney in order to rescue her husband from captivity in Iran. Hameeda, 35, said that her husband went to Iran in search of employment where he fell in trouble after some time. She received a call from Iran and was instructed to provide 50 million Rials (AFN100 thousand) in order to rescue her husband. The mother of four children, Hameeda, living in a rented house in Herat City, said she had no option but to sell her left kidney for AFN 200,000. She sent part of the money to those persons in Iran and rest of the money was used in repaying the loans that she had taken from people.

This is how the poor people are compelled to take decisions that may even endanger their lives, while, there are people in the country who have no concerns for these people. Particularly, the authorities within the government and other responsible institutions have only managed to benefit themselves. As a result, the broadening gap between the rich and poor strata has reached to its extreme.

The widening gap between the rich and the poor or the class disparities can be best observed in capital Kabul. There are some tall, luxurious and magnificently built houses with visibly all the facilities of life while on the other hand there are houses that cannot be termed houses in the true sense of the word. Many of them are nothing more than tents that cannot guard the people against the severe weather conditions. Then there are many people who live without houses. They have to spend their nights along or under the different bridges in the city.

These disparities between the rich and poor are affecting the society as a whole. Though the stratification into rich and poor classes existed in Afghan society earlier as well, but it has changed its primitive shape; even in the urban regions the stratification is more like modern upper class and lower class division.

The capitalist system seems to be working for most of the developed and developing countries, properly. However, if this system has been working for so many countries, there are few pre-requisites that are maintained to a varying extent by these countries that have been helping the system to develop instead of facing a failure.

First, it has been made sure that justice should be maintained in its true spirit, i.e. it must not favor only the upper class; rather the upper class itself should be treated by the law and order system in the same way as the other two classes; namely, lower, middle and upper classes.

To put it in simpler terms it can be said that social stratification has not been changed to social injustice. Second, social mobility has been made very easy in such societies. Social mobility basically means movement from one social class to another.

While in Afghanistan the wealth has poured in without much accountability and weak check and balance system, therefore, the stratification has led to sufferings. The upper class in Afghanistan cannot be said to be in the form as it exists in an industrialized society. Rather, it includes the landlords, tribal heads and religious leaders. Both political and economic systems tend to revolve around these people who are in total control of entire wealth and its distribution. Further, it is also true that all these people do not seem to have the ability for what they are gifted.

There are millions who do not have the basic requirements of life and are compelled to live their lives in the remotest areas, without much support and attention. Food, cloth, shelter and other requirements like education and security are non-existent for them.

And at the same time there are people who own properties worth millions of dollars. These are all the results of an intense stratification. The poor do not seem to be having many opportunities of improvements in their lives and that means that social mobility, which can provide oxygen to a stratified society does not exist, while the social injustice is on the rise. The law and order system, instead of treating everyone alike, has served as the slave of the upper-class. The current scenario if goes unchecked can bring further misery to Afghan society.