Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

Embracing Diversity

Living in a diverse society is always a challenge. This challenge becomes more difficult to tackle when there are conflicts within such a society. In some cases, these conflicts may last for several decades and bring nothing else to the society, except misery and destruction. Therefore, it is important to learn the ways of living in diversity.
In order to live with cooperation in a diverse society it is necessary to develop respect and tolerance for others. Without these factors it would be very difficult to tighten the social bonds. The diverse societies have inhabitants from different cultural, historical, religious, ethnic or sectarian backgrounds. Such societies, though have the advantage of being diverse and culturally rich, are very much vulnerable to conflicts as well. As there are groups of people with different ideologies and practices there are possibilities that they there may be frequent clashes and disturbances. Therefore, it is necessary in such societies that different groups should accept one another’s existence.
The tolerance for others can be best developed by realizing the fact that others have their reasons to be what they are. They have their own backgrounds and values and their own practices that have developed within them through their distinct history. However, human beings are not able to do so in so many cases. They, in fact, become the victims of extreme ethnocentrism. They observe and understand others in their own perspectives and try to judge them as per their own values, which does not give proper and just result. They have their analysis and understanding based on their own frame of reference, which is bound to be biased as they do not care for the objective truths.
The biased and ethno-centric approach towards others is bound to result in clashes and chaos. Such a scenario is really very much detrimental and can be utilized by others for their personal benefits. History approves the fact that the heterogeneous societies that have had clashes among their different groups were dominated by others who have not only strengthened those clashes through political means but have in fact pursued their own motives. In short, the societies that have such clashes are politically utilized by others and they suffer great loss as a result.
It is, therefore, essential for heterogeneous societies to develop a culture of co-existence. A sense of belongingness to a large body; may be a feeling for attachment to some national feelings, can solve the issue to a certain level. Binding themselves to national levels, the heterogeneous groups in the society may give up their trivial matters and start thinking in broader perspective. They have to be taught to understand that it is only through collective efforts that they can make their survival possible in today’s society. Their collective efforts can turn into a synergy that will provide them the possibilities of facing the overgrowing challenges of life with success and dignity.
Afghanistan is also one of the societies that are heterogeneous to a certain extent. There are people from different ethnic groups who have their sub-cultures. Though they have embellished Afghan society with variety but at the same time there have been instances when these groups have had clashes among one another. These clashes resulted in civil wars and influenced Afghan society negatively to a great extent. The other countries that had their interests in Afghan society used these clashes for their political purposes and further added fuel to the fire.
However, today Afghan society is standing in a different position. It is in a process of developing a peaceful life for its people. At this crucial juncture, it is really necessary that Afghan society must stand united and face challenges as a strong nation. It must not let the differences among different groups to dominate their national integration. The younger generation can play a tremendous role in this regard. They are educated and they have already experienced the consequences of decades of instability and wars; therefore, they can better decide which way to opt – coexistence or no existence.
It was said by famous English philosopher, Bertrand Russell, “It’s coexistence or no existence.” If Afghan people need to guarantee their national integration in the times to come when they will be tested by the challenges as the international forces are in the process of withdrawal from the country, they need to learn to hold each other’s hands tightly and try to help each other in nation building. They have to understand that the different groups in the country are basically different parts of the same body and without the support of any of them it would not be able to make the body complete and make it work and function properly. Otherwise, the socio-political circumstance may prove to be very much cruel and they may blow away, like light straws, all those who are divided.