Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

History Should be Eye-Opener for Afghan Nation and State

Soraya Tarzai, the first Queen consort of Afghanistan in the early 20th century and the wife of King Amanullah Khan, played an essential role in Amanullah’s modernization program. She became Amanullah’s comrade and the first Muslim consort to appear in public with her husband.
Soraya was always by her husband’s side at national events, hunting parties, cabinet meetings, wounded soldiers’ tents during the war of independence, and even in dangerous provinces.
Queen Saraya worked hard regarding women’s rights and education and became an influential figure in the country. She played an active part in the progressive movement of Amanullah, who sought to modernize Afghanistan similar to Turkey and Egypt.
Amanullah, being impressed by the intellectual attitude of his father-in-law Sardar Mahmud Beg Tarzi, tried for women’s liberation and paved the ground for women to exercise their fundamental rights and have access to education. Mahmud Tarzai, a modern thinker and the leader of constitutionalist movement who also served as Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs, supported Amanullah’s modernist movement and put great influence on both Amanullah and his daughter Queen Soraya.
Generally speaking, a number of women played very active and constructive role in Afghanistan’s social, cultural, and political arenas. Their footprint is felt in many spheres of collective life. Despite the patriarchal system and restrictive traditions of the country, they raised their voice against injustice and violation of their rights and freedoms. In modern days, some female politicians and civil activists echo the feelings of those women.
Although Afghan people celebrate the centenary of the country’s Independence, there are still a number of individuals, in the government’s machinery, who have played a destructive role in the country. In other words, those who were widely involved in civil unrest and denounced the modernist movement of King Amanullah are also celebrating the country’s Independence.
There are two reasons behind the failure of reforms and modernist movements in Afghanistan; First, the reformists did not consider the sensitivity and traditional culture of Afghanistan and pushed their movement at fast pace. But conservative figures and traditionalists were the main drawback before progressive movements. Those individuals denounced Amanullah and his movement and turned their guns against him.
Afghan nation will not forgive those individuals who undid Amanullah’s movement through their radical acts. They destroyed the country and spilled the blood of thousands of people under the mask of religion.
Moreover, the factions and individuals involved in civil unrest harmed not only Afghanistan’s cultural values and social norms but also destroyed the infrastructures and weakened the economy. Taking its independence a century ago, Afghanistan is still a war-torn, poor, and weak state.
Meanwhile, the civil unrest and conservative and radical movements put a highly adverse effect on social issues, mainly women’s civil and human rights. The parties involved in civil conflict or the current militant groups, including the Taliban, exercised patriarchal system, in which the women’s rights and freedoms has no room. Those misogynistic approaches sacrificed women’s rights, dignity, and gradual achievements.
Ironically, Afghan religious fundamentalists showed and are showing strong sensitivity towards women’s rights and freedoms but shed the blood of innocent people without a tinge of guilt despite the fact that the Holy Quran says that if one kills an innocent person, s/he kills the entire humanity.
To celebrate the independence, Afghan people have to ponder over history and seek not to repeat the past social and political errors. They have to exercise religious and racial tolerance and respect the rights and freedoms of one another. One should no more hurl vitriol at someone’s dress code or way of walking and talking. They should not discriminate women or ethnic minorities on the grounds of their gender, race or color.
Meanwhile, Afghan political and religious figures should not seek their self-interests under the mask of religion. They have to stop capitalizing on public sentiment and jeopardizing national interests simply to pursue power.
It is a great pity that Afghans celebrate the Independence Day in a fearful atmosphere. It is self-evident that Afghans paid heavy sacrifices for independence, human rights discourse, and democratic principles, a vacuum for the spirit of brotherhood and social harmony is strongly felt in collective life. Peace and prosperity still remains elusive.
It is not sufficient if Afghans simply admire the past and the achievements made during the past regimes. We have to ponder what we have achieved so far and ask if we have protected those achievements. What are the achievements of our current leaders and politicians? Both Afghan nation and state have to learn from the history so as to pursue the path of progressive leaders and not repeat the past errors.