Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 24th, 2021

Democracy – Path to Peaceful Coexistence

Afghans hold out hopes that presidential elections will pave the ground for forming a civil society, where both men and women could exercise their rights and freedoms. Violation of fundamental and inherent rights and dignity of the public have been the main concern for Afghan people within almost the past two decades.
The Taliban guerilla fighters have been the main obstacle before democracy. They spilt the blood of combatants and non-combatants and trampled upon their rights and dignity to impose their warped mind on them. Both the Taliban ideologue and mercenary fighters undermined democratic principles and hampered the smooth implementation of law within the past 18 years.
To view Afghanistan’s history, religious fundamentalists played the most destructive role in Afghanistan through killing people and violating their rights and dignity. For example, civil war was triggered by fundamentalist individuals and groups, which destroyed the country and undermined the country’s economic and educational systems.
Meanwhile, a number of fundamental individuals protested against the modernist movement of King Amanullah Khan and excommunicated him from the society for his open mindset. Those individuals showed a strong sensitivity to women’s rights and freedoms as well as democratic principles. In short, religious tenets and rituals have been repeatedly capitalized on by religious fundamentalists, who still continue their destructive role.
To pave the ground for the establishment of a democratic administration and a society void of violence and conflict, Afghans have to embrace democratic values through participating in elections and exercising religious tolerance towards one another.
The reasons for both peaceful coexistence and conflict have been stated in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” Hence, if people respect the rights, freedoms, and dignity of one another, there will be no room left for violence and conflict. On the other hand, “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts”.
However, disrespecting and violating one’s rights and dignity have been changed into daily practices in Afghanistan. One’s rights and freedoms are violated in one way or another and warring factions have been the main violators of human rights in the country.
People’s rights and dignity are violated on the grounds of their race, beliefs, and sects in Afghanistan, which are against both the UDHR and Afghan Constitution. For example, a number of women are discriminated in individual and collective life on the basis of their gender.
It should be noted that gender discrimination has no room in Afghan Constitution, which states in Article 22, “Any kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan shall be forbidden. The citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law.”
To pave the ground for founding a violence-free society, all individuals have to respect the rights and freedoms of one another, exercise tolerance, and practice upon constitution and other national laws.
Meanwhile, warring factions have to understand that militancy and terrorist activities compounded the pain and suffering of Afghan people but never led to peace. The continuation of war will add to the public sorrow and people’s rights and freedoms will be violated. With this in mind, they have to stop imposing their radical ideology on people and reduce violence. Subsequently, they will also be able to flock to ballot boxes to elect their representatives and leaders.
Afghanistan’s history should be an eye-opener for each Afghan individual. Afghanistan has sustained the strongest harm and destruction from religious fundamentalists, who relentlessly persisted on the righteousness of their own mindset and denied any statements invalidated their ideology through violence and gun. If religious fundamentalists and tribal traditionalists did not resist against democratic principles, Afghanistan would have developed to a great extent.
To resolve their tensions, any individuals or groups have to resort to communication and debate rather than violence. For instance, the Afghan government has constantly called on the Taliban to resolve the issue through dialogue and stop violating people’s rights and freedoms. Communication and non-violent mechanism is the best way for mitigating the ongoing tension and conflict in Afghanistan.
Afghans have to participate to the forthcoming presidential elections to support democracy so that they could establish a violence-free society. On the other hand, warring factions have to stop targeting people, mainly those who seek to cast their votes for advocating democracy. The government is responsible to ensure the safety of the voters.