Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, February 23rd, 2024

Ethnocentric Mindset Leads to Violence

Afghanistan has undergone conflict and civil unrest in the wake of ethnocentric mindset and racial and religious superiority throughout the history. Racial and religious segregation played a highly destructive role in Afghanistan. People have been discriminated on the grounds of their race, color and creed. That is, racial discrimination and sectarian violence did not only hurt people emotionally and physically but also put peaceful coexistence at stake. The rights and freedoms of Afghan men and women were trampled upon simply for belonging to a particular ethnic or sectarian group.
The ongoing conflict is believed to stem from ethnocentric mindset and racial and sectarian superiority.
If racial and religious/sectarian discrimination continues and people treat each other on the grounds of their caste, color, and creed, peaceful coexistence is unlikely to be established in Afghanistan.
It is evident that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts” and brought untold sorrow to nations and human societies; “Whereas 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,” as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). 
In Afghanistan, to one’s unmitigated chagrin, contempt for human rights is still exercised by individuals, who hold or once held high political positions in the government machinery. Despite wearing tie, those political figures practice strong traditional and conservative mindset, which is appalling to the public.
Racial and religious rhetoric generates hot topics on social media once in a while. Those who outrage public conscience by ethnocentric words are strongly condemned.
Afghans have to learn the “art of living together” through practicing tolerance and promoting the spirit of brotherhood. All people are born free and equal and should not be discriminated on the basis of their racial or religious grounds. As far as people are discriminated simply for the color of their skin, peaceful coexistence and the spirit of brotherhood will remain elusive.
Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic community, where all are supposed to be able to exercise their rights and liberties regardless of their race and color. Forming “a civil society void of oppression, atrocity, discrimination as well as violence, based on rule of law, social justice, protecting integrity and human rights, and attaining peoples’ freedoms and fundamental rights,” as stated in the preamble of Afghanistan’s Constitution, needs accepting people the way they are and exercising religious tolerance.
Article 22 of the constitution stipulates, “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.”
Afghan people in general and Afghan political figures in particular have to stop spilling their venom regarding one’s sect and ethnicity and have to reaffirm their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women of the country.
Meanwhile, those who put peaceful coexistence of people of Afghanistan at stake through their words of hatred and hostilities have to be prosecuted. Generating rift between ethnic groups and dividing them on the grounds of their race and color will imperil the entire society. For instance, radical groups seek to capitalize on Afghans’ racial and sectarian sentiment so as to create division and tension across the country. Religious hardliners and fundamental groups have been seeking to foment sectarianism and shed the blood of people on the basis of their sect so that they could achieve their political objectives.
Ethnocentrism has room neither in national laws nor in international instruments. Those who air their ethnocentric views to humiliate an ethnic group or show their own superiority should get the blame since no one is superior or inferior simply for happening to be born in a particular ethnic or racial group.  Ethnocentric mindset and racial and ethnic superiority do not have moral or religious grounds, either. Hence, one has to respect the individuals’ ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs and ground their mindset on the principle of equality. One should be viewed and treated with respect for being human regardless of their sex, color, creed, etc.
Claiming superiority based on race, ethnicity or beliefs will lead to horrible consequences. If racial and sectarian violence does not come to an end, peace and stability will remain elusive. All individuals and layers of the society have to play their role in eliminating sectarianism.