Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, November 28th, 2020

The Root of Afghanistan’s Crisis from Perspective of Political Psychology


The Root of Afghanistan’s Crisis from  Perspective of Political Psychology

One of the main reasons for the collapse of governments and failure of policies in Afghanistan has been the disproportionate political and cultural approach to the general psyche of society at least in the last half century. Thus, the Political studies show that no political, economic, cultural or social strategies are successful without thorough consideration of social psychology.  Therefore, the psychological understanding of the Afghan people and society is one of the first steps towards peace and progress. Nevertheless, there are no systematic efforts in the country to see the problems from perspective of political psychology and provide scientific answers to many of the unanswered questions.
In the other word, there are many fundamental questions and problems which need fundamental and scientific responses while crucial approaches require scientific and research foundations which have not formed in the country. There are not enough facilities and attention for such purposes as everyone thinks as if he/she lives temporally in this country. Unfortunately, our universities are not places for scientific research and they merely repeat the scientific findings of others which carried out in different social and cultural contexts. Even go so far as they are not able to reflect the latest scientific findings. It is widely said that some of the university professors in public universities use chapters and resources which are entirely obsolete. So, without having a scientific approach towards ongoing crisis, the crisis would repeat for years and years in the future.
Although some may criticize that the political psychology has had excellent achievements with providing general scientific rule applicable for all human including Afghan human, we need to doubt in those general rule when not  work equally for all human societies as the historic experience  showed that Afghanistan and Afghan people are, somehow, different from others. No types of political systems including kingdom, Islamic system, Emirate system, democracy and republicanism have changed the political fortune of this land. Everyone seems being in competition in lawless, corruption, drug trafficking, traitorousness, joining terrorists and other illegal groups. So, we should doubt in everything and raise fundamental questions why wickedness and depravities are not ending in the country.
According to some scholars, every culture is like a kind of cage for human beings through its filters or glasses we understand the phenomena and shape our mentalities and views. For example, one of our unique features is sentimentalism. This, as a psycho-social characteristic, paves the ground for extremist leaders, racists and even traitors to provoke ethnic and religious sensitivities so as to fish in. In last parliamentary election, the technocrat groups of candidates with PHD and Master Degree lost the elections but some businessmen and tribal elders won the election. Thus, many social and criminal cases are rooted to this factor. Few years ago, Farkhunda was unexpectedly killed and ignited by emotion of few street people in Kabul. In general, it seems that sentimentalism is one the most destructive psychological barriers which not allow the nation unite and not let the country advance.
The next political characteristic of Afghan people is conspiracy theories. Although the conspiracy theories, somehow, used everywhere in the world but as Afghanistan has been a buffer zone between the Russian and British empires, and the two countries played major espionage and sedition games in the land their shadows have always exist in the mind and psyche of Afghan people. Therefore, people neither think and decide on the basis of evidence and nor undertake the responsibility of their action and behavior. Even when an old shaky house collapsed down after a rainfall abruptly it cited to foreign factor. Recently, many Afghan people were not ready to believe in corona-virus citing it as propagation of foreigners. Even some of the people blamed government for following the foreigners’ propagations.  Other example for that is not being comfortable with vaccination. Even it is heard that some families compelled their children to vomit after vaccination due to the rumor as if the vaccine is a program against Muslims. Few years ago, this controversy was refreshed when the CIA used a fraudulent vaccine program to track down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.  Thereafter, it was said that vaccine was made of unclean substances and so it weakened our religious faith. As result, the number of polio cases increased in certain provinces, especially in the areas under cultural domination of Taliban.
The other characteristic of Afghan people is collectivism, and weak tendencies for individualism. The collectivist People try to be the same as others. Even, our elites do not have the courage to criticize superstitions and myths and changed to a kind of religious and sacred principles blindly followed by a number of people. This characteristic not only prevent people think and decide rationally but also prevent them not to solve their social problems through talks and dialogue. In addition, some people consider everything as black and white. Most of the time we are not able to see others as a whole who have both positive and negative aspects and we must be able to accept them as they are. By and large, these and other features act as chain of backwardness not allowing society move towards peace, prosperity and rationality. 
As a final point, the question is how to break the chains of backwardness. Shall we still put the responsibly of backwardness on the shoulder of neighbors and foreigners?  Shall we still expect foreigners to build our country? The historic experience show that we cannot rescue from these crises unless take the responsibility of all delinquencies and then proceed for change. However, this article never denies the role of foreign interferences but want to repeat this old saying that virus come to those who are weak, not strong. No nation has yet become strong without strong educational and awareness system. Just education has such strong power to derogate this magic.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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