Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

Why the Tree of Democracy Never Grows up in Afghanistan?

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Why the Tree of Democracy Never Grows up in  Afghanistan?

Although democracy is the most important factor in modernization and development of third world countries, it has not produced any positive outcome in Afghanistan. Now, two decades after nurturing the tree of democracy, every morning we began our morning with mourning of prominent flag holders of freedom and democracy in the country. The latest victim of democracy was Yosuf Rashid, the head of FIFA, who tirelessly struggled for implementation of free and fair election in the country.  Given the current chaotic conditions, these actions are not the first oppressive deed against democracy and will neither be the last ones. In last elections, many Afghan voters lost their fingers due to participation in a democratic process. These actions show that they have no logic and so they use violence to silence the voice of democracy and freedom while the government has no ability to defend from democracy and democracy supporters in the country
The first factor behind the failure of democracy in Afghanistan is dogmatic mentality of Taliban and Taliban-like people which is neither compatible with principle of democracy and nor acceptable for the people of Afghanistan. Although everything has changed after two decades in the country, the mentalities of these people have not changed yet. According to Hafiz Monsoor, a member of peace negotiators with Taliban who were closely in contact with Taliban, they have the same mentality about governance, women, human rights and freedom of expression, shia and so forth, that had 20 years ago. Instead of convincing people with knowledge and logic, they try to remove the main barriers of absolutism with using violence. In recent months, dozens of democratic figure media activists who were considered the major supporters of democracy have been assassinated across the country. Unfortunately, the government has frequently failed to protect people against terrorist attacks. If this condition continues, the people will fed up with democracy, presence of foreigners and even current system .
As the live and survivals of people are more important than everything else, the people may turn back to the government and system who provide no practical achievement against the increasing insecurity and disorders in the country. Therefore, we need to assess the past and plan for the future answering some important questions such why our democracy has not been able to overcome the challenges in last two decades?  Why it did not satisfy the needs of people? According to political theories, there are five important indicators which measure the quality of democracies. These basic indicators consist of «Election and pluralism », «Government performance », «Political participation », «Political culture » and «Civil liberties » .The growth rate of each indicator shows level of strength and stability of democracies and, conversely, the low graph of each indicator shows the weakness of democracy .
The next barrier against democracy is failure to reach a level of economic development in a country. It said that 90% of people are under poverty line and so many are compelled to join terrorist groups for the sake of their survivals. Now, despite Il-legitimization of war by Islamic world, no one leave Taliban groups meaning that most of them are fighting for fiscal reasons. Anyway, according to political scholars, the more economically developed the more chances to democratization. Economic welfare can promote the standard of literacy, education, and public media and eventually pave the way for meaningful political participation. Economic welfare can also mitigate the political tensions as it provide a good tool for the failed political elites to increase their legitimacy through providing privileges to the citizens in certain political conditions. In the other word, most of the public dissatisfactions are rooted in scarcity of economic resources, but if a country has a good economic capacity then the hand of political leaders are open to satisfy all the citizens .
In addition to economic development factor, a powerful free market can play effective role in decentralization of political and economic power in a country. It can also facilitate the people to monitor and limit the power as there are numerous tools to be used for such purposes. In free market system, government has more monitoring role rather than operational role.  In free market system, there will be more creativities, competition and productions. Most often, it will be controlled by the invisible hand except few cases which is beyond the ability of individuals and free markets. Overall, in free market system, the government will be small but society will be big and more active .
The third problem which acts as barrier against development of democracy is traditional social structure in Afghanistan. According to Huntington, if the social structure such as political parties, civil society, trade association, professional unions, religious groups, women groups, and labor unions and so on are relatively active and independent, they can play active role for control of power and can pave the ground for political and democratic institutions. One of the main reasons of dynamism of democracy in United State is the mobility of these middle groups. But if there is no middle group, the society is more vulnerable to go under domination of political power. Thus, one of the main problems of democracy in third world countries is lack of active middle group and lack of powerful bourgeoisie. As a result of these issues, the political power will be more centralized and more autocratic in third world countries .
The last but not least barrier of democracy is unavailability of a flexible culture. Although many Muslim scholars believe in no serious opposition between Islam and democracy, there are some extremist interpretation of Islam is incompatible to democracy. For example, some of the Salafi followers of Islam has a very inflexible interpretation from Islam that neither compatible with moderate Islam and nor with modernization. Fortunately, majority of Afghan people belong to Hanafi and Shia who both are moderate and compatible with democracy in Afghanistan. Therefore, the Taliban are expected to come down following moderate and rational interpretation from Islam .

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

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