Last Sunday was a shocking day for Afghanistan but the World Media talked about it very little; more than 90 innocent civilians were killed and dozens were injured when an electoral registration center for the upcoming parliamentary elections was attacked in a Hazara area in the West of Kabul.
In this bloody attack, which was soon claimed responsibility by the so called ISIS in Afghanistan many children and women were the victims; the women who were there to get their voters’ ID and the children who were on their way to school.
This last one was the eleventh of such horrible attacks on Hazara areas since early 2017. A number of Hazara mosques, a couple of schools and some cultural centers in Hazara neighborhood were targeted in this period whether by Taliban or the so called ISIS who consider Hazaras as infidels and permit themselves to kill as many of them as possible.
Based on the latest evidences a lot of Afghans are reluctant regarding the coming elections in October for several reasons; some for security reasons while a great number of people have lost their faith in democracy processes and the transparency in the elections, having experienced huge frauds in the 2014 fraudulent presidential elections while a lot more believe that most of the politicians are corrupt and by not going to vote, they can express their objections and ban the elections. Some even believe that elections can not change anything; everything is decided already by the Westerners, considering the formation the National Unity Administration.
In the midst of hope and reluctance there is a particular ethnic group in Afghanistan that may still resist and believe in democracy and peaceful processes for a better Afghanistan; they are the Hazaras.
Known As One of the Most Persecuted People on the Planet by The Atlantic, the Hazara natives of Afghanistan have passed a long suffering history in which they were massacred in thousands and their lands were confiscated by tyrant kings of Afghanistan and they were displaced to different parts of the country during the decades.
Based on reports from Aljazeera, CCTV America and Minority Rights Group International, once this ethnic group made up to 70 percents of the Afghanistan population until the end of the 19th Century but then their numerous genocides by Amir Abdul Rahman Khan during 1880s- 1890s reduced them into the third largest ethnic group that is believed to make up to 25 percent of the actual population of Afghanistan.
The Hazaras today known as the friends of democracy and progress in Afghanistan have so far played a major role in the democratization process of Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban Regime in 2001.
By their magnificent presence in the past elections and peaceful transition processes they’ve given legitimacy to the elections and they’ve demonstrated to the world that democracy and progress could come only if there are peaceful, legitimate and fair election processes to bring changes for the betterment of the country. Thus they are known as banks of votes by different candidates of other ethnicities but after the elections are over; their share of power or resources has always been insignificant in comparison to their votes.
Being ignored for long time and having experienced racism and systematic discriminations applied by the Afghan governments on them in the past, the Hazaras grew a kind of thirst for justice, equality and progress that springs out and pushes them to be the pioneers in any process they see useful for development and stability of their country always hoping to take a relaxing breath far from persecutions and oppressions enjoying peace, equality and brotherhood.
For instance, despite their economical poverty because of deprivation from foreign aids for building roads and schools in their areas, the Hazaras themselves invest on education and have the highest literacy rate in the country; as a result the best private universities in Kabul and provinces are built by the Hazara scholars while until fifty years ago, they were not permitted to pursue studies until high schools by discriminatory governmental official decrees. Regarding education, there is a common saying in almost every Hazara family; “if you have two coins in your pocket, one is for bread and one is for a pen and a notebook.”
During the Taliban rule on Afghanistan, the Hazaras were massacred in thousands and many more were forced to flee their country for Iran, Pakistan, Europe and even Australia thus today they make the biggest Diaspora from Afghanistan. The Taliban’s fall in the beginning was considered a new era of hope for the Hazaras to compensate the loss of those dark years by hardworking and investment on education, sports, arts and especially women empowerment in the society but their rewards were the vice versa in the following years and they were once again ignored by the government and were removed from their participation in the government and public offices.
With their hardworking efforts and huge investment on education for male and female, the Hazaras currently own hundreds of thousands of Bachelor Degree holders from within Afghanistan and hundreds of Master Degree holders and several PHD Degree holders from prestigious universities of the world, which is a tremendous human resource for rebuilding Afghanistan, but due to existence of systematic racial discriminations against them, they still get refused from governmental jobs.
Need not to mention the number of Hazara athletes, writers, journalists, poets, filmmakers and artists who have achieved hundreds of medals and prizes as credentials for Afghanistan during the last seventeen years.
They also keep the record of the first female governor in Afghanistan, the first female mayor and the first female minister after the fall of the Taliban.
In spite of doing all these good things for Afghanistan, their Turkic- Mongolic physiognomy makes them the victims, a recognized group, which most of the time bring them bad luck; the terrorists recognize them easily and target them easier as they did so far, on the other hand, the governmental offices also recognize them more easily and keep them away from hiring. .
The Bonn Agreement in 2001 which was held after Taliban’s overthrow, had diagnosed, “injustice and inequality” as the main seeds of conflicts in a multiethnic Afghanistan, therefore the ethnic groups had to be given shares of public wealth resources based on their population and their presence, there the Hazaras were given a 20 percent share promise which remained unfulfilled until today.
Since the new era, it’s been almost seventeen years that the Hazaras thrive in education, arts, sports, literature and inventions, but they continuously suffer racial and ethnic discriminations wherever they refer to. They make efforts for democracy and progress in a country where guns talk louder than any other thing.
To get rid of existent discriminatory and dirty policies in the Afghan governmental offices, they not only have to combat for their basic rights as equal citizens as everyone else, but they also have to make more efforts to support and encourage democratic participations of the mass. They propose national innovative programs for change and betterment of the whole country such as nationwide literacy program or general book distribution program for children throughout the country.
In the end of 2015 as a part of Hazara target killings, when 31 Hazaras went into hostage in the hands of terrorists in south Afghanistan, seven of them were brutally beheaded including two women and a 9 year old child named Tabassom. This horrible killing caused a nationwide rage against the incapability of the Afghan Officials and formed a movement named Tabassom after the child victim. In November 2015 with hundreds of thousands of people marching towards the presidential palace, Tabassom Movement was the biggest ever civil movement formed in the history of Afghanistan and made a historical record.
A few months later in 2016 when a shocking report on misleading the route of TUTAP, the imported 500V transmission power plant from Turkmenistan, was revealed by a national newspaper, the Hazaras formed another civil movement to stand against injustice and systematic discrimination. Based on the Fichtner experts’ advices, for technical and economical reasons the transmission power plant had to pass through Bamiyan in the central highlands but it was rerouted by the Afghan Government, because Bamiyan was the Hazara inhibited province and they did not deserve such a project.
The second movement is known as the Enlightenment Movement. As the Afghan government kept neglecting the Hazaras, this movement continued its protests by rallies in the capital and other cities to correct the route of TUTAP power plant. On July 23rd 2016 The Enlightenment Movement biggest rally was targeted by a suspicious explosion in Dehmazang Square in the West of Kabul which left 85 killed and 400 wounded, most of victims were educated up to Master degrees that was the end of Hazaras’ hope for betterment in Afghanistan.
After the attack on Enlightenment Movement in Dehmazang in 2016, a lot of Hazara youth are hopeless from the International Community. They believe the International Community is here in Afghanistan just to support a bunch of corrupt Afghan government officials who are on power and not the mass grassroots who make the real change in the country. These young people do not believe anymore in sincerity of the Western counties and their real intentions for their presence in Afghanistan; some believe that the NATO forces are failed to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan as they could not guarantee safety for the Hazaras and other vulnerable ethnic groups. They think fancy words such as “Democracy”, “Global Values” and “Human Rights” are beautiful words in fantasy but not in real world at least in Afghanistan.
“Through the years the Hazaras did their best to support democracy, peace and stability in Afghanistan in different ways and they have strong proofs but their rewards were their genocide, their target killing and a systematic discrimination against them despite presence of the NATO forces and several countries of the International Community in Afghanistan.
But when they arrive to the edge of non existence, like the situation of nowadays they may take guns instead of pens for the purposes of legitimate self-defence and simply for their survival, and to establish their basic human rights, which is of course not an easy decision to make.”
It’s the saying of a survival of Dehmazang attack on Enlightenment Movement.
Despite its critical security condition and human crisis, Afghanistan once again appears to be a forgotten land for the International Community or the Western Countries that are involved there with a heavy military presence for almost two decades as its supporters and stakeholders.
The Western intervention in Afghanistan first known as Operation Enduring Freedom that overthrew the Taliban Regime in 2001 has been losing its sense and direction gradually; the initial mission that was supposed to eradicate the terrorism from Afghanistan, it now nourishes and caresses terrorism and increases war and destruction and encourages more killings of the innocent civilians day after day as yesterday’s most dangerous terrorists have become Mr. President’s Dissatisfied Brothers today! The President that is appointed by the West!