Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 10th, 2018

Let’s Commit for Better Society in New Year

New Solar Year (1395) has just started and all the Afghans celebrated Nauroz (first day of the new year celebrated traditionally in Afghanistan as a welcome to new year and spring season) peacefully and hoped that the new year would bring them stability and tranquility. Afghanistan stands on a very crucial juncture. Most of the international forces have withdrawn and almost all the responsibilities of security now lie with the Afghan security forces. Taliban insurgents have multiplied their attacks in the areas that were not previously their stronghold. The country is now facing the threats of the growing strength of Daesh militants. Afghan security forces still require a great deal of support in equipments and training. Added with these challenges are the challenges of negotiating a peace deal with Taliban, which at the moment does not seem to be on track and the most important of the challenges would be guiding the nation as a whole toward a truly democratic society.
Apart from the reforms in the system and the challenges in the political life, there have to be changes in the individuals as well to achieve true democracy. As in a democracy, the people participate to a great extent and they have a dominant share in the affairs of the country, therefore, they can make a huge difference if they are vigilant, responsible and active.
One of the most basic requirements for democracy is freedom of expression. So, it is really important that a respect for it should be inculcated in individuals so that they are able to realize its true worth. All the individuals must realize that they have to express themselves freely and must not hesitate to disseminate their opinions, and should also reserve the same right for others. The behavior of democracy is largely based on the art of proper speaking and the patience to listen carefully. In democracy we should accept the sort of environment wherein we can be opposed openly. Those people who support democracy must want that the issues should be solved through dialogue and reasoning not through violence. They should understand that the opposite reasons should be listened to sufficiently and the claims should always be reconsidered.
However, in our democratic system, there is no proper respect for freedom of expression and there are many barriers in the way to free expression. The individuals are not confident enough to share their views regarding the corruption or the misdeeds of the ruling class. Even if they do so, there are possibilities that the ruling class may use its authority to subjugate them.
On the other hand, there are bans on media and particularly on journalists. The journalists or media personnel are, in fact, in danger of losing their lives if they intend to pursue truth. Both the authoritative members in the ruling class and the Taliban respond to the facts uncovered by the journalists with violence and intimidation. In the last year (1394) many journalists were killed for the same reason.
As a matter of fact, there is no tolerance for the difference in opinion and thoughts (Mahatma Gandhi had said that intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit). If we oppose or favor, we do it with our extremist approach. Our statements have taken the shape of threats. Some people have even started the attitude of calling others with different opinions as non-Muslims and infidels. The true spirit of democracy can only be found in the theories and promises; therefore, the people do not see the true practice of it and are ambiguous about it. This is really unfortunate that at this instance of hope and great expectations we are suffering from these problems; yet, we do not have to be disheartened.
It is never too late, and we have so many opportunities as well. We can start anew and make new commitments and turn them into tangible actions to change our fate. Highlighting the drawbacks and the problems are really necessary but to keep on talking about them and not working on their solution is a blunder, which we have to avoid in every possible way. This would be the only prove of our being a sensible nation.
If we really like democracy and democratic values, we would require making its prerequisites possible. We would need to feel our responsibility in order to lead our country towards true democracy; otherwise, the dream of democracy may shatter and we will not be able to recreate it. Though the roles of government and the people play a very important role in it, some of the responsibilities go to those leaders and religious scholars who have great influence in forming the opinion and the attitude of the people. They need to understand that instead of sowing the seeds of hatred and intolerance in the minds and hearts of the people, they can spread love and tolerance and they can really participate in forming an environment that is suitable for democracy.