Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 17th, 2019

National Unity – A Crying Need

Lack of tolerance will undermine national unity in any society. Racial, ethnic and religious differences have split nations and triggered war and violence in human societies throughout the history. Bloody wars, including the World Wars, and civil unrests have outraged human conscience root in ethnocentrism, egotism and lack of tolerance. Parochial mindsets and radical ideology breed intolerance and put the rights and liberty of a nation at stake.
The escalated militancy and terrorism, which blackmail the entire world, stem from dogmatic ideology and religious intolerance. Persisting in their exclusive school of thought, religious ideologues exercise no tolerance toward others and trample upon one’s rights and dignity flagrantly. Presently, the establishment of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Taliban, Boko Haram, etc. that resort to violence and bloodshed are the product of dogmatic beliefs. Whenever accidental backgrounds are the bone of contention in a society, that nation will split.
In democratic societies, there live multi-ethnic nations with peace and harmony. People of different backgrounds treat one another with respect and dignity and seek to practice upon the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. There are common ground for a nation to nurture the spirit of brotherhood: (1) Culture, which is a set of arts, beliefs, values, customs and behaviors rule the individual and collective relations of a society and handed down from one generation to the next. Cultural values root in a nation’s beliefs, religion, history and language of a society which make distinction between a particular society and any other community. Similarly, cultural values rule the hearts and minds of a nation and embedded deeply in their conscience, feelings and emotions. (2) Equality on the basis of being human or citizen of a country without discrimination. It is stated in article 7 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.” Moreover, article 22 of Afghanistan’s Constitution declares, “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.”   (3) Tolerating a multi-ethnic/poly-ethnic nation with all their differences. In other words, national unity is obtained through cultural and social setups based on ethnic pluralism. Currently, people of different ethnicities live in a country and they have to tolerate one another as they are. However, if they claim superiority or discriminate against an ethnic minority, that nation will splinter and the discriminated group will resort to violence so as to defend its rights.
“Nation” has evolved within a long historical period based on common territory, economy, history and culture. Culture, which results in common sentiments and feelings for unity, is the mainstay of forming a nation. The common ground such as history, religion, economic interests, etc. among the people residing a particular territory is the main factor in nation-making process.
In a pluralistic society, where multi-ethnic groups live with multi-languages, neither the majority nor the minority are supposed to impose their culture or beliefs on each other. If an ethnic minority group suffers on the basis of its race, color or language, or be sacrificed for the interests of the majority, peace and unity will be replaced by violence and instability. Both groups should accept each other as they are and exercise tolerance about the differences if they want to strengthen their national unity.
Afghanistan is also a country with multi-ethnic groups and there is common ground for national unity such as religion, Islamic culture, nationality, etc. Constitutionally, the differences and varieties are accepted without discrimination and all Afghan citizens have equal rights and duties before the law. Distinction and discrimination on the grounds of caste, creed and color, social or political status has no legal or religious basis. Since all Afghans form a single nation, regardless of their accidental backgrounds, they will have to nurture the spirit of brotherhood and live with peace. Rather than differences, they are to focus on national commonalities and shared interests. Moreover, Afghan authorities, besides standing united, should underline national unity and inspire the sense of brotherhood among the nation.
Currently, Afghanistan needs national unanimity more than ever before. It is believed that there are many hands working behind the scenes to stoke sectarianism and split the nation. Why the militant groups seek to channel public attention to the differences? It is not an impromptu incident but a preplanned and systematic decision that has been mapped out by masterminds and the militants are the vehicle for carrying out their plans. Perhaps, there are also some who muddy the water through touching sore points or spreading propaganda in cyberspace just to create a national gap. Afghan nation should be on the alert for this issue and uphold national unity in the best possible way so as to live in peace and harmony.