Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 9th, 2019

Harsh Rhetoric and Misjudgment Self-Destructive

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Harsh Rhetoric and Misjudgment  Self-Destructive

With the increase in harsh rhetoric and discord over the result of presidential election, mistrust between Afghan officials will grow further. Both officials and political leaders are strongly engaged in conflicting statements and rhetoric.
The proponents and opponents of officials and political leaders are also deeply involved in spreading rumors, unconfirmed reports, and destructive and self-destructive statements. They have their say on social media against one another. That is, social media have been changed into a platform to speak their mind negatively of one another.
The aggressive and offensive attitudes of individuals and the spread of rumors will narrow the room for true understanding and reports for the public. It will be highly baffling for Afghans to know the truth. The supporters and opponents of Afghan high-level officials act in an irresponsible way. They simply claim or express their ideas based on personal interests rather than facts.
The relentless negative statements and aggressive rhetoric is most likely to fill the public air with mistrust. If officials and leaders remark openly to the detriment of one another’s reputations, the rift not only between themselves but also between people and officials will grow wider. In other words, the public have already lost their trust in government officials and political leaders with persistent challenges within the past years and the low voter turnout suggests that people no more believe in democratic principles or trust officials’ sincerity since their rights and freedoms were trampled upon to a large scale. The past offensive rhetoric of officials within the government machinery left little room for trust and optimism. If the same trend continues, the wall of mistrust will grow taller between state and nation.
It is self-evident that the president election has been a divisive issue as a result of ballot-stuffing and voting fraud, but officials have to stop speculations. The repeated delay in vote-counting shows that the election has been rigged and resolving the issue is really tough and time-consuming for the Independent Election Commission.
To consider the electoral rigging, it is hard for ordinary people to engage in fraudulence, therefor, officials are believed to be embroiled in the issue. When I asked some individuals for not participating in the election, they said their votes would make little change since voting fraud would take place. Hence, if officials and law-enforcers violate the law, there will be no other sources to refer for judgement.
Law-breaking by the government and officials has been one of the main issues which made the public to lose their trust in the government. Afghan Constitution and other national laws were violated in the worst possible way within the past five years, especially by the government officials. The appointment of individuals in higher positions within the government, including the ministerial position, has been a bone of contention between heads of National Unity Government. As a result, some have served as acting ministers in case of not being approved by the parliament till now.
It will be difficult for officials to win the public trust in case of continuing their self-interests at the cost of national interests. They show know that they are under the scrutiny of the media and their words and acts will go viral in a minute. They should speak and act responsibly and hold public interests into consideration.
Meanwhile, the proponents and opponents of political leaders should stop exploiting a free and open platform such as social media and talk based on facts rather than speculations. They should not risk their own reputation by resorting to self-destructive words. Moreover, they are not supposed to mix facts and fictions, which will automatically add to the public confusion.
Rival factions and political figures have to compete positively and stop harming one’s reputation. It is neither acceptable nor legal to hurl insult at each other or resort to misinformation and accusations to damage one’s prestige and personality. In short, political figures should not empty themselves from virtue and moral values simply to gain a high position and income.
To this end, freedom of expression needs to be used in a healthy manner. Political leaders should compete constructively and treat one another with respect. Meanwhile, their supporters should have their say within the limits determined for the freedom of speech. They are allowed to criticize constructively, but not target one’s name and reputation through speaking or writing aggressive words. In short, they have to bridge the gap between people and political figures and officials.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan and freelance writer based in Kabul. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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