Intellectually abusing the Afghan way of life
Social and intellectual factors are the main contributors to the loss of faith; and since intellect and societies have changed the most in the West, the loss of faith is clearer and more pronounced there. that of Edward Gibbon The story of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and that of David Hume Dialogue on natural religion are two books which are considered to be the intellectual work that has done more harm than any other work in undermining the faith.
Even great scholars like Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and his concept that “God, soul and immortality can never be proven” attracted many followers at this time. Intellectuals undermined the growth of the faith, but the main social factors which in the 17e and 18e the centuries which contributed to the loss of faith are seen as the mentality of the working class, the concept of liberalism and the “anticlericalism” dictated by Karl Marx. What about Afghanistan today?
Afghanistan and the Afghan people are all absolute conformists and true believers in their faith. Regarding Afghanistan, we must keep these two things in mind: first, a strong faith in God unites the Afghan nation; and second, the clerics of this society are respected and liberalism has never guided and directed their way of life.
They did not go through the period of European emotional conversion to become like them, unconventional on one side or the other. They abhor Western democracy, not because they have read John Stuart Mill’s famous essay “On Liberty” (published in 1859) in which he speaks of the tyranny of the majority over the minority with the use of ” intellectual coercion ”, but only because they want to live and defend their own way of life. Mill asserted in this essay that “people come to power and, like the crowd of ages past, deny others the right to a difference of opinion.” One hundred and sixty-two years later, the Western world denies this right of difference of opinion to the Afghan people. The Western world accuses them of living in a medieval world at the 21st century, but it is their choice and their preference to shape their society as they wish. America has tried humanitarian intervention, it has tried democracy promotion, it has tried nation building, and most importantly it has tried the military counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategies in Afghanistan – all of them. these American preferences failed. The Americans have failed to build a modern culture or impose their kind of order, a democratic order in Afghanistan by military means. What suggests to them that they can do it now using non-military means?
Afghans must be allowed to make their own choices about how they want to remain deeply religious, have strong faith in their traditions and customs, and formulate an Afghan society and conceive of the role of women in it. These are questions that must be decided by the Afghan people. To critics who do not see the Taliban as true representatives of the Afghans, my question is: if democracy involves one man, one voice, then how many Afghans would vote to make a BBC dictated way of life? and CNN in Afghanistan in case a fair referendum is called to determine this?
Are the BBCs and CNNs of this world also worried about what women are doing in Papua New Guinea and how they are being treated in the Solomon Islands or a country far away in Africa? Afghanistan is fed up with the military treatment of the Western world and it no longer has an appetite for “coercive intellectual mistreatment” by the Western world whose media continue to have no sense of what it takes to be an Afghan or live an Afghan life.
Americans would do well to understand that their “transformational agenda” for the world has failed. It has absolutely failed in Afghanistan and the Middle East and this has strengthened the regional and global strategic position of America’s competing great powers, the revisionist powers – China and Russia. These rising rival powers of America do not want transnational threats to pose a danger to their neighboring province or their former Soviet republics. In view of this Sino-Russian concern, the world must be assured that with their allies and partners, these two powers will be able to build a regional security policy that will guard against such a danger emanating from Afghanistan.
The transformation of human beings into political beings takes place when they get information. The battle for the polarization of ideas at the 17the and 18e centuries and its informational influence has transformed almost all Europeans into political beings. In the information age we live in today, Afghans are also exposed to the same secularizing influences to which European society has been exposed in the past. Afghanistan and its people need peace, opportunities for self-reliance and time to evolve and modernize – and the world must afford it.
There is no industrialization, no urbanization, little education. The Afghan people therefore need time to evolve as a society. For now, they want to shape and not adapt as a society. Let us not forget that the vision we now have of enlightenment – that it was a good thing, a step forward, a necessary step in the evolution of the modern world – was not the 19e view of the century. Not so long ago this age ended in guillotine and terror, not only during the Napoleonic period, but under the reins of Queen Victoria.
At the time of this article’s publication, the interim government of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan is believed to have been sworn in. On this occasion, I would like to quote two Islamic thinkers. Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1838-1897) who spoke of the need for reform in Islam. He addressed the ulemas and religious scholars of his time and asked them what they could call themselves advisers if they could read the religious text but did not know the causes of electricity or the principles that guided the steam engine. . He described them as a narrow wick candle “which does not enlighten those around him or enlighten others”. The other Muslim scholar was Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) who served on the board of directors of al-Azhar Mosque, one of the most influential learning bodies in the Arab world. He has actively campaigned for girls’ education and for secular laws beyond Sharia law.
A golden age of Islam (8e to 14e century) ended with the collapse of the Abbasid Caliphate due to the Mongol invasion. For another golden age to begin, Muslim leaders not only in Afghanistan but around the world will need to realize that good policy is one that bends and adjusts to the demands of regional and global circumstances. A rigid policy, unsuited to the needs of the time, leads to discontent, public frustration, failure, siege, invasion and the end of such a policy.
Posted in The Express Tribune, September 12e, 2021.