People –especially my family and classmates– often ask me how on Earth I can even entertain the notion that there’s still hope for a place as poor, corrupt, and wrecked by conflict as Afghanistan. My friends, out of respect for my convictions, generally hold their tongues, but I know they wonder, too.
Well, here’s one reason I still have hope.
From National Geographic:
“The Hazaras are producing the most enthusiastic, educated, forward-looking youth, who are seizing the opportunities provided by the new situation,” says Michael Semple, a red-bearded Irishman who serves as the deputy to the special representative of the European Union in Afghanistan. [Musa] Shafaq helped found the Center for Dialogue, a Hazara student organization with 150 members. The group publishes its own magazine, holds events promoting “humanism and pluralism,” and works with human rights organizations to monitor elections. Semple deems the group part of an emerging political consciousness among Hazara youth.
“We have a window of opportunity,” Shafaq says, “but we are not sure how long it will remain open.”
[..] it is hard for Hazaras like Shafaq to trust this moment. “I would like to see a place where the dreams of young people are attainable,” he says, “where there is a church and a Hindu temple, where other religions can exist. That is the aim of pluralism.”
With Afghans like Musa Shafaq, I feel tremendous solidarity. It won’t be the West or the international community that ultimately saves Afghanistan. It will be the Musa Shafaqs of Afghanistan. Outsiders can only work to give the leaders of Afghanistan’s dissident and progressive movements the resources, training, and allies they need to stay alive and, slowly, become social counterweights to extremism and cronyism.
If, against all odds, they are still working for and believing in a better future, we have no excuse for not believing in them.