To be an Afghan Today: The Imagination of Peace Amidst the Violence

Upon my return to Afghanistan after decades of being a member of the Afghan diaspora in Europe, I met professor Michael Barry. Professor Barry is a history professor and we both share an interest in Afghan youth, and he agreed to share his account in regard to Afghan youth today and Afghan history.

Kabul, the historic city known by its legendary rose gardens and ancient architecture still remains, but the city is bruised after four decades of war. Today, Kabul has 6 million inhabitants and the mountains around the city are filled with colorful houses. The otherwise blue sky is covered with pollution during the winter season and the streets trafficked with cars.

In Professor Barry’s view, Afghanistan has become a misrerabilist subject. The few people he observed were interested in academic study of Afghanistan are social anthropologists studying timeless nomad and farmer lifestyles, pre-Islamic archaeologists, and political scientists studying the current government. Combined, such works might limit Afghanistan to static pastoralism and the current context of civil strife and fragile reconstruction. “This narrative about Afghanistan, is horrifying as it disregards the dignity of the Afghan people.” Centuries of Afghan history, in his view, is gathering dust, ignored to the detriment of the people who are supposed to inherit it.


To read the rest of the article, go to The Fletcher Forum.

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