Hello everyone, I am @IbrahimiNiamat wth a last thread about Hazara War. I appreciate your interest in the 1sth thread. In this thread, I make sme observations about what a critical understanding of incidents like this war mean for understanding of #Afghanistan history & politics
1. In 1893, the Hazara War ended with a total one-sided victory. No significant effort was to heal the deep wounds that were left behind by the Amir. In 1921, Amanullah Khan outlawed slavery but structural and socio-economic power relations that developed in 1893 persisted. NI
2. When he died, in the words of Prof. @BRRubin, the Amir left behind a ‘consolidated if terrorized state’ (2002, p. 52). That is to say, the state gained an overwhelming coercive power but the society it governed was left with deep traumas and wounds. NI
3. The Hazaras were not the only victims of the Amir’s wars. According to Martin (1907, p.142-57) who served as an engineer of the Amir in Kabul, the Amir had claimed that he ordered the execution of 100,000 people. NI.
4. For the Hazaras, the Amir’s reign created new political and socio-economic relations that marginalised them for decades to come. See a quote from Professor R. Canfield in the next tweet that captures the nature of these new relationships. NI.
5.‘There was the thoroughly effective subjugation of one ethnic group by another, and of one religious sect by another—a situation which, I suggest, progressively appears more like the social distinction between groups in a caste hierarchy’ (Canfield 1972, p. 6). NI.
6.This caste-like hierarchy was most powerful in Hazarajat between Pashtun nomads & local Hazaras. Nomads were given exclusive rights to Hazarajat’s pastures. They also took control of trade between d region and outside world. This is best documented by late Klaus Ferdinand. NI
7. The Hazara War and its trauma remain central to the social identity & collective consciousness of the Hazaras as a group. However, in general, Hazaras are not stuck in the past but they demand symbolic recognition of their experience and equal political representation now. NI
8. Present threats to Hazaras such as those by d #Taliban, Islamic State (d last w genocidal intention) or political marginalisation since 2001 increase d significance of past memories as it is common for groups to draw on their past memories to interpret/respond to threats. NI
9. The official and much of the nationalist historiography on Afghanistan neglect the experiences of Hazaras and other groups that were exposed to similar mass violence. History textbooks barely mention incidents such as the Hazara War. NI.
10. Incidents like d Hazara War r understudied for 2 reasons: 1) the obvious lack of data/archives (except for d seminal work of F. Muh. Kateb) 2), the hegemony of 19th-century colonial literature, which was mostly owned and internalised by 20th-century historiography. NI
11. 19TH-century colonial writing was preoccupied with an imagination of the lands that became Afghanistan as wild, tribal and uncivilised spaces. Hence, they sought to map it, conquer it, divide it, and violently tame its peoples. NI
12. Professor Hopkin’s book ‘The Making of Modern Afghanistan’, is an excellent introduction to the role of colonial imaginations and writing in shaping Afghanistan as a state. NI.
13.The mere existence of spaces that were not controlled by the empires or their local subsidiaries were seen as a threat. Hence, areas that were not controlled became known as yaghistan, a common reference not only the Hazaras but in fact the whole country. NI
14. The central assumption of colonial/nationalist historiography is that the outlying areas such as Hazarajat or Shinwar were sources of rebellion, disorder & backwardness; hence obstacles for d elites/colonial power’s grand plans for unification, progress & modernisation. NI
15. Consequently, Afghan/colonial historiography tends to treat these incidents either as marginal incidents in d history of bigger power politics or prices that groups had to pay for them to become civilised and get the benefits of modernisation and political unification. NI.
16. For example, the book of ‘Afghanistan dar masir-e tarikh’ by Ghobar, which is known for its critical approach towards the dominant historiography, only makes a few passing references to the Hazara War and the tragedy that followed it. NI
17. The late historian Hasan Kakar stands out for hs detailed assessment of the Amir’s reign. However, when it comes to experiences of subjugated groups, he repeats the same narrative that views d violence of d Amir as wars of ‘pacification’ against unruly & rebellious groups. NI
18. After every crisis, Afghan political thinking and imagination get preoccupied with an (often subconscious) desire to re-create the all-powerful government in Kabul that can tame and subjugate the periphery. Hence, the concentration of power in president's office in 2004. NI
19. Thus instability & political fragmentation gave a new life to the nostalgia for the past. It is often assumed that war and instability are externally imposed & critical voices are often actively sidelined/silenced under the pressure of the romanticisation of the past. NI
20. In conclusion, as the everyday miseries and sufferings across Afghanistan show, Hazaras are not the only victims of d atrocities & violence that have been inflicted on Afghanistan. NI.
19. However, through the histories of groups such as Hazaras, one can develop a critical bottom-up perspective that challenges the distortions of nationalist/colonial writing and places local communities and peoples at the centre of history, politics & future of d country. NI.
20. I would like to end this final thread by a quote from a speech by Professor William Maley, a preeminent scholar of Afghanistan in a conference in Sydney in August 2018: ‘Hazara rights are human rights and human rights are everybody’s rights.’ NI.
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