Johnson 1 Miguel Johnson Professor Williams English 1A 27 July 2010 Cycle Of Unnecessary Hate Discrimination is an issue going on in countries

aside from ours. The United States had a couple of ethnicities fight for their rights. However, some countries still have people fighting for their rights. Afghanistan was once a peaceful place. The entire Muslim community was peaceful and did not mind other religions. However certain disputes took place, which is why the blood of civil war taints Afghanistan. Riots took place due to these different opinions (RE-XS). The Pathans were the more powerful tribe so their religion ultimately became the more powerful one. The Hazaras continued to try and be peaceful people although they were being beaten and killed. It can be hard to keep the peace when you are living the life of someone who is thought of as less than a person. To this day they protest in order to keep the rights that they worked for and to gain more (Black). In the novel The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini accurately represents the conflict between Pashtuns and Hazaras, by explaining the form of religious hate they have towards each other, and the way Pashtuns treat Hazaras, through a child’s point of view. This ultimately makes the reader realize that children have discriminating tendencies too, in which they develop from their parents. It also raises the theory that if children have these tendencies, the discrimination will not be abolished. However, individuals can choose not to be influenced by their surroundings.

Johnson 2 The Pathans are the dominating ethnic group of Afghanistan. Before 1978, they took up about fifty-one percent of their country’s population (“Afghan Network”). According to Magnus and Naby, the Pathans are the “primary ethnic group” (12). They are “tribally organized” which means that even though they are all Pathans they had separate groups (“Afghan Network”). They were also known as Pashtuns and this name came from a Pashtun dictionary. The word Pusht means “back,” and, according to Salman Hakim, Pathans lived in the back of mountains. They were known by the Persians as Pashtuns (Hakim). Their main language is Pashto and some Pathans tend to have a “nomadic lifestyle” (Hakim). Meaning that they continue to move from place to place while carrying their belongings. The others live in regular home and grow fruits such as apples and grapes. The most important fact would be that the Pashtun religion is mainly Sunni Islam. Sunni Islam is the largest branch of the Islamic religion (“Religion Facts”). They believe that they are followers of the prophet (“Religion Facts”). They base their religion on the Quran and the Sunnah (“Religion Facts”). There may be many ethnicities in Afghanistan but the Pashtuns are the most populated and the highest in social status. The Hazaras are a minority tribe in Afghanistan (“Afghan Network”). The Hazaras are actually mixed with ethnicities such as Dari, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Mongol, and Turkish (Black). Because of this the language they spoken is influenced by all of these different ethnicities and they call it “Hazargi” (Black). Amir from The Kite Runner mentions that with their Mongol decent they look “a little like Chinese people” (Hosseini 8). They are unfortunately used as slaves or servants like Hassan and his father were in The Kite Runner. Their religion is also a form of Islam called Shi’a or Shi’ite Islam. However, Shi’a was not always the minority religion. This religion had all Muslims

Johnson 3 following until people began to have differences. That is when they split up and Sunni was created. Hazaras underwent such discrimination for a few reasons. One reason is the religious difference between Shi’a and Sunni. The prophet Muhammad was dangerously ill and he knew he did not have much time. When he died there was a discrepancy with who would take leadership, Hazrat Ali, the Prophet's young son-in-law or Abu-Bakr, an uncle of the Prophet (Sinha 2). Aku-Bakr won the election because there were more Sunnis then Shi’as so Aku-Bakr had more votes. However, Aku-Bakr was old and died soon, which gave Ali another chance to become the leader. He once again did not win the election and after the new leader died he lost another election. When the newest leader died early too they decided since Ali has lost so much they would make him leader. In the words of Sinha, “The controversy between Shi’as and Sunnis is this: the Sunnis believe in all four caliphs; but the Shi’as believe only in the fourth and last caliph, Hazrat Ali” (Sinha 2). The Sunnis recite a prayer showing deep respect for the four caliphs (leaders) including Ali (2). On the other hand, Shi’as recite a prayer cursing the first three caliphs and praising Ali. The Shi’as say that the first three caliphs forcibly took the position that Ali should have had from the beginning (2). Sunnis could not tolerate them cursing their caliphs, which started the conflict (2). Although Shi’a and Sunni have some similarities involving beliefs such as the five pillars of Islam it is not enough for them to discontinue the violence. Hossenini knew of this and had Amir show with few words that he knew what he was talking about. Hossenini may have not described this part of the conflict thoroughly but he is accurate. In The Kite Runner, Amir reads a book and notices that it states that Hazaras are

Johnson 4 Shi’a and Pashtuns are Sunni. He shows his teacher and he replies, “That’s one thing Shi’a people do well, passing themselves as martys” (Hossenini 8). Amir explains that his teacher “said the word Shi’a like it was some kind of disease” (8). Meaning that by his facial expression, it can be implied that he was Sunni and he is not fond of the Shi’a people. It helps back up the fact that there is a conflict between the two religions. Proving that Hossenini was accurate but not detailed. The Hazara people have difficult lives. Although they were also discriminated because of their race there is little information as to why. Though they still go through horrible treatment each day. Unfortunately, they may wake up and have a normal day for a few hours, then be kidnapped, killed, tortured, raped, or beaten (Black). The Hazara can be divided into two groups: Hazaras who live in Hazarajat (In Central Afghanistan) and Hazaras who live outside of Hazarajat (Program). The Hazaras that live outside of Hazarajat “live in and around Kabul, Heart, Mazare-Sharif and Samangan province” (Program). As they are living in these places, just like The Kite Runner, the Hazara people are used as servants and laborers (Program). Which proves Hossenini was accurate when writing this in his book. Hossenini portrays that because the adults of Afghanistan are discriminating then the children will be too. In The Kite Runner, Amir grows up in an environment where Hazaras are thought of as less than people. He hears names like “flat-nosed” and “loadcarrying donkeys” being spat at his Hazara friend Hassan and these insults are coming from children (Hossenini 8). Also, Assef states that Hazaras pollute the Afghan land (35). Pashtuns see Hazaras as intruders or unwelcomed visitors and they need to be taken care of. However Khaled Hosseini also implies in his novel the conflict between Pashtuns and

Johnson 5 Hazaras morphed to racism Some may say that the Hazara Conflict was based on the Hazaras Mongol features, meaning it was based on race. However, due to the children’s ignorance and their parents’ teaching, the struggle between Pashtuns and Hazaras became a racial issue. For example, Hosseini shows the ignorance of the children when Amir is looking for a book about Hazaras, because all he knows about are their features. Due to lack of knowledge, the children would not know any better so they would just go based off appearance. The children would yell random insults at Hazaras, acting like their parents. For some the only thing they knew of Hazaras was that they looked like Chinese people (Hosseini 8). There is scarce information as to why Pashtuns have a form of hate towards the Mongol decent, however Pashtuns continue to express this hate. With all these insults coming from children under eighteen it reinforces the fact that children are influenced by their surroundings. Pashtun children notice their parents and other elders discriminating against Hazaras, which make them think their actions are acceptable. As Hassan is about to be raped a thought goes through Amir’s head. Rather then going to save his friend he thinks, “He was just a Hazara, wasn’t he” (Hossenini 68)? Basically making him seem like less then human. The adults and other children influenced Amir. Proving that Pashtun children are discriminating too. As the children grow up they may also have children and pass down these discriminating tendencies. This in turn creates a cycle of unnecessary hate. With this cycle going on the discrimination will not be abolished. An individual can change what they believe is right or wrong. When Amir is older he goes back to Afghanistan to save his Hazara nephew. This shows that all Pashtuns are

Johnson 6 not bad and that some even fall in love with Hazaras. Once Amir’s task is complete, his father in-law asks him why he brought back a Hazara boy and Amir defends him despite the discrimination he grew up around. Unfortunately, these few individuals cannot change the mind set that most of Afghanistan has. When adult Pashtuns have this discriminating mind set and they are passing it down to their children, the violence will never stop.

Works Cited Amin, Hussein Abdulwaheed. "The Origins of the Sunni/Shia Split in Islam." Islam For

Johnson 7 Today. Web. 18 July 2010. Hakim, Salman. "Pathans." Mnsu.edu. 2009. Web. 18 July 2010. <http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/oldworld/asia/pashtun.html>. Black, Crystal. "The Hazaras." Mnsu.edu. 01 Mar. 2001. Web. 18 July 2010. <http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/oldworld/asia/hazaraculture.html>. Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2003. Print. Magnus, Ralph, and Naby Eden. Afghanistan: Mullah, Marx, and Mujahid. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998. Print. "Pashtuns of Afghanistan." Afghan Network INteractive. WebMedia INteractive., 19972002. Web. 18 July 2010. "Program for Culture and Conflict Studies at NPS - Home." Naval Postgraduate School. 27 Oct. 2008. Web. 25 July 2010. <http://www.nps.edu/programs/ccs/Logar.html>. Sinha, Arun. "Shia-Sunni Conflict." Economic & Political Weekly 13.45 (1978): 1841842. CSUDH. Economic and Political Weekly, 11 Nov. 1978. Web. 19 July 2010. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4367078>. "Shi'a Islam." RE-XS for Higher Education. Web. 18 July 2010. <http://philtar.ucsm.ac.uk/encyclopedia/islam/shia/geness.html>. "Sunni Islam - ReligionFacts." Religion, World Religions, Comparative Religion - Just the Facts on the World's Religions. Religion Facts, 2004-2009. Web. 18 July 2010.

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