The spiritual right-wing vs the secularists

A Taliban fighter seems on as he stands on the metropolis of Ghazni, Afghanistan August 14, 2021. Picture: Reuters

The Taliban victory in Afghanistan has elicited robust reactions. At one finish, Islamists the world over are celebrating; on the different finish, secularists and liberals the world over are in mourning.

At one finish, there are powers relishing their triumph; on the different finish, there are powers dressing their wounds. Institution and Islamist Pakistan is celebrating; Institution and Hindutva India is woeful. The US is smarting after its defeat – which Russia finds reasonably candy; the Chinese language are weighing worthwhile alternatives which can be opening up.

Ironies abound. The defeated United States and Nato are dictating phrases to the victorious Taliban. Probably the most vocal demand is for the Taliban to grant girls rights to training and work. Even the World Financial institution and the IMF have joined the fray. Ironic as a result of the Western powers and monetary establishments have by no means had any qualms about abuse of ladies’s rights elsewhere – a la denial of the suitable to work, drive or journey with out male escort in some allied international locations.

The ‘angst’ amongst world powers in regards to the welfare and rights of Afghan girls is simply a canopy. The actual agenda is political and financial pursuits. For Pakistan, the prize is strategic depth; for India, it’s a couple of foothold to encircle Pakistan and advance its strategic pursuits in central Asia. For the US, Russia and China, it’s entry to commerce and oil routes and to mineral exploitation rights in Afghanistan.

The political and diplomatic mayhem surrounding Afghanistan is prone to subside in the end. The conflict of strategic and financial pursuits will, nonetheless, proceed – couched, in fact, in lofty ethical and ideological semantics. One set of the talk is between the spiritual right-wing, on the one hand, and secularists and liberals, on the opposite; with the latter divided into the suitable wing and left-of-centre.

For the spiritual right-wing and right-wing secularists and liberals, the true divide just isn’t in regards to the political order, however of cultural values. The talk is a couple of lifestyle – gown, socialising, and so on. For them, the dominant questions are: will women be allowed to go to highschool; will co-education be tolerated; will girls be permitted to work; will males be required to sport beards, and so forth.

There are such a lot of single mom households in Afghanistan, the lads having been killed within the lengthy struggle. For these girls, denial of the chance to work quantities to a slow-motion dying sentence for them and their households. But, there should not even passing references to how they are going to be supported.

The spiritual right-wing thunders about girls and women protecting their heads and faces in public, however is unconcerned in regards to the intra-family, inter-personal ethical impression of poverty and poor housing. Documented proof in Pakistan exhibits tons of of 1000’s of city households dwelling in cramped one-room homes – even 10 to twenty to a room. There are tens of 1000’s of instances of married {couples} sharing the identical room with their dad and mom and female and male siblings – and procreating as properly. For right-wing secularists and liberals, the state of affairs is merely collateral injury of a sturdy market economic system.

If the problems had been political, the ‘angst’ between the 2 camps could be about what sort of socioeconomic order the Afghan Taliban will set up in Afghanistan versus what the secularists and liberals have been working with over the past twenty years. Within the occasion, the questions could be: will there be land reforms? Will there be progressive taxation? Will the rights of peasants and labour be enforced? And so forth.

Not one of the above questions are below debate. And that’s as a result of the spiritual right-wing and right-wing secularists and liberals are on the identical web page on these points. Each are snug with the unequal socioeconomic order that prevails and intend to let it prevail. Video pictures of the ousted Afghan vice-president’s palatial home and of the abject privation of the individuals is a telling touch upon the political agenda of right-wing secularists and liberals.

Poverty, unemployment, poor housing, illiteracy, lack of healthcare, maternal and toddler mortality, and so on, should not topics that concern the 2 sides materially. If the Taliban had been to shave off their beards and placed on Western clothes and the right-wing secularists and liberals had been to develop beards and put on turbans, they might nonetheless be speaking the identical bland coverage language.

Within the occasion, the poor in Afghanistan are prone to stay saddled with their deprivation and distress. The ladies among the many poor have by no means ever had entry to training, healthcare or first rate work alternatives. They’ve by no means ever needed to face questions on co-education or remedy by male medical doctors or working in blended workplace environments. Their plight will proceed as earlier than and proceed for use as a bogey for various stakeholders feeding off the struggling of the Afghan individuals.

The author was a member of the seventh NFC and is now a member of the tenth NFC. He tweets @kaiserbengali


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