Jun 16, 2013

Strengths and Weaknesses of Afghani people

Every nation has its strengths and weaknesses. Afghans as a nation, have some strengths and weaknesses too. Afghans are famous for being brave, hospitable and multicultural society among other nations. On the other hand, Afghans are also famous for being intolerant, conservative and tribal oriented society.

Throughout the history, Afghans have been well known for being courageous and brave. History indicates that Afghans have shown great courage against the foreign invaders. The historians tell us how boldly Afghans fought against Alexander the Great Soldiers. It is told by historian that the Alexander the Greats troop faced long period resistance in Afghanistan comparing to other parts of the world. In addition, if we go through some important parts of the afghan history, it also shows Afghans' courage against Khans, Britain and the Russians invasion.

Hospitability is considered as one of the most important factors of the Afghans culture. In afghan context, being hospitable is about welcoming guests at any time. Afghans always welcome guests to their homes. Every home has a special room oriented for guests. An afghan man might be poor but he welcomes and serves his guest according to his level of life. He might serve you a cup of milk or cup of tea with bread but the issue which distinguishes Afghans is, the factor of being happy and enjoying serving guests. Very good example for the afghan hospitability is, when you go or cross a village and you don’t know any one, you will go to Mosque. When villagers come to pray in the Mosque, they meet the guest there.  After prayers one of the villagers will take the guest to his home without knowing him personally.

Every country has its own cultural identity. It may alter deeply with other cultures or may share other cultures with some common grounds. Afghanistan has also a unique cultural identity. Afghanistan is a multicultural society. It has different ethnic groups who live in different parts of Afghanistan. Being a multicultural society is considered a strengthening factor for Afghanistan’s culture. Multicultural society doesn’t mean that different ethnic groups are living with different cultural identity in different parts of Afghanistan without having any cultural common ground or correlation with each other. In contrast, Afghanistan as a whole makes a unique one culture and all the small cultural values add and strengthen the overall cultural identity of the country. It might be very hard for foreigners to differentiate the cultural values of different tribes because their common grounds are more than the cultural differences. But it is also worth mentioning that these minor cultural differences enrich the overall cultural identity of Afghanistan rather than dividing Afghans in different cultural identity. In other words, it is like a garden with different flowers. Yes we have different flowers within one garden but they are all called flowers and all the flower add to the beauty of the garden.

Like every other society, the Afghan society has also some weaknesses or negatives factors in its cultural structure. 


In my opinion, the most influencing weakness of the Afghan culture is the tribal-dominance culture of the Afghani society. Despite that some tribal values are positively acceptable and they play positive role in the Afghan culture, but most of the tribal values are causing a lot of problems to the Afghan culture as a whole. Some tribal values are limiting freedom of speech. Some others are encouraging discrimination between tribes and some other values are limiting the rights of women or in other words most of the tribal values cause gender discrimination in the Afghan society. For example, in some parts of Afghanistan, the societies are divided in two groups. The first groups are the noble ones which include the owner of lands, traders, Nomads and the Maliks and the second group consist of small farmers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and hair cutters. The first group is leading group of the society or in other words, they are the superior group of the society and the second groups of people are common workers and they don’t have the right to lead the society even if they were capable of leadership. It is just because that they are from the inferior group of the society.

Most of the Afghans are intolerant to each other. Most of the Afghans don't have the willingness to accept each other’s differences. In the Afghan context belonging to the opposite of an ideology, group of people or a political party is not that much acceptable. Afghans can’t accept easily the differences in terms of thoughts, values and even different tribes. This factor plays very negative role in the society of Afghanistan. Being intolerance to each other paves the way to different social, political and ideological conflicts in the society.

The Afghan society is considered one of the most conservative societies in the region. In my opinion, being a conservative society is a weak factor of the Afghan culture. Our society’s conservative values or characteristics avoid our society from accepting and adopting modern values. Being conservative society might be good in some context but what we can observe in Afghani context is the over conservativeness of the society.  Despite that some of our society’s values are playing negative role but still our society resists keeping and reserving these values. Human beings share a lot of common values which are adopted by all people.

 These common human values might be valuable for our society but because these values are somehow against or different from our cultural values, we don’t accept it. It avoids us from living in modern world with its modern values and hence we might live with some values which are old enough for this period of time. I think it is the cultural value that takes us towards positive and negative changes, so if we adopt worldwide accepted modern values, it will take us towards positive changes and will bring more prosperity to our society. On other side, if we still keep our negative or weak cultural factors, it will avoid us from development and from being a prosperous society.

As it is obvious that every society has its strengths and positive characteristics and in the same time weaknesses and some negative characteristics. As mentioned above, the Afghan society has also its strengths and weaknesses. The important issue here is which factor of the society whether the strengths factors or weaknesses, are more influencing the society. In the Afghan context, the weaknesses are more influencing and dominating the strength factors of the society.

by Choonish


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