Collective Work Can Help Shape Our Country’s Future

We put a lot of effort into creating stability and preventing change. However, the nature of life is not compatible with the kind of stability we desire. Therefore, to bridge the gap between reality and our wishes, we often create literature, history, and legends that depict a smooth, linear, and stable life. For instance, many patriots view their homeland as an eternal land that has been distant in the past and will remain so in the future. In this view, Afghanistan has a history of 5,000 years and its inhabitants are all, or at least most of them, the descendants of those from 5,000 years ago. There is debate over who actually came from those five thousand years ago and who joined the nation’s historical caravan later, but the origin of that history and fixed background is not questioned, at least in official policy. The reason for this may be our collective desire to escape from the ever-changing and unstable reality of political and social life.

Looking at the relatively documented history of this land over the past several hundred years reveals that campaigns and migrations both into and out of Afghanistan have never ceased. This is not only true for our country; all societies experience great transformations and displacements. Thus, homeland and patriotism are constantly changing, just like the dynamic nature of life. Those who fought for the sovereignty of Afghanistan at the beginning of the 20th century and called this land their father’s heritage have been scattered in several waves of power and economic transfer, making it rare to find the footprints of their children in the country. Additionally, a large group of patriots who left the country between seven and eight years ago, although they once mainly held power, are now scattered around the world and their children rarely have the desire or the possibility to return to Afghanistan.

With the Taliban regaining power, millions of Afghans have fled or are planning to flee the country. Thousands of Arab, Pakistani, Uzbek, Tajik and other fighters, who have been living in Afghanistan for the past few decades, have married, learned the local languages, obtained national identity cards and are now attempting to settle in Afghanistan. Regardless, some of them may become the demographic reality of Afghanistan in the future and their children will be involved in the dispute over who is a “true” Afghan and who is not. Among the large population of exiles and immigrants, many will be accepted and assimilated into the host societies in the future, and a group may return to their homeland. This demonstrates that homeland and patriotism are not as fixed and permanent as we may think.

However, there is an important distinction between today and the past. The concept of homeland and patriotism have evolved, and the current generation of immigrants have taken a part of their homeland with them. The sequence of migrations in recent decades, combined with the current large wave of migration in an age where virtual relationships are becoming increasingly prominent, have ensured that the relationship between foreigners and their homeland is not interrupted. This raises the question of whether this development will help the millions of exiles and immigrants who are in direct contact with their compatriots to play an unprecedented role in shaping the future of their country. The evidence suggests that one should be hopeful, particularly because the claim of sovereignty and the intention of a group to return to politics and society is alive in a large group of these immigrants and exiles. Mass movements have not ceased. It is hoped that Afghans abroad will make a significant contribution to overcoming the current crisis. The condition for this participation is collective effort.