第六天 阿富汗的哈扎拉人──Day 6 The Hazara people of Afghanistan
For English version, please refer to the latter part of this page
Day 6 The Hazara people of Afghanistan
At 16 years old, Marzia Mohammadi had many dreams. At the top of her bucket list was to meet the award-winning novelist Elif Shafak, followed by visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris and eating pizza at an Italian restaurant.
Some of her other wishes were more ordinary, like wanting to ride a bike and walk in the park late at night.
But on Sept. 30, 2022, the Hazara Afghan teenager’s dreams came crashing down in a suicide bombing attack at the Kaaj education center in Kabul’s Dashte-Barchi neighborhood, a predominantly Hazara populated area in Afghanistan.
Marzia, alongside her cousin Hajar, was taking a practice test for a national university entrance exam. Both girls aspired to be architects. They were among the 53, mostly young women, who lost their lives that day.
This incident is just one of countless attacks directed at the Hazara people in Afghanistan, an overwhelmingly Shia Muslim community disfavored by the nation’s Sunni Muslim majority population. They also are often singled out for their physical features.
The Hazaras are arguably one of the most persecuted people groups in the history of Afghanistan and the world. For over a century, they have endured oppression and discrimination like no others. Some estimates suggest that more than half of the Hazara population were massacred, sold as slaves or forced to flee to other countries in the late 19th century. Once the largest Afghan ethnic group, the Hazara people today constitute approximately 9% of Afghanistan’s 40 million population.
Since the fall of Kabul in August 2021, the community has become increasingly vulnerable to unlawful assaults—to the point where many do not feel safe leaving their homes to attend religious services, school or seek medical attention. With barely any representation in the current government, the community does not have much of a political voice.
Bearing the brunt of the political upheaval are Hazara women, who suffer not only for their ethnicity and religion, but also their gender. Traditionally, the Hazara community has placed a strong emphasis on education for both males and females. Shortly after the government takeover, however, girls were barred from attending school past the sixth grade. And just a few months after the deadly bombing that claimed the lives of Marzia and Hajar, only male students
were allowed to enroll in public and private universities.
Some other challenges women face include being banned from their workplaces, being forced to take a pay cut, as well as restrictions on freedoms and movements.
It would be remiss to not highlight the incredible resilience, determination and grit exhibited by the Hazara people amid all they have experienced. Though rarely covered in mainstream media, numerous Hazaras are trailblazers in their own right, having risen above the odds to attain progress and success.
After learning that they could no longer go to school, Marzia and Hajar took matters into their own hands and began preparing for the national university exam, knowing it was their ticket to furthering their education and fulfilling their dreams.
Week after week, they would take the practice test at the education center, each time doing better than the last.
“My Marzia and Hajar were such amazing girls, so different than others their age,” Zaher Modaqeq, the girls’ uncle, told Al Jazeera. “I wish more people could have known their determination. They could have inspired many. I believe they still can.”
Dear God, I lift the Hazara women of Afghanistan to you in prayer. Thank you for the team producing the Word of God programs. Give them clarity as they write the scripts. May Hazaras, deeply loved by you, see a breakthrough from fear, hurt and insecurity to peace and comfort in Jesus.
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