Racism and dehumanization facilitate the condition for genocides to occur. The ongoing massacres and killings of Hazaras are the most severe manifestation of racism against Hazaras in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, but is the tip of the iceberg of an entire system of oppression. Ending Hazara genocide requires dismantling the racist structures that undergird it.
Sympathising with the Hazaras without acknowledging the ongoing silent genocide of Hazaras is like claiming not to be racist, without actively engaging in becoming anti-racist. Acknowledging the nature of the massacre of Hazaras is the first step towards building solidarity and genuine support.
The very establishment of Afghanistan is premised on Hazara oppression beginning during the reign of Abdur Rahman Khan (1880-1901) – that has continued to this day. The enduring political, economic, social, and institutional oppression has made Hazaras the most vulnerable ethnic group in the country. When Hazaras succeed despite institutional and structural barriers such as endemic poverty, discrimination, racism, and underdevelopment, they are often targeted and killed.
Hazaras are denied agency to identify as Hazaras – even when they become victim of the unceasing ethnically motivated attacks. Journalists erase the Hazara identity of these victims by calling them Afghans – a historically imposed identity that has undermined Hazaras agency and autonomy throughout the history of Afghanistan.
Even if the Taliban and IS were to disappear and Afghanistan settled into peace, Hazaras would still suffer just as we have for the past 130 years. Hazara oppression is structural and will not change until all Afghans reckon with their complicity in it.
Until its most vulnerable and oppressed group is centered, Afghanistan’s liberation is incomplete. Until every non-Hazara holds themselves, their nation, and their government accountable, we are far from putting an end to this genocide.
This process begins with you.