Among the Hazaras of Kabul. «Again discriminated against For the Taliban we are slaves of the infidels» – Corriere.it

from Lorenzo Cremonesi

The Shiite minority lives in terror of new persecutions

The Hazaras today have a damned fear of the Taliban. The circle has come full circle: from the painful memories of past persecutions, followed by the happy twenty-year parenthesis of social promotion in a community of equals guaranteed by the international coalition, to the sudden return of anxieties for a future of segregation and oppression. “In three weeks, since the fall of Kabul on 15 August, we have fallen to the bottom of the Afghan social ladder. The Taliban will retaliate. They won and we Shiites we are now at their mercy»Say young and old. We met them in the Barci district, inhabited by 1.8 million Hazaras, their stronghold in the capital, which today has almost six million people in all.

High cheekbones, almond-shaped eyes, sparse beards, are among those who most tenaciously try not to take off Western-style shirts and trousers to go back to dressing shalwar kameez traditional rules imposed by the new masters. “They stop us by ordering to leave the clothes of the infidels at home. But in truth they do it because we are Hazara », they recall in chorus. Women reject the burka and prefer flamboyant shawls, which do not cover the whole face. Their Asian features are clearly distinguished from those of the long beards and sharp noses of the Pashtun Aryans with large turbans on their heads.

They seemed to be distinctions overtaken by modernity. But the return of the Taliban brings them back strongly. The just under 7 million Hazaras (20% of the country’s population) fear like the plague about 14 million Pashtuns. Who thought that the dynamics of social distrust, so well told in Kite Hunter by Khaled Hosseini, were by now dead, he would discover by coming to Barci how much they are now more alive than ever. “Journalists beaten to death while filming the women’s protests were Hazara. And so were the arrested protesters. The militia of the Pashtun peasants who arrived from the rural provinces immediately identify us as enemies and inferiors. Their criteria follow racial canons. They regard every Hazara as an ally of the Americans, a slave of the infidels», Says Hazem, professor of economics. Their patrols need not have just written slogans on the walls of Kabul in which they brand the racial persecution as “anti-Islamic”. The Hazaras consider them “pure propaganda”. How to react? Some very young people mention the possibility of joining the Hazara militias of commander Alipoor, in the mountains of the Wardak. But for now, few remain.

L’imam 25enne Mohammad Zakharia Rasooli he tells us in the dim light of his mosque how careful the Taliban intelligence agents are to control dissent. “They’ve already looked for me and taken me to the barracks three times. In my sermons, I called for the unity of our community and warned against informers. They knew everything about me and my activities, clearly there is a spy among us. But they offered me to cooperate with them. They demanded that I sign a document in which I pledged never to criticize them again. I refused, they threatened me with death. But then they realized that this would generate a flurry of riots in the neighborhood and decided to free me. For them I remain a special observation, ”he says. He was impressed with their organization. Nothing to do with the primitive militias of two decades ago. “They have agents who intercept our phone calls, follow our activity on social networks. There have been some targeted arrests here. People taken home at night and of whom nothing more is known. Rumors of torture and executions come from the provinces. The Taliban also contested his latest book, which deals with the role of women in Ashura, the main Shiite religious holiday. “I reminded them that women in the life of the Prophet were very important. A heated discussion was born, ”he recalls.

In the nearby mosque “Imam Zaman” they indicate the plaque with the 52 names of Shiites killed by an ISIS suicide bomber on October 18, 2017. Since then, the attacks against the Hazara have only grown, causing hundreds of victims. “The Taliban protect Isis, although they declare the opposite,” says Boniat Ali, a 36-year-old who participates in the control services on the door.

September 10, 2021 (change September 10, 2021 | 23:51)

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