When I hear all about the US army withdrawal after twenty years of conflict in Afghanistan, and the civil war that is about to erupt and leave Afghan society in disarray once again, I can’t stop thinking that perhaps the age-old “war between good and evil” is actually the war between old and new. A war in which one group insists on going back to some point in history and call it the origin of their enlightened reality, and the other comparatively more secular one which may not necessarily want to leave that origin behind but is ready to embrace secular values. Or is it the emergence of a simplistic good and evil struggle in an entirely new form. Both parties look at the world through the values they have been exposed to; one consisted of individuals who grew up in a household or religious institution where the world was looked at in a very narrow manner, in light of orthodox values and the other was allowed to look at the world and other cultures with open eyes. Each group believes the other is wrong, but the animosity is mostly based on the world view they have acquired; they don’t necessarily define it as the struggle between good and evil. Who is going to step into shoes of the other party to look at the world? Probably none of them. So, is this the struggle of the future of Afghanistan specifically, and the world in general, till the end of this reality? Will humanity always remined trapped in the loop of the struggle between old and new and between the desire to bring back the past (and in some cases its glory) and the intention to look to the horizon to find meaning.
Throughout the history, humanity has fought wars not only to control resources and enslave other humans, but also to find a better way of governance. Every government and its echo chamber whether it’s a kingship or a democracy, is run by people and the performance of the government depends on the intentions of these people. They may have corrupted or ideologically slanted minds and may turn an ideal system of governance into a corrupt and repressive one. We reflect who we are wherever we go and whatever we do. Every thought, and every act is a mirror in which we can see who we are, and up to a certain limit, where we are going.
The struggle in the US is also the struggle of old and new but it is subtler than in countries like Afghanistan. We can see the desire and demand to go back to a point in history in our own country. Enacting strict voting laws is one such attempt. It reflects a desire to go back to the past in which a privileged class controlled democratic norms and used it for the maintenance and extension of its power. And in the present world, where democracy has extended its platform to almost everyone, the believers in the past glory cannot go back to it until they strike fast and cripple this new platform. They have only one way: enforce laws that keep out a large number of people from voting and becoming a part of governance. We need to grow up.