Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pashtun Nationalism Online - Part I: Introduction

As I've mentioned before, I'm taking a class on identity, and, of course, we have term papers (midterm and final)  to write for the class, as in most classes. I figured I could choose one of my two favorite topics: Islamic feminism and Pashtun nationalism (or anything Pashtun-related, especially gender-wise). There's a whole lot I could do on Pashtun and gender, but I figured I had more data to write on Pashtun nationalism--as it is viewed and presented online (discussion forums, social networks, and blogs). When I discussed this idea with my professor, he thought it was extremely important that I write both my midterm and final papers on this, especially since "everyone" does or wants to do something gender-related these days but no one's even aware of what the Pashtun culture is like online. And considering my own experiences online, I gathered it would be definitely worth it.

I might post more on it as I begin the paper/study, but for now, here's some questions to consider. Yes, you are more than welcome--and requested even--to answer them whatever your understanding of Pashtun nationalism may be. You are also welcome to refer me to any literature, sites, blogs, etc. that might illuminate our understanding of the topic, but I prefer, at least at this point, to hear individual responses. If you don't want to offer your own views or don't have anything to say on this, you can still help by sharing links of Pashtun nationalists' blogs or blogs/discussions/forums/etc. on Pashtun nationalism OR some (printed) literature on the topic.

The questions:

1. What is Pashtun nationalism?

2. What exactly do Pashtun nationalists want?
2a. Do those from the Pakistan side have the same objective(s) as those from the Afghanistan side?

3. Is Pashtun nationalism a struggle for “ethnic” nationalism or “national” nationalism?

4. Is there any need to "justify" Pashtun nationalism from an Islamic viewpoint? If yes, how do Pashtun nationalists justify their struggles and objectives using Islam?

There are many more questions, but this should do for a start. Understand that I identify myself neither as a nationalist not anti-nationalist (nor pro-nationalist). The paper will be, as it is required to be, purely objective. I've done this before (when I was writing on Zakir Naik! And you all know how I feel about that guy personally! Aaaah, to have to write about someone like him from an objective, academic point of view was the most difficult ask I've ever undertaken. And the best thing I've ever accomplished.)

P.S. For an explanation for Question 3, consider the following:
As far as I understand this whole issue of identity, there are many different types of identities, including religious, ethnic, and national. Pakistanis who love Pakistan may be (or are?) considered nationalists (i.e., patriots of their country), but what about when these Pakistan-supporters and -lovers are Pashtun by ethnicity? And what about those Afghans ("Afghans" here means someone nationally Afghan, someone who has Afghan citizenship but is not necessarily a Pashtun) who are patriots of Afghanistan? Are they Afghan nationalists, too? Moreover, is an Afghan nationalist (someone born in and having the citizenship / national identity of Afghanistan) who is ethnically Pashtun considered a Pashtun nationalist?

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