Apr 24, 2021

Armenian genocide and the Hazara massacres 1888-1893

Fearing of alienating Turkey, for decades US presidents have tried to avoid recognizing the events of 1915-1923 that led to 1.5 million death of Armenians at the hands Turks as "genocide." Finally, today, Biden is going to acknowledge the Ottoman Turks atrocities as genocide. It is considered to be the most monstrous crime against humanity to have occurred in the outset of the twentieth century. But it is not the only one, in fact, almost 25 years before another genocide occurred against indigenous population of the Hazaras in Afghanistan.

Abdul Rahman khan, a Pashtun leader organized a mass genocidal campaign between 1888 and 1893 in order to subjugate the Hazaras in Hazarajat, a geographical area in central Afghanistan. The Pashtun Sunni mullahs declared fatwas that the Hazaras are infidel and they must be killed. Suddenly, every Pashtun rose up to become ghazi, someone who kills non-Muslim for pleasing the Muslim God and wishes to enter to heaven. 

In addition to government forces, ordinary Pashtuns joined the onslaught. Between 1888-1893, more than 60% of the Hazara population was vanished, some were displaced but the majority of them were massacred while thousands of others sold in slave markets such as khiva, Bukhara, Bombay, Kabul, and Kandahar. 

Here is a piece of news dated October 19, 1893, published in The Argus, a local newspaper based in Brighton, UK. It says: "Advices from Cabul [Kabul] state that the Ameer [Amir abdul Rahman khan] has sold 10,000 of the captive Hazaras as slaves in order to defray the expenses incurred in suppressing the rising."

This crime is one of examples that was reported and documented but not all events were reported, especially the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Hazaras, displacement of hundreds of thousands of others who permanently left their native land. Human rights groups have moral responsibilities to dig into history and investigate the crimes, so that one day, the mass atrocities against the Hazaras by Pashtuns also be recognized as a genocide. 

As we are going to hear today Biden's acknowledgment of Arminian genocide, I hope the young generation of Turks today take a moment and think what had their ancestors done against the Armenians. Instead of being ashamed, they should feel sympathetic and acknowledge those events as genocide. Equally, I hope young Pashtuns today feel the same whose ancestors committed atrocities against the innocent Hazaras. They should come out and acknowledge our historical pain and suffering so that we can hope and realize a better future alongside each other.

Related topic:
Massacres of Hazaras in Afghanistan by the Taliban between January 2001 and May 2000

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