You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘Everything in moderation’ regarding the simple pleasures in life such as coffee. Maybe you enjoy a cup or two every day as a quick energy booster, but what happens when you drink an entire pot in one sitting? Chances are, your heart rate will reach a dangerous level and you’ll have some trouble keeping still. Likewise, nationalism is a good thing in moderation, but too much can be dangerous.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines nationalism as “loyalty and devotion to a nation.” It’s good to be loyal and devoted to your nation. But issues often arise when you take this idea a step further, and begin to disregard everyone who is not a part of your nation. The belief that your own nation is the only one that matters often leads to xenophobia and selfish foreign policies. According to Zakaria, too much love for a single nation could lead to the deterioration of globalization. Globalization began because people believed that other nations had ideas and goods that could be beneficial to everyone. Ethnic food and music can be found all over the world, and many people learn languages of different cultures to be able to communicate with more people. When people become too ethnocentric, they begin to cut themselves off from the rest of the world. Evidence of this is being seen in America today – President Donald Trump is advocating to end trade with foreign nations and is attempting to keep foreigners out.
Fortunately, excessive nationalism is not an issue in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, even a healthy amount of nationalism is virtually nonexistent in the nation. Different tribes and ethnic minority groups may have have pride in their subcultures, but it’s hard to take immense pride in a nation full of corruption, poverty, and political instability. In fact, the majority of the Middle East is lacking in pride of their nations. Terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Taliban, and Al Qaeda are headquartered in the Middle East, causing fear, conflict, and multitudes of refugees. No one would flee from a nation they’re proud to be a part of, yet millions of Syrian, Iraqi, and Palestinian refugees are scattered throughout other nations. Another reason many Middle Easterners do not take pride in their nation is because they tend to think of land in a Western manner as opposed to having a personal relationship with it like some tribal groups do. Check out this PDF to learn more about the environmentally spiritual mindset most Middle Easterners lack.
Inequality can be seen all over in the Middle East. Inequality of genders, inequality of the upper vs lower class, and inequality between religions are all prominent. This inequality could be a large part of why the region is struggling politically and socially. Studies have proven again and again that inequality creates social problems within the less privileged groups. This is because the more privileged people have better access to education, health care, and opportunities such as music lessons that give them an overwhelming advantage over everyone else. Wealthier individuals also have more opportunities to explore other parts of the world and embrace other cultures. Zakaria and Steger both mentioned that this form of globalization can be beneficial to an individual and set them apart from their peers.
In the Muslim community, which makes up much of the Middle East(And almost all of Afghanistan) men are dominant over women. This inequality can make women feel oppressed and worthless. The Qaran states “Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four” and “and the men are a degree above them [women]“. This religious inequality is so widely accepted in Islam that the majority of Muslims don’t even think of themselves as a group of inequality. They believe that this plain discrimination is an acknowledgement of differences, not supremacy. This may be true to an extend, but historically ‘separate but equal’ really just means ‘separate.’ Pre 1960s America is a prime example of this.
Here is a video of a Muslim man explaining his perception of why people of different genders are treated differently.
He truly believes that his argument is solid, but it is a bit flawed. Dr. Naik explains that Allah states that men are more powerful, and he knows best, so giving men more power is really not making them unequal to women. The problem with this claim is that it is based solely on the teachings of Allah, and therefore will not be satisfactory to anyone who is not Muslim.