Thanks for nothing! Students in Afghanistan aren’t going to be learning much about the horrors of the Taliban or the US-led invasion in their school books, and school officials don’t seem to mind.
New school books in Afghanistan are being purposely re-written to exclude key events in the nation’s history. What should be seen as important recent historical events such as the US-led invasion of Afghanistan and incidents surrounding the terrorist group Al Qaeda get little to no mention in the new history books, reportedly to minimize the horrors in the war-torn nation’s recent history and bring cohesion to the divided society, reports Newser.
“My responsibility is to bring unity not disunity in the country,” said Education Minister Farooq Wardak. “I am not going to encourage a divisive education agenda.”
So what didn’t make the cut? Despite the past 40 years of Afghanistan history being some of the most turbulent in the nation’s history, several key events are left out entirely, reports BBC. Bloody coups in the 70s, the ’79 Soviet invasion, Moscow-backed communist regimes in Kabul, and dozens of human rights abuses committed by the government’s secret police have been omitted entirely. A bloody civil war in the 90s between mujahideen factions, which left an estimated 70,000 people dead, is also downplayed. Lastly, the Taliban and the US-led forces that destroyed their network and bankrupted them of power are also barely mentioned.
Purposely revising history in order to save some semblance of public face within their own country isn’t a particularly easy sell. Journalists and other individuals in Afghanistan are crying-foul, blowing the whistle on the government’s attempt to change history and hide the truth.
”There is no mention of the misery [the war] brought. No mention of Kabul being the killing zone. The books say Mullah Omar was removed in 2001, without saying who Mullah Omar was,” reports one critic, an Afghan journalist who wishes to remain anonymous. “There is no mention of the US and Nato presence. It is as if someone is trying to hide the sun with two fingers.”
Sadly, though the rest of the world knows full-well the spotty history of Afghanistan, the history-revision of Afghan school books is probably going to work.
“Since internet penetration is low and contact with the outside world is limited, children in Afghanistan are more dependent on textbooks than anywhere else in the world,” said an Afghan teacher, who also asked for anonymity. “But now that the government has decided to delete the past 40 turbulent years from history books, millions of children will never know why and how the Afghanistan we live in came to be.”
“If students will not learn about past violence, how will they avoid it in future?” asks the teacher.
And who was it who thought that, if you can control the youth, you control the future?
What do you think? Is historical revision and omission ethically wrong? Should the children of Afghanistan learn the truth about their troubled nation from their school books? Sound off below!