ه‍.ش. ۱۳۸۶ بهمن ۳۰, سه‌شنبه

پست 16: نظری از یک غیر افغان

مطلب پست 15 را به سایت کابل پرس فرستادم که محترم کامران میرهزار آن را جهت درج در سایت خویش پذیرفت. امروز در بین نظرهایی که در ادامه مطلب بنده از سوی برخی عزیزان ارایه شده بود، یک متن به زبان انگلیسی از یک نفر که از نامش پیدا است اهل افغانستان نیست به نشر رسید. پست امروز من نیز مطلب ایشان است. امیدوارم مفید باشد. ضمناً بدیهی است که مسؤولیت نظر ایشان با خودشان است.
By: David Berstein

Pro-Khorram Pashtoun chauvinists accuse Basir Babay and Dawood Ahmadi of showing disrespect for article 16 of the Afghan Constitution on language, which states, “National scientific and administrative terminology shall be maintained.” This accusation raises a number of serious questions. Was the constitutional process in Afghanistan democratic and legitimate? Where did the representative involved in the constitutional process get their legitimacy? Is it possible for a nation under occupation and in a state of chaos to write and eventually adopt a fair and workable constitution?

Everybody knows that the whole constitutional process was a mockery of even the façade of democracy and rule of law. The whole process was imposed on the Afghan population by the United States. Furthermore, the participants in the constitutional process were a bunch of semi-literate and even illiterate warlords, political opportunists, and selfish westaminated intellectuals. Thus the whole constitution-business was a sham. It is preposterous that the Pashtoun chauvinists buttress their argument on the basis of such a constitution—a worthless peace of paper. Could the constitutionalists make the US soldiers killing innocent civilians in Kabul in June 2006 accountable for their heinous crimes? The answer is a resounding NO because the Americans and their European allies, although imposed this constitution, do not recognize it. So much for the legitimacy of your “constitution.”

To comprehend the myth of the “maintenance” of the “national scientific and administrative terminology,” let me elaborate a bit on the tree concepts of “national,” “scientific,” and “administrative” in the Afghan context. First, the name Afghanistan, or Afghanland, is a relatively new phenomenon. What’s more, the term is anything but representative. Non-Pashtoun ethnic minority groups in Afghanistan have never identified themselves with this Pashtoun-imposed term, which is a legacy of the Anglo-Russian Great Game era. The number of scientific terms both in Afghan Farsi and in Pashto does exceed the number of your fingers. Scientific terms are either in European languages mostly English, or in Arabic. In the same way, administrative language is contaminated with European and Arabic words. Exceptions are, however certain military terms and a number of academic titles, which are in Pashto. Having said that, there is absolutely no reason to take pride in the “national scientific and administrative terminology.” A codified national scientific and administrative terminology is non-existent. Viewed in this context, the “maintenance” of “the national scientific and administrative terminology” is an absurdity.

There is, of course, a political angle to the “maintenance” of this reactionary tradition to consider. Since their Machtergreifung in the 18th century, the Pashtouns have always tried to follow a linguistic policy that marginalized Farsi, the lingua franca of Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent prior to Pashtouns Machtergreifung. This linguistic fascism reached its apex during President Dawood tenure. To be sure, the Pashtouns did not succeed in destroying Farsi. But they did manage to weaken the language by successfully driving a wedge between the Persian-speaking community in Iran and Afghanistan; the Pashtouns Persophobes created the term “Dari.” Unfortunately, given the Sunni-Shia fault-line between the Farsi community in Afghanistan and Iran, Dari as such found its way in the imagination of the Persian-speaking Sunnis in Afghanistan. For a while they took pride in this mythologized distinction and some are still doing so. This false national arrogance defined by Farsi-phobia tricked the Persian-speaking Afghans into stigmatizing anyone using Iranian-coined neologisms in currency in neighboring Iran. Paradoxically, the Pashtouns themselves took inspiration from the intransigence of the Iranian people in preserving the Farsi language. More significantly, the Pashtouns indulged in morpheme-for-morpheme translation of Iranian-coined neologisms. A clear case of such translation was the POHANTOUN (DANESHGAH in Farsi) by the Iranian scientist and linguist Mahmoud Hessaby (Albert Einstein’s student). The first morpheme of the Pashtou lexeme POHAHA (most probably a spoiled version of the Arabic lexeme FAHAMA because many Pashtouns articulate /f/ as /p/) corresponds to the first Persian lexeme DANESH, and the second lexeme is TOUN, which identically matches with the Persian suffix GAH (place). A large number of Pashtou words beginning with POHA in academic titles have been introduced into Pashtou through the above-mentioned translation process.

While making use of Iranian methods of creating neologisms in Pashto, and institutionalizing the application of these “stolen” neologisms as “national scientific and administrative terminology," the Pashtoun-dominated Ministry of Information and Culture in Afghanistan has recently punished two Afghan journalists for using the original Farsi words DANESHGAH, DANESHJOU, and DANESHKADEH can be understood by all Farsi speakers all across Afghanistan. Mr. Abdulkarim Khurram’s move can only result in a more conscious use of Iranian terminology by Farsi speakers in Afghanistan, who simply would want to express their language identity - an identity that has been long brutally trampled by the Pashtouns in Afghanistan. Pahlawan Khorram’s not-fully-thought-through policy would further drive Farsi-speaking Afghans to identify themselves with the Iranians.

But nowadays, things have changed dramatically. Most Farsi speakers would not fall in the trap of Farsi-Dari divide, which has so far served the linguistic chauvinism of the Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan. Furthermore, the sheer volume of existing Farsi literature on every field of study makes it more and more difficult for the fossilized Pashto language to remain competitive. Instead of banning the use of Iranian-coined terms, Mr. Khorram must try to find creative ways to revamp the stagnant and rotten Pashto language, and make it more attractive to Dari speakers (like English in Holland and Switzerland). A Herculean task at best and a losing battle at worst, given Minister Khorram’s misguided pertinacity of using brute force in preserving the crumbling status of his native language Pashto.

Pashtouns' Linguistic Chauvinism Personified in Mr. Khorram