Essay for 2010 - 2011 YES Afghanistan BUBW Conference

YES-Afghanistan 2010-2011
Essay for BUBW Conference

Conflicts among different nations, religions and ethnic groups are the results of misunderstandings. For example, the concept among some Americans that Afghans are fundamentalists is disrespectful. That can be the beginning of hating each other. If the blind hatred continues, then people from both sides will never accept and tolerate each other. This can be a threat to a peaceful life for both sides. People need to live in peace and harmony. To make this happen and remove all these misunderstandings people especially, youths from different religions, nations, and socio-economic backgrounds need to learn about the culture, religions and values of each other. Young people are effective because they don’t concentrate on differences as much as adults do. They have passion and can play an important role in building relationships.

People must be careful about the things they do because others will judge them by their nationality, religion, and ethnicity. In some cases, an individual is the only source of knowing about the group they represent. For instance, each time a soldier does something against the Afghan culture; it increases the amount of stereotypes about Americans. Those soldiers are the only Americans that most Afghans know. Similarly, some people in America after the September 11th attacks think of Muslims, especially Afghans, as terrorists. Likewise, the minister who planned the Qur’an burning day was not representing America or the view of Americans. In response, people in Afghanistan and other countries burned American flags and shouted “Death to America”. Therefore, people from both sides must condemn and confront actions like those which destruct the relationship between the sides.

Learning each other’s languages has a very significant role in making good relationships. Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Language learning centers have to be built and enhanced. These centers should be inter-connected so the students can see and talk to each other through telecommunication (Skype, Internet or phone). This would contribute a great deal of understanding between these two nations. Youth’s participation will play a very important role in it. In addition to language teaching, these centers would also be a cultural exchange place where the youths will learn about each other.

Physical exchange programs such as YES are needed more to send Afghan youths to U.S. These short term programs are effective because the students will know each other better by living and observing each others’ society. When they go back to their home countries, they are going to tell their friends, relatives and families about their nice experience with Americans. This will change a lot of peoples’ minds about Americans. Also, youths will discover how their country looks like from the outside and how people think about them. I hope that one day we will have peace in Afghanistan and I will host an American student. I would share my values and culture with them and welcome them to our hearts and homes. These exchanges remove borders between nations. These young people will teach people about their countries and represent the real image of their societies. They will find out that people who speak different languages are not different.

Another form of cultural exchange is through technology. This world of ours became a small village with technology, especially, in the communication area. Most teenagers in the US are interested in Facebook and Twitter, so it can be a good way of connecting these kids to the kids in Afghanistan who have access to the Internet. With the technology, people from both sides can share their happiness and sorrow with each other. For example, if something evil is done by a Christian, Christians can condemn him and show their sorrow to the offended group. Young people have to let others know that we are against it and don’t want to harm other peoples’ religions or traditions. In fact, we don’t have to let people with offensive intentions represent us. We must criticize actions which can result in harming the other side. For instance, one can make a blog or Facebook page to reach many people and raise their voices all together about the issue. Therefore, we can be good delegates of our nation and culture on the Internet sitting in our houses.

I hope that one day all of us come to the conclusion that we are all the same. This world is like a salad bowl and people from different ethnicity, religion and cultures are like the vegetables of it. Each contributes to this bowl in its own way. The more we have diversity and young peoples’ contribution, the more our bowl (world) would look colorful and nice. We have to know that all of us share and breathe the same air of this planet of ours. I hope everyone will come to this conclusion that people who speak different languages are not different. People are the same all over the world.