"Afghans can draw on pre-Islamic past to solve identity crisis" writes Nushin Arbabzadah (Afghan-born Guardian journalist): "from Ravi date Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 2:58 AMsubject "Afghans can draw on pre-Islamic past to solve identity crisis" writes Nushin Arbabzadah (Afghan-born Guardian journalist) Afghans can draw on pre-Islamic past to solve identity crisisThe recent discovery of a 2,600-year-old Buddhist monastery highlights a rich and complex hidden history
The lack of fully-conducted archaeological survey unveiling the Afghans' past is at the heart of the dilemma and absurdity of Afghan nationalism. It is here that the importance of preserving the country's past becomes obvious. The evidence of a distinct cultural past that Afghans can claim as their own offers them a chance to formulate an alternative identity that draws upon more than religious zealotry.
Needless to say, this alternative identity cannot be created without evidence provided by archaeology. After all, it is only through such evidence that Afghans can fully understand who they are in addition to being Muslims.
That is why the preservation of the Buddhist site to the north of Kabul is not a luxury but a necessity. The site's acknowledgement could be the first step towards wisdom and true self-knowledge in Afghanistan. After all, as Lao-Tzu wisely realised, knowing others is intelligence but knowing oneself is true wisdom.