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Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 1 Jocelyn Liu, Jane Zhou, Lucy Wang, Ulrica Wang, Jerry Fan

Mr. Bailey English Senior 3 6 January 2014 WC2877 Ethnic/ linguistic differences in Afghanistan and the use of foreign words in the text Introduction In the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, the author Khaled Hosseini depicts a vivid portrait of a country suffering from all sorts of conflicts imposed by internal forces such as the Pashto, Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks. Kabul and Heart are the main setting places while the story happened in the 20th century and marched into the 21st century. Among the four major ethnic groups, the relationship between Pashto and Hazara closely influenced the condition of the Afghanistan government and dramatically altered the main characters lives. Characters from different groups such as Mariam, Laila, and Tariq have starkly different beginnings, speak disparate language, but still intimately connect with each other. Their ethnic background and conflicts are themes of the whole book. Although A Thousand Splendid Suns claims to be a simple story describing Afghanistan womens ordinary lives, actually their languages, groups, and backgrounds have strong influence on their whole lives beyond oppression or stereotype. To analyze the ethnic language differences in this book, this essay has been organized into six parts, which all contain three or more details. The focus of the first part is about Pashto, providing a conclusive introduction of the languages spoken, its contribution to Afghanistan, explanations for some specific words in Pashtun mentioned

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 2 in the book, and representative Pashtun characters. The next three parts have the similar structures with that of the first one which discuss Tajik, Hazara, and Uzbek, respectively. The fifth section talks about the interactive conflicts among the four groups mentioned above. Started by the historical origins of those ethnic groups, the last sectionthis section ends with the corresponding conflicts and confrontations mentioned in the book. The last section, The foreign languages, will mainly discuss the italic words: the foreign words from the four ethnic groups mentioned above that appear in the book, trying to provide complete explanations for the contexts and meanings of those words.
Comment [zj1]: explanation

Pashto The Pashtun, where Rasheed and Tariq are raised, whose people speak several mutually intelligible dialects of Pashtun, is the largest and traditionally most politically powerful ethnic group in Afghanistan. Pashto , also known as Pushtu, Pushto, Pukhto, Afghan, is a member of the southeastern Iranian branch of Indo-Iranian language and also one of the official language of Afghanistan. There are three main varieties of Pashto: Northern Pashto, spoken mainly in Pakistan; Southern Pashto, spoken mainly in Afghanistan; and Central Pashto, spoken mainly in Pakistan. Pashto is spoken by 40% and 55% (11 to 15.4 million) of the people of Afghanistan as the native language, and 10% to 28% (2.8 to 7.8 million) speak it as a second language. Pashto is mainly spoken in Afghanistan since other ethnic groups can also use it because of its popularity. Pashto has about 25 million speakers in Pakistan (15% of the population) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA),

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 3 and the provinces of Balochistan, Mianwali, Attock, Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. (Ager 1) The antagonist, Rasheed, a Taliban supporter, asks both his wives to obey his masculine control and favors violence. After marrying Mariam, Rasheed ordered arbitrarily to Mariam that Where I come from, one wrong look, one improper word, and blood is spilled. Where I come from, a womans face is her husbands business onlyWe have an understanding, then so he can impose his masculine domination upon Mariam. (Hosseini 75) Rasheed gives Mariam orders and forces her to accept his opinions naturally as if he has been used to it. It is easy to assure that other Talibs probably have the same requirements to their wives. In the Taliban world, men are allowed to keep guns, read erotica because they are given the power to oppress women, but women have to endure the suffering in their life such as not receiving education or bearing worse medical treatments just because of their female status. the privileges Taliban entitled to him. Laila recalled that every Wednesday night, Rasheed listened to the Voice of Sharia when the Taliban would announce the names of those scheduled for punishment. Then, on Fridays, he went to the Ghazi Stadium, bought a Pepsi, and watched the spectacle. (Hosseini 301) Normally no one would be willing to watch the scene of killing people, but Rasheed goes to watch the spectacle to satisfy his violence in his mind. As a Taliban, Rasheed endorses Talibans massacre not only because death meets his desire for violence that has been secretly kept as the gun he owns but also because he feels proud that his group can control peoples lives. Rasheed enjoys

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 4 As a Pashtun, Rasheed possesses racial discrimination against Tajiks. Mariam remermbered Rasheeds rants against Massoud, how he was a traitor and communist (Hosseini 225) while Rasheed used to praise the Pashtun leader, Hekmatyar. Rasheeds racism is a simple foreshadowing that in the future Pashtun and Tajik will engage into serious fighting against each other due to their bias and discrimination. The protagonist, Tariq, a Pashtun but not a Talib, respects women around him. Even though he is disabled, he offers Laila protection when Laila cannot defeat the bullies. As Laila told him that she was shot by urine, he began hopping toward Khadim, then charging himKhadim never bothered Laila again, as a result. (Hosseini 143) Completely different from Rasheed who abuses his power, Tariq respects Laila and uses his strength to protect Laila from bullies. The turbulent civil war was slowly terminated by the rise of Taliban starting in October 1994. Most of them were Pashtun men from Pakistan refuges. Formed by Mohammad Omar in Kandahar, the Taliban recruited Pashtun men, focused on guerrilla tactics and conveyed a simple message of Islamic fundamentalism. (Afghanistan History, MSU 1) In the book, Rasheed first brought the news that the Taliban took over the city of Kandahar. Then after two years, the Taliban were marching towards Kabul and had already captured the Hazara commander Abdul Ali Mazari. The Taliban eventually seized Kabul and the first thing they did was to execute Mohammad Najibullah, the communism supporter. When the family hung out in Kabul, Mariam noticed the body of Najibullah was dragged around the city on a truck. That [the Taliban] had tortured him for hours, then tied his legs to a truck and dragged his lifeless body through the streets. (Hosseini 296) As the Taliban previously declared, they enforced strict Islamic laws

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 5 during their domination.

Tajik Tajik people make up 27 % of the population in Afghanistan and most Tajik people in Afghan speak Farsi1, a national language (SAARC Tourism Afghanistan 1). Lailas mother says that she grows up in a valley called the Panjshir, the Farsi speaking Tajik region one hundred kilometers northeast of Kabul.(Hosseni 116) In fact, most Tajiks do live in the Panjsher Valley north of Kabul and in the northern and northeastern provinces of Parwan, Takhar, Badakhshan, and also Baghlan and Samangan. This ethnic doesnt have diversified tribes. Instead, they are divided into groups according to their living regions (SAARC Tourism Afghanistan 1). Though Tajik is a minority group, it plays a significant role in A Thousand Splendid Suns in that the two protagonist, Laila and Mariam are Tajik people and their families talk a lot about Tajik in the book. To begin with, when Mariams father is telling her to get married, he knows Mariam prefers a local, a Tajik(Hosseini 52) to Rasheed but he still persuades her to marry Rasheed. As a young Tajik girl, it is reasonable for Mariam to look forward to marry a local Tajik man who shares the same language and habits with her. In addition, Lailas father states there were tensions between the Tajiks, who were a minority, and Tariq's people, the Pashtuns, who were the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. (Hosseini 138) However, Lailas father doesnt think it is necessary to have ethnical conflicts since they are all Afghanistan. Instead, the internal unity of all Afghanistan is the key to the prosperity of Afghan. Furthermore, at Laila mothers party, fighting breaks out between a Pashun who had called Ahamad Shah Massoud a traitor
1

Alternative names are Persian and Dari

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 6 for making a deal with the Soviets in the 1980s and a Tajik who had said that if not for Massoud, the other mans sister would still be giving it to Soviet soldiers. (Hosseini 182) This scene is the miniature of the intense conflicts between the Tajiks and the Pashuns. It is also a foreshadowing of later massacre happened between the Tajiks and the Pashuns.

Hazara As the third largest ethnic groups in Afghanistan, the nomads of Hazara are Mongol descendants dwelling in mountains between Kabul and Herat, and speaking Hazaragi with dialect of Dari, which is popular in a large range. Because of its meager resources, there is no industry and infrastructures and thirty to fifty percent of Hazara males migrated to the cities for unskilled work. (Lewis, Gary and Charles 1) Including ethnic groups Dai Kundi, Dai Zangi, Behsud, Yekaulang, Polada, Urusgani, Jaguri, and Dai Miradad, Hazara initially involved in fight of Mujahideen against Soviet Union, the common enemy of all groups during Soviet Union occupation. Later in the 1990s, like Rasheed says Pashtuns and Hazara and Tajik and Uzbeck are killing each other (Hosseini 225), Hazara played a vital role in the civil war. One of the major conflicts in Kabul was between Pashtun forces of Sayyaf and the Wahdat faction of Hazaras led by Abdul Ali Mazari. In the book, Laila heard that Pashtun militiamen were attacking Hazara households, breaking in and shooting entire families, execution style and that Hazaras were retaliating by abducting Pashtun civilians, raping Pashtun girls, shelling Pashtun neighborhoods, and killing indiscriminately in the battles at Kabul. (Hosseini 188) Also, after Lailas house was bombed, three soldiers

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 7 under Sayyafs command occupied Tariqs house and the next morning they were hit by rockets which were rumored to be fired by Hazaras of Wahdat (Hosseini 213). As the past ruling group in Kabul, Hazaras were long neglected and repelled and during the peace talk, the Hazaras no longer wanted to be oppressed this time so they actively engaged into the civil war. During the war, Sayyaf fought Hazaras, Hazaras fought Massoud, and Massoud fought Hekmatyar. Thus, one side was Sayyaf sided with

Massoud and Hekmatyar sided with Abdul Ali Mazari. (Hosseini 244) The language over two million Hazaras speak is Hazaragi, also known as Azargi and Hezareh. Popular in Iran and Pakistan, Hazaragi is highly bilingual with Dari, the official language of Afghanistan and mixed with a number of Mongol words. Considered as the accent of standard Persian, the speakers of Hazaragi develops from 1.8 million to 2.2 million. In the Thousand Splendid Suns, there is no character from Hazara so no foreign word of Hazaragi appears in the novel. (Lewis, Gary and Charles 1)

Uzbek Due to its immigrant nature and origin from central Asia, the 1.3 million Uzbek now mostly live mixed with Tajik in the northern Afghanistan, speaking the Turkic dialectUzbeki and taking agriculture and herding as the main practices. As an

extremely religious group who emphasize the power of leadership, Uzbek, the fourth largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, underwent frequent switching sides during the Civil War and owns a little influence now. (Work Cited) Uzbeki, also called Uzbek, Usbeki, and Uzbak, spoken mostly by Uzbek in the north of Afghanistan and turkey, is the third wide spoken language which occupies the

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 8 statutory position there. By its population of nearly 3 million, Uzbek has now been taught in secondary schools and is seen all through newspapers, TVs, and other media. By its increasing literacy among the young, Uzbeki is now gaining its popularity. (Work Cited) Since Timurid dynasty 2demised in 1506, Uzbek has begun building its political power in the north of Afghanistan. Started by eleven strong principalities, Uzbek didnt gain a uniform front or a clear allegiance which undermined their control over the north with small conflicts inside. After the unifying by Amir Abdur Rahman 3 in the 1920s and 1930s, Uzbek gained a temporary dominance and then lost its power by the influx of Pashtun. (Peter Uzbek 1) However, when Uzbek General Abdul Rashid Dostom who was opposed Taliban controlled the north in 1992, his switching sides made Uzbek not able to regain dominance any more. During the war, Sayyaf fought Hazaras, Hazaras fought Massoud, and Massoud fought Hekmatyar. Thus, one side was Sayyaf sided with Massoud and Hekmatyar sided with Abdul Ali Mazari. In contrast to other groups, the Uzbek leader was unpredictable, as Rasheed says that no one knew where he would stand. (Hosseini 244) The fact was in accord to Rasheeds generalization. Abdul Rasheed Dostum used to help the Soviet Union and then returned to the side of Mujahideen. Moreover, in the civil war he switched sides again. Previously supporting Massoud, Dostum suddenly joined In Khaled

Hekmatyar in 1994 and fired on Massoud and the Presidential Palace.


2

It is the empire founded by conqueror Timur in the 14th century. The empire contained the central Asia, including Afghanistan. 3 He is the Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901. He was considered a strong ruler since he restored order, eliminated rebellions and established a stable government of Afghan in Kabul during his reign.

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 9 Hosseinis A Thousand Splendid Suns, the author did depict how Dostom indicate his unpredictability. As for the unpredictable Uzbek commander Dostum, Rasheed said no one knew where he would stand. Dostum had fought the Soviets in the 1980s alongside the Mujahideen but had defected and joined Najibullahs communist puppet regime after the Soviets had left. He had even earned a medal, presented by Najibullah himself, before defecting once again and returning to the Mujahideens side. For the time being, Rasheed said, Dostum was supporting Massoud.(244) Dostum tried hard to join the strong side but the imbalance of forces in the society by the frequent wars and changes in the leading power among current groups made Uzbek hard to take root.

Conflict The conception of tribal identity emerges with ethnicity that shares the same ancestors and is the main force that arouses ethnic conflicts in Afghanistan. Tribal conflicts and discrimination had been a problem unsolved in Afghanistans history. During the Soviet Occupation, since all ethnic groups faced a common enemy, Soviet Unions, these opposing groups (mainly Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara & Uzbek) formed Mujahideen to fight the jihad, the wholly war against the Soviet Unions. However, in the 1990s, after complete withdrawal of soviet troops, lacking the common enemy, the Mujahideen fractured and fell apart, each group fighting against each other and interethnic conflicts continuted. (Peter Interethnic Relations 1)

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 10 According to Lailas father, Theres contempt. Rivalry. There is. There always has been. (Hosseini 139) He possesses a sense of nationality which most other people do not have, as he says, were all Afghans, and thats all that should matter. (Hosseini 139) Tribalism is very popular in Afghanistan, especially in large groups like the

Pashtuns. After Soviet Union retreated, the fleeting sense of national pride fled away quickly and factions led by warlords of Afghanistan burst into civil war in the 1992. The fuse of war was ignited when the premature Leadership Council elected Burhanuddin Rabbani who was a Tajik and leader of Jamiat-e-Islami faction, as President. As the leader of Hezb-e Islami political party, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar bombarded Kabul and interrupted the peace talk by other party leaders, the war came inevitable. (Hosseini 182 - 183) (Other warlords see Table Section)

Foreign Languages in the Book Sharia is a divine law, as expressed in the Quran and Muhammads examp le. It is a discussion about the duties of Muslims based on the Muslim community and extensive literature. Taliban are schooled in Sharis by mullahs. Wallah is the Arabic expression meaning [I promise] by God used to make a promise or express great credibility on an expression. It is also a sin among Muslim to use this phrase while follow up with a lie. Kafir is Arabic term "unbeliever," "disbeliever," or "infidel. It describes a person who rejects God in Islam or who hides, denies, or covers the "Islamic version of truth. alt is the practice of formal worship in Islam. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam Sawb(Thawb) is Arabic term meaning "reward". It refers to spiritual merit or

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 11 reward that accrues from the performance of good deeds and piety. Salaam means"peace" in Arabic which is often used as a greeting. Naswr is a moist, powdered tobacco snuff. Pakol is a soft, round-topped men's hat, typically of wool and found in any of a variety of earthy colors: brown, black, gray, or ivory, or dyed red using walnut. It is mainly used by Afghans including the Pashtuns, and other ethnic groups such as Chitralis, Nuristanis and Shamaliwals.

Conclusion By this essay, we can see in Hosseinis A Thousand Splendid Suns, ethnic differences and conflicts become a major focus. Language differences, as can be shown from the foreign words provided in the last section, clearly highlight the boundaries between distinct linguistic parts. Moreover, the conflicts among those groups lay the foundation of the further fires. For instance, the main characters in the novel Rasheed, Tariq, Laila, and Mariam, demonstrate the confrontation of the ideology and values of Pashtun and Tajik. However, the potential causes for the Civil War are not sufficient. As a matter of fact, the four major groups in the Afghanistan as well as in the novel: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, and Uzbek are representative for the intricate relationship among the political powers in that country. Therefore, disparity among languages and ethnics sets one central point in this novel.

Liu, Zhou, Wang, Wang, Fan 12 Notes 1. The table below indicates the extra information about the political leaders of Afghanistan during the Civil War. Name Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Ahmad Shah Massoud Ethnicity Pashtun Tajik Title leader of Hezb-e Islami political party the Lion of Panjshir, excellent commander and leader Abdul Rasheed Dostum Abdul Ali Mazari Dr. Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai Abdul Rasul Sayyaf Burhanuddin Rabbani Pashtun Tajik leader of Ittehad-i-Islami faction leader of Jamiat-e-Islami faction, President of Islamic State of Afghanistan Uzbek Hazara Pashtun leader of Junbish-i-Milli faction leader of Hizb-e-Wahdat faction communist leader

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Works Cited Afghanistans ethnic diversity. CNN, August 19, 2009. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. Afghanistan: History. Michigan State University, 1994. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. Awan, Muhammad Safeer; Ali, Muhammad. Strategies of Language Appropriation in Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. E-book. Bamber, Gascoigne. History of Afghanistan. HistoryWorld, 2001. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. Blood, Peter R. Ethnic Groups. Library of Congress, 2001. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. Blood, Peter R. Uzbek. Library of Congress, 2001. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. New York. Penguin Group(USA) Inc, 2007. Print. New World Encyclopedia contributors. New World Encyclopedia. Timurid Dynasty. New World Encyclopedia, 20 November 2008. Web. 06 January 2014. Paul, Lewis, M, Simons, Gary F., and Fennig, Charles D. Hazaragi. Seventeenth edition. SIL International, 2013. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. Paul, Lewis, M, Simons, Gary F., and Fennig, Charles D. Uzbek, Southern. Seventeenth edition. SIL International, 2013. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. SAARC Tourism Afghanistan. n.p, 2009. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. Weems Matt. Warlords of Afghanistan. n.p, 2005. Web. 05 Jan. 2014.