Diversity is not a reason to put up walls, but rather to open windows. It is not a burden. It is a blessing.(His Highness the Aga Khan IV)
Diversity is the beauty of human societies. Diversity is human differences, manifesting itself in numerous forms such as values, ethics, believes, religion, ethnicity, gender, color, nationality, etc. People can recognize human differences from the early stages of their lives. According to neuroscientists, even newborn children have a sense of recognizing human differences. For instance, a newborn child can acknowledge that he/she is different from the children lying beside him/her. But at this stage in life, children do not respond to diversity. Later, when children grow up, they not only realize diversity but also react to it. Their responses can be either positive or negative based on their perception of diversity deeply rooted in values and ethics they have acquired over time from their societies and educational system.
Diversity indicates society’s richness. If diversity is governed well, it leads to socio-economic development and improved quality of life in society through innovation and learning. But, if people fail to manage diversity properly, diversity can be a great source of unrest and conflict in a society. Most of the conflicts in our country are rooted in our incapability to respond appropriately to diversity. For instance, our community is full of individuals who impose their personal believes and values on others, often by force, thinking that everybody should be like them.
Despite our failure to deal appropriately with diversity, our society is getting more diverse. The growing trends indicate that diversity has been increasing in our country mainly due to two reasons. First, globalization is a critical factor, leading to more diversity in our society. In the 21st century, humans are more interdependent than ever before. Globalization brings people together from different parts of the world with their own culture, beliefs, and nationalities to interact more frequently on various soc-economic domains. For instance, a medical doctor from India spends ten days a month in Kabul to treat his patients. The same logic can apply to numerous foreign experts and skilled laborers working in Afghanistan who are different from us in many ways. The second reason why diversity is increasing in our country is migration. Every year millions of people migrate from rural areas to urban areas to get employment or pursue higher education.
Given increasing diversity in our country, now the question is how we should deal with diversity. In general, people can approach diversity in two ways. The first approach is to respond negatively to diversity. The responses can range from opposing a person to humiliation, discrimination, and in extreme cases, physical violence. The second approach to deal with diversity is pluralism which means, adopting an attitude of tolerance, willingness to live peacefully with people who are different from us, and respecting the opposing ideas.
Despite our significant differences, pluralism can help us live peacefully together in a diverse country like Afghanistan. “Pluralism is an ethic of respect for diversity” (HH the Aga Khan, 2018). Pluralism does not require us to erase our differences but encourages us to embrace our differences, interacting with each other with respect and a spirit of tolerance and cooperation. Pluralism opens up windows for discourse and understanding, engaging actively with a human difference. Therefore, pluralism is critical to maintaining peace and stability y in our country Afghanistan.
To have a prosperous and peaceful society, we need to promote pluralism in our society. It does not happen overnight but requires our commitment and dedication. We need to learn what pluralism is and practice it in our day-to-day lives. Regardless of who we are and what role we play in our society, we need to consider pluralism in everything we do in our daily lives.
In conclusion, diversity is the human differences that can be found in multiple forms in society. Diversity represents the richness of society. The trends show that our society is getting more diverse. People can approach diversity in two ways. The first approach is to reject diversity, and the second option is to embrace diversity, using pluralism. Pluralism is the best approach to deal with human differences. It helps us live peacefully together in a diverse country like Afghanistan.
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