AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra in English Letters
THE DISCRIMINATIONS TOWARD HAZARA PEOPLE
AS SEEN IN KHALED HOSSEINI’S THE KITE RUNNER
AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra
in English Letters
WIDYA RANI HAPSARI
Student Number: 044214027
ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
THE DISCRIMINATIONS TOWARD HAZARA PEOPLE
AS SEEN IN KHALED HOSSEINI’S THE KITE RUNNER
AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra
in English Letters
WIDYA RANI HAPSARI
Student Number: 044214027
ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
i A Sarjana Sastra Undergraduate Thesis
THE DISCRIMINATIONS TOWARD HAZARA PEOPLE AS
SEEN IN KHALED HOSSEINI’S THE KITE RUNNER
WIDYA RANI HAPSARI
Student Number: 044214027 Approved by
Maria Ananta Tri Suryandari, S.S., M.Ed. November 27, 2008 Advisor Drs. Hirmawan Wijanarka, M.Hum. November 27, 2008 Co-Advisor ii
A Sarjana Sastra Undergraduate Thesis
THE DISCRIMINATIONS TOWARD HAZARA PEOPLE AS
SEEN IN KHALED HOSSEINI’S THE KITE RUNNER
WIDYA RANI HAPSARI
Student Number: 044214027 Defended before the Board of Examiners
On October 29, 2008 And Declared Acceptable
BOARD OF EXAMINERSName Signature
Chairman : Dr. Fr. B. Alip, M.Pd., M.A. _________________ Secretary : Drs. Hirmawan Wijanarka, M.Hum. _________________ Member : Adventina Putranti, S.S. _________________ Member : Maria Ananta Tri Suryandari, S.S., M.Ed. _________________ Member : Drs. Hirmawan Wijanarka, M.Hum. _________________ Yogyakarta, October 29, 2008.
Faculty of Letters Sanata Dharma University
Dean Dr. I. Praptomo Baryadi, M.Hum.
Because things will hasten while you are waiting… Hyde v
This thesis is my biggest work as student of the Department od English Letters. First and foremost, I would like to thank Allah Ya Rahman for giving me this wonderful opportunity to be a scholar. Alhamdulillah, finally this is done.
I almost did not make this thesis in time. I could not manage my time well and I almost failed to fight against myself. I would like to thank Maria Ananta Tri Suryandari, S.S, M.Ed., my advisor. I will remember the ‘time management’ thing she said. I thank her for the spare time though she is really a busy bee. Then I would like to thank my co-advisor, Drs. Hirmawan Wijanarka, M.Hum. I thank him for the correction of my thesis.
My deepest gratitude for my mom, Hj. Christianti T. Rimba, S.H. and dad, Sugeng Widodo, S.H., M.M., they are my best sponsors in life; I thank both of them for everything (I could not ask for better parents). I thank them so much for trusting me in every choice in my life. I also would like to thank my sister, Weningtyas Rah Hutami, and my brother Permadi Sinung Dewanto.
And then to the person I always adore, Yudha Wastu Jagratara. I really appreciate his support and attention during the hardest time in making this thesis.
I thank him for his patience and understanding in every single thing.
I would like to say tons of thanks to my beloved friends. Adisty Herliningtyas, S.S., Ephifania Sheilla Paramita, S.S., and Fransiska Dewi Hastuti, I thank them all for the lovely friendship we share in college. And the next one would be to Dewi Wening Dwi Andari, my partner in leisure, I must have gone mad without her jokes. My classmates of 2004, thanks for all semesters we vi shared together. Then to Yason Hendro, I thank him very much for the discussion and correction.
Last but not least, I would like to thank all of English Letters’ lecturers and staffs at the secretariat. It is impossible to do this without their help. Thank you very much for the last four years.
There are many people who support me but it is impossible for me to mention all the names here, but I thank them all very much.
WIDYA RANI HAPSARI
TABLE OF CONTENTSTITLE PAGE .................................................................................................i
APPROVAL PAGE ........................................................................................ii
MOTTO PAGE ...............................................................................................iv
DEDICATION PAGE ...................................................................................v
TABLE OF CONTENTS ..............................................................................viii
CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION .................................................................1A. Background of the Study .....................................................................1 B. Problem Formulation ...........................................................................4 C. Objectives of the Study ........................................................................5 D. Definition of Terms ..............................................................................5
CHAPTER II: THEORETICAL REVIEW ................................................7A. Review of Related Studies ...................................................................7 B. Review of Related Theories .................................................................9
1. Theory on Character and Characterization .................................9
2. Review on Racial Discrimination ...............................................11
3. Review on Minority ....................................................................13
4. Review on the Situation of Afghanistan ......................................16
5. Review on the Hazaras in Afghanistan ........................................19
C. Theoretical Framework ........................................................................24
CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY .............................................................26A. Object of the Study ..............................................................................26 B. Approach of the Study .........................................................................28 C. Method of the Study .............................................................................29
CHAPTER IV: ANALYSIS ..........................................................................31A. The Characteristics of the Hazaras in The Kite Runner .......................32
1. The Hazaras as the Outsiders ..........................................................32
2. The Hazaras as the Lowest Class in the Society.............................38
3. The Hazaras as the Oppressed People with Minority Status .........42
B. The Discriminations .............................................................................52
CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION .....................................................................65
APPENDICES ..................................................................................................70Appendix 1: Summary of The Kite Runner ......................................70 Appendix 2: Pictures of The Hazaras and the Pashtuns .................73
WIDYA RANI HAPSARI. The Discriminations Toward Hazara People as
Seen in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Yogyakarta: Department ofEnglish Letters, Faculty of Letters, Sanata Dharma University, 2008.
This study discusses a novel written by an Afghan author named Khaled Hosseini entitled The Kite Runner. This novel tells about the discriminations toward the Hazara people in Afghanistan which has been happening for generations.
There are two questions in this thesis, namely: 1) How are the Hazaras characterized in The Kite Runner? 2) How do the characteristics of the Hazaras represent the discriminations in Afghanistan?
To solve the first problem, some literary reviews concerning the theory of character and characterization are conducted to find out the characters’ characterization. To solve the second problem, two theories are used, which are the theory of minority and discrimination. Theory of minority is used to analyze the characters’ characterization who were born with the identity of the Hazara and as a result became the oppressed minority. And the theory of discrimination is used to analyze the discrimination that happens in the characters’ life.
The results of the study show that the Hazaras in Afghanistan are characterized as the outsiders, the lowest class in the society, and the oppressed people with minority status who face the discriminations. Their physical appearance and religion make them face the unfair situation in life. They are unwanted and abandoned. On top of things, they are the minority in Afghanistan society. This makes them deal with inhuman treatments from other Afghans. The discriminations happened because of their identity as Hazara people. The Hazara characters in this story are the examples of the discriminations that happen for generations. The Hazaras also become the objects of massacre by the Taliban. The results of this study give the readers information about the fact that happens in Afghanistan for a long period of time. At the end of the results, discriminations are still believed as the never ending social problem in Afghanistan. x
WIDYA RANI HAPSARI. The Discriminations Toward Hazara People as
Seen in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Yogyakarta: Jurusan SastraInggris, Fakultas Sastra, Universitas Sanata Dharma, 2008.
Skripsi ini membahas tentang sebuah novel karya seorang penulis Afghanistan bernama Khaled Hosseini yang berjudul The Kite Runner. Novel ini menceritakan tentang diskriminasi terhadap kaum Hazara di Afghanistan yang terjadi dari generasi ke generasi.
Ada dua pertanyaan yang terdapat dalam skripsi ini. Pertanyaan yang pertama adalah 1) Bagaimanakah kaum Hazara dikarakterisasikan dalam The Kite
Runner ? 2) Bagaimanakah karakteristik kaum Hazara mewakili diskriminasi
yang terjadi di Afghanistan? Untuk memecahkan masalah yang pertama, beberapa telaah referensi yang berkaitan dengan teori karakter dan karakterisasi dilakukan untuk menemukan karakterisasi tokoh tersebut. Untuk memecahkan masalah yang kedua, digunakan dua teori yaitu teori minoritas dan teori diskriminasi. Teori minoritas digunakan untuk menganalisa karakterisasi tokoh yang terlahir dengan identitas sebagai Hazara sehingga hal tersebut membuat mereka menjadi kelompok yang tertindas. Sedangkan teori diskriminasi digunakan untuk menganalisa diskriminasi yang terjadi dalam kehidupan tokoh tersebut.
Hasil-hasil dari telaah penelitian ini menunjukkan bahwa kaum Hazara di Afghanistan dikarakterisasikan sebagai masyarakat terbuang, masyarakat dengan kelas social terendah di masyarakat, dan masyarakat yang tertindas dan mengalami diskriminasi. Keadaan fisik dan agama membuat mereka menghadapi situasi yang tidak adil. Mereka tidak diinginkan dan terbuang. Selanjutnya mereka menjadi kaum minoritas dalam masyarakat Afghanistan. Hal tersebut membuat mereka mengalami perlakuan tidak manusiawi dari warga Afghanistan lainnya. Diskriminasi yang terjadi disebabkan oleh identitas mereka sebagai Hazara. Tokoh-tokoh Hazara dalam cerita ini adalah contoh dari diskriminasi yang berlangsung dari generasi ke generasi. Kaum Hazara juga menjadi objek pembunuhan masal oleh Taliban. Hasil hasil dari telaah penelitian ini bertujuan untuk memberikan informasi kepada pembaca tentang fakta yang terjadi sekian lama di Afghanistan. Pada akhirnya, diskriminasi masih dianggap sebagai masalah sosial yang tidak ada akhirnya. xi
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION A. Background of the Study In life, human beings experience many things in every moment. As
creatures that have complete feelings – emotion, happiness, anger, sadness, and many more – they deal with those as one long episode. Sometimes these emotions are captured in aim to have something memorable. They can be childhood memories, the realities surrounding them, or even imaginations. To make them memorable, people need mediums for those things; a medium that can represent all the manifestations in their life.
Literature is one medium to capture those experiences. We can say that literature is the imitation of human life as it captured the image and represent the feelings. John Dryden supported this in his book entitled Selected Criticism; he says that “Literature is lively image of human nature, representing passions and humors, and the changes of fortune to which it is subject, for the delight and instruction of mankind” (1970: 36).
The literary work – novels, plays, poems, etc. – is a printed evidence of human life that will be retold in the future. The story that appeals in the literary work can tell about human things. It is stated in Theory of Literature by Wellek and Warren. They say that:
Literature is the reflection of human feeling toward his life. It is closely related to human experience through which we can learn the image of human beings that is expressed in the written way. It can also be defined as the work of arts that represents human life (1959: 94).
2 People who read literary work can get some lessons and better understanding about life from it.
In literature, the elements inside (intrinsic) and outside (extrinsic) are both related to human beings’ experiences in life. Literature contained such feelings and even describe about social, cultural, historical, and political life. If we talk about social life, there are so many problems related to it. Human beings are social creatures and living in complex circumstances is one thing that they can not avoid. This because life is never flat; it deals with many problems and human beings are in it.
Living in a world with diversity for human beings can be both easy and difficult. The world is one big land in which many of its people come from different backgrounds, nationalities, races, religions, languages, even tribes. One thing that we should remember, people are created different from one another.
For several countries, those differences do not really matter in the social life. On the contrary, there are many countries that still cannot deal with those things, especially where the social structure is set by the previous society.
In a society with strict structure, differences are mostly not well accepted. There are some states in the Middle East that still hold that common belief. As we all know, the Middle East inherits the ancient culture of Arab origin which is closely related to strict social structure. An important point about them is that even in areas that historically share the same culture, religion, and tribe, racial discrimination is still occurs. Afghanistan is one good example of a country in the Middle East with strict social structure and its practice on racial discrimination.
3 After the 9/11 tragedy, negative propaganda is subjected to Afghanistan.
It is seen as the homeland of the terrorists. Despite Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, the world’s view toward Afghanistan seems very impossible to be changed. Afghanistan has historically been marked by a strong society and weak state. According to William Malley and Amin Saikal in their book Regime
Change in Afghanistan: Foreign Intervention and the Politics of Legitimacy , they
say that the strength of Afghanistan society has come from its web-like character, in which multiple, largely autonomous, social units, most importantly tribes and their subdivisions, have retained their identity within a political unit in the face of bureaucratic-administrative accretions within their territories (1991: 13).
In the modern world that we live in now, racial discrimination is one serious problem in society. It is important to note that, racial discrimination can occur in many countries. It is the people who create the boundaries. They limit themselves in a limited group – exclusively made by the majority – to make a comfortable situation for them to live. Usually, people from the same race are gathered in the same society. They shared same ideas, same culture, and same faith. They believed that they will feel secure if they live with people who physically and culturally have similarities with them.
This is also what happened in Afghanistan. Four ethnic groups – Pashtun, Uzbek, Tajik, and Hazaras – that inhabit there, the gap between the majority tribe and the minority is pretty significant. Pashtun is the majority tribe; they are big in number and also the gap creator among the other tribes. The gap is factually
4 notable. This discrimination in Afghanistan also causes two other domino effects of civil wars and poverty.
Many Afghan nationalists who struggle for the peace in their country have tried to tell the world about this fact in many ways. One of that is through literature. An Afghan author named Khaled Hosseini is one of those who successfully captured the real situation in Afghanistan. Racial discrimination toward the Hazaras is the idea of his novel The Kite Runner, which is set in Afghanistan. The Hazara characters: Ali, Hassan, Farzana, and Sohrab are told to be the victims of the never ending tortures by the Pashtun – and later, the Taliban
- – and their life could not be even become better generations after.
This paper will study the racial discriminations toward the Hazaras that are depicted in the novel. Later on, the paper will observe and analyze the Hazaras and their momentous existence, and will help the writer answer the questions.
B. Problem Formulation
The problems of this thesis will be based on the previous explanation. They are formulated as follows:
1. How are the Hazaras characterized in The Kite Runner?
2. How do the characteristics of the Hazaras represent the discrimination in Afghanistan?
5 C. Objectives of the Study In this study, the two questions above will be answered by reliable and satisfying answers. First, the writer wants to discuss about how the author characterized the Hazaras in the story. Secondly, the writer will describe the Hazara identity that leads them to be a minor tribe in Afghanistan. The last one, this study intends to find the explanation for how the characteristics of the Hazaras represent the racial discrimination in Afghanistan. The analysis of the study will be focused on those two main problems that are stated in the problem formulation.
D. Definition of Terms
Certain terms are used in this study. To explain the appropriate meaning and to avoid ambiguity of certain terms, definition of terms is needed to fulfill them all. The important terms of this study are:
1. Racial Discrimination Racial discrimination is a term that is used to describe any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life (Costa, Banton, and Garvalov; Centre for Human Rights, 1990:14).
2. Character Character, according to Abrams in Glossary of Literary Term, is “the person presented in a dramatic or narrative work, who are interpreted by the readers as being endowed with moral, dispositional, and emotional qualities that are expressed in what they say – the dialog and what they do – the action” (1993:23).
3. Minority Minority is a national, ethnic, religious, or linguistic group different from other groups inside a sovereign State with following criteria: numerically smaller than the rest of population, must be in a non-dominant position to require protection, and differences in ethnic or national identity, in culture, language, or religion (Caportoti, Eide, and Palley; Centre for Human Rights, 1990:9).
CHAPTER II THEORETICAL REVIEW A. Review of Related Studies There are some reviews about The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and in
this chapter the writer will discuss three reviews. The first one to discuss is a review written by Royal Hamel in The Interim website which was published on February 2008 entitled The Kite Runner Teaches Friendship, Atonement. This review discusses about the friendship between Amir and Hassan which according to the reviewer is the foundation of the story. The friendship itself will give two themes to the story. The first one is the deep devotion that Hassan expresses to Amir over and over again; and it is captured in his memorable words as he runs off to bring home the trophy kite. The second theme is atonement that surfaces in an old friend’s cryptic challenge, “There is a way to be good again.” In the story, Amir seeks forgiveness, redemption, and freedom from guilt by doing a good deed that he hopes will erase his evil past. In this review, the writer can see that loyalty is one thing that clearly depicted by the characteristic of the friendship between the two characters, Amir and Hassan.
The second review is by Torn Dragonfly in Allpoetry website which was published in May 21, 2007. The reviewer sees sacrifice as the major theme in The
Kite Runner . According to him, this is demonstrated through the various
relationships existing between Amir and his family. He feels guilty throughout
8 the story to those who have made sacrifices for him (his mother died by giving birth to him, Baba for his dying in cancer, and Hassan for the silence of the lamb). In this review, it is also explained about the character development that happens to Amir. His character is developed throughout the story that allows him to make sacrifices for those around him after realizing the nature of his selflessness in the past, for not saving Hassan from the rape. This review gives the moral realization of Amir, whose heart is touched by the life changing moment. He is finally able to put his lifelong guilt to rest, gives payback to Hassan by saving his son from Assef.
The last review is a review by Maharnilad Aguirre in her essay The Kite
Runner as cited from her blog. Aguirre’s review is about The Kite Runner as a
story that does not rely on propaganda to be successful. She finds out that the story can stands on its storyline, and does not rely on its setting and time. This story, however, tries to focus more on Amir’s journey to manhood and the relationships he has along the way, than the political happenings in Afghanistan.
The strong underlying force of this novel is the relationship between Amir and Hassan although inside it also tells about the brutality of the Taliban. According to Aguirre, Hosseini does not involve any propaganda in his novel. If The Kite Runner was really written as a means for propaganda, then Hosseini would have focused more on Assef being a Taliban member, and not as Amir's childhood enemy. Also, if The Kite Runner was propaganda, Hosseini would have further developed the ideas and facts about/behind the war and the political issues
9 happening in Afghanistan, instead of developing Amir and Hassan as characters.
The novel develops the relationship between the two and how they work it. (http://maggiejaneshappyboat.blogspot.com/2006/09/kite-runner-essay_28.html).
However, this study tries to analyze something different from other related studies. This study analyzes the problem of racial discrimination in The
Kite Runner ; in other words, this study gives a new contribution to literaryreview.
B. Review of Related Theories
Since the aim of this study is to answer the problems formulated in the previous part, the study needs some theories that are useful and helpful to support the analysis. They are Theory on Character and Characterization, Review on Racial Discrimination, Review on Minority, and the last one is Review on the Hazaras Tribe in Afghanistan.
1. Theory on Character and Characterization
Character is an important intrinsic element in a literary work. Without it, the story will not run well. It is important to find the definitions of characters.
The first definition according to Abrams in Glossary of Literary Terms, character is defined as a person presented in a dramatic work, who are interpreted by the readers as being endowed with moved and disposition qualities that are expressed in their dialogue and their action (1982:20). Then, according to Robert Stanton in
An Introduction to Fiction , character refers to the mixtures of interests, desires,
10 emotions, and moral principles that form the individuals (1965:17). In Literature
for Composition by Barnet, the definitions of character are tending to fall into
two: as the figure in a literary work and as the personality that is the mental and moral qualities of a figure (1988:71).
In order to understand a character, there is another theory that the readers need to know, characterization. Rohrberger and Wood in Reading and Writing
about Novel define characterization as the process by which an author creates
character, it is the devices that he/she makes the readers to believe a character in the particular type of person he is (1971:20). Characterization is more than just physical appearance of the character. According to Dr. L. Kip Wheeler on his site Literary Vocabulary Dr. L. Kip Wheeler, characterization is an author or poet’s use of description, dialogue, dialect, and action to create in the reader an emotional or intellectual reaction to a character or to make the character more vivid and realistic. Careful readers note each character’s attitude and thoughts, actions and reactions, as well as any language that reveals geographic, social, or cultural background (http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_C.html). Furthermore, it can be said that a character needs some characteristics to distinctive him or her from other characters.
To make the readers understand more about the character, there are several ways as stated by Murphy in Understanding Unseen (1972:161-173): a. A personal description: the author describes the appearance of a character in details such as the face, the skin color, the hair, etc.
b. A character as seen by another character: the author describes certain character through the other character’s opinion.
c. Speech: the author gives the readers some clue about the character through what the character say.
d. Past life: in certain events of the character’s past life, the readers will know the characteristic of him/her.
e. Conversation of others: through the conversations done by other people, the readers will know what they say about the character.
f. Reactions: the readers will know what kind of person the character is by seeing how he/she reacts to various situations in the story.
g. Direct comment: the author gives direct comment to the character.
h. Thoughts: by knowing what in the character’s head, the readers will know his/her characteristic. i. Mannerism: the character’s behavior will show his/her characteristic.
2. Review on Racial Discrimination
The term racial discrimination is used to describe any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life (Costa, Banton, and Garvalov; Centre for Human Rights, 1990:14).
12 A more universal definition of racial discrimination as stated by Philomena Essed in the book Understanding Everyday Racism is “Prejudice or discrimination by one group toward others perceived as a different ‘race’, plus the power to enforce it.” Groups may be almost identical physiologically, yet be divided against each other on the basis of culture, language, religion, nationality, or any combination of the above. Racial discrimination requires four elements:
a. The belief in separate, definable and recognizable “races.” b. The belief that one “race” is superior to others.
c. Possession of power by the “superior race” to act against “inferior races” without effective defense.
d. Action that is both arbitrary and harmful (1991:76-77). Prejudice that remains an attitude can be emotionally painful and demoralizing, but it is not racism until it is put into action. The actions of individuals, in turn, are harmful to the degree that they are supported by power.
Defenders of racial discrimination have put forward the motivation: racial purity, or the maintenance of a cultural identity and status quo. Some proponents of racial purity maintain that their own race is the highest and best, source of all major advances in civilization, and should therefore be kept free of contamination by others. Other proponents claim that all ethnic groups have their own value, make their own special contributions to humanity, and therefore should be kept “separate but equal” for the sake of all (1991:133).
13 Racial discrimination, nevertheless, remains a stumbling block to the full realization of human rights. In spite of progress in some areas, distinctions, exclusions, restrictions, and preferences based on race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, continue to create and embitter conflict, and cause untold suffering and loss of life.
Discrimination can serve to reinforce the symbolic boundaries that separate the social groups from each other. Exposure to discrimination based on race has received the most attention in the research literature as what the writer do in this study. A major limitation of prior research on discrimination has been the conceptualization and measurement of experiences of unfair treatment.
3. Review on Minority
A universal definition of minority is stated by the United Nations through Centre for Human Rights in the Fact Sheets No. 18. Minority is a national, ethnic, religious, or linguistic group different from other groups inside a sovereign State with following criteria: numerically smaller than the rest of population, must be in a non-dominant position to require protection, and differences in ethnic or national identity, in culture, language, or religion (Caportoti, Eide, and Palley; Centre for Human Rights, 1990:9).
14 The criteria that taken together cover all minority situations as stated below: a. Numbers.
Minorities, obviously, must be numerically smaller than the rest of the population which constitutes the majority. However, there can be situations in which no group constitutes a majority, and a minority must be large enough to develop its own distinctive characteristics. It goes without saying that no minority—even the smallest—should suffer mistreatment or discrimination of any kind, and that its members must enjoy the protection of general human rights provision of the laws.
A minority group must be in a non-dominant position to require protection. There are dominant minorities which do not require protection. Indeed, dominant minorities violate—sometimes very seriously—the principles of equality, non-discrimination, and the expression of the people’s will as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
c. Difference in Ethnic or National Identity, in Culture, Language or Religion.
Minorities have stable ethnic, religious, or linguistic traits which are not those of the majority of the population in a State.
These characteristics, however, can also be applied to groups which are not true minorities: migrant workers, refugees, stateless persons, and other non nationals (1990:9).
15 In the modern world, the common situation is that countries embrace a mosaic of people. In most countries, there are majorities sharing a common history and cultural background, and there are smaller groups—the minorities— each with its own characteristics.
Minority exist in countries where tribes with large amount of members are dominated the life aspects. The difficulty lies in the variety of situations in which minorities exist. Some live together in well defined areas, separated dominant part of the population. Others are scattered throughout the national community.
Some minorities base a strong sense of collective identity on a well remembered or recorded history, while others retain only a fragmented notion of their common heritage.
In certain cases, minorities enjoy—or have known– a considerable degree of autonomy. In others, there is no past history of autonomy self-government. To this day, no single international instrument covers comprehensively the rights of minorities. Some important agreements, nevertheless, give members of minorities the opportunity to express and preserve their cultural, religious, and linguistic characteristics.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996, is particularly significant. Article 27 of the Covenant states:
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.
16 Ideally, the special rights above have special measures which are needed to safeguard the identity, heritage, and dignity of minorities. And whenever the rights of minorities are denied, universally accepted human rights will be violated.
Although minority problems change in their scope and external manifestations with the passage of time, there is no reason to believe that the groups concerned, or their claims, will disappear, unless positive action is taken.
4. Review on the Situation of Afghanistan
The review on the situation of Afghanistan in this part is taken from two sources. The first one is Louis Dupree’s Afghanistan. In the book, Dupree exposes Afghanistan in the age of its monarchy until 1973, the year when the book is published. The book itself is a documentary research and it contains complete information about Afghanistan at that moment. The second source is
The Land and People of Afghanistan: Portraits of the Nations by Mary LouiseClifford which explain about Afghanistan in statistic data.
Dupree’s exploration of Afghanistan finds out that it is a remote, mountainous, land-locked country in southwestern Asia. Afghanistan becomes an independent nation in 1919. In the sixty years that followed, the leaders tried to establish a government based on parliamentary democracy (1972:1). The government in Afghanistan is dominated by the Pashtuns.
There are three major ethnic identities in Afghanistan according to Clifford. They are the Pashtun, Tajik and Uzbek. The Pashtun dominate in the
17 southern and southeastern parts of the country, and constitute about half of the population. Tribal belonging is the primary loyalty of most Pashtuns, but historically they have formed strong tribal confederacies in response to outside threats. Different levels are valid in different contexts. The royal family of Afghanistan belongs to the Mohammadzai clan of the Barakzai tribe, within the Durrani confederation the Pashtun. Political power in Afghanistan has always been in the hand of the Pashtuns: in fact Afghan means Pashtun, and Afghanistan means the land of the Pashtuns. The terms Afghan and Pashtun are interchangeable (1989:16).
The Pashtuns are physically resembled Arabian people. They have fair skin, big eyes and pointed nose; their hair more like wavy and sometimes curly.
The Pashtuns are mostly strong and tall. Their religion is Sunni Islam. Sunni Islam is also known as the orthodox Islam. This sect of Islam has the strongest believe in Al-Qur’an. The Sunnis believe in every single letter of it, it being the word of Allah the Exalted. The Qur'an is neither temporal nor newly created, but is eternal. Falsehood does not approach it from before it or behind it. It is the primary source of all the Muslims' tenets of faith, their rites and rules of conduct. The Sunnis also believe that the caliph of Prophet Muhammad should be the one who is the most able and pious. At Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632, Abu Bakar, a close companion of the Prophet, became his successor or caliph. The followers of the caliph would come to be known as the Sunnis. The Sunnis accept that the first four caliphs, including Ali, were the rightful followers of
18 Muhammad. These later become the basic different between Sunni and Shi’a (1986:17-19).
Tajiks are found primarily in the rural northeast, mostly as mountain farmers. Many have now settled in the cities, where they play important roles in business and in state administration, and are the only non-Pashtuns to have a position with in the upper middle class. They have no tribal organization, but normally refer to themselves by valley or region of residence (1989:21).
The Uzbek live largely in the same areas as the Tajiks in the north, as farmers, traders or craftsmen. They maintain tribal designations for them selves, but defend their Uzbek identity in dealings with for example Tajiks. Many Uzbeks have fled Russian or Soviet expansionism. Uzbek is a distinct language, but most Uzbeks are also fluent in Farsi (1989:23). Now, the Tajiks and the Uzbeks occupied Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Among the major ethnic groups, there are the minor ethnic groups. They are The Baluchs, The Nuristans, The Aymaqs, and The Hazaras. The Hazaras take place as the ethnic group who suffer from discriminations because of their difference in comparison to the rest of the Afghans (1989:26).
Yet, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Constant warfare has prevented the Afghans from developing effective irrigation systems, which are required for farming. Most of the few major roadways in the country have been destroyed in the wars. Afghanistan has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Continual warfare is the biggest social problem facing the Afghans. The fighting has severely disrupted education, health care, employment
19 opportunities, and even the provision of basic needs such as food and shelter (Dupree, 1972: 111).
5. Review on the Hazaras in Afghanistan
The Hazaras are people of distinctions –set apart from fellow Afghans by religion, mixed ethnicity and an independent nature– and they have suffered for them. Camille Mirepoix in her illustrated book Afghanistan in Pictures, mentions that the Hazaras are originally believe comes from Mongolian descendant. The strongly Mongoloid appearance of the Hazaras makes it easy to distinguish them from the neighboring populations. Most Hazaras have broad faces with flat noses and narrow eyes, scant facial hair, and are shorter of build than their neighbors. It remains unclear what their origin are, but Eastern Turkic or Mongol descent have been suggested (1971:56-58). Gengis Khan is believed as the one who brings Mongolian influences to the Hazaras. For years, however, the Pashtuns have held the Mongols’ past as a shameful pall over the Hazaras. The Pashtuns judge Gengis Khan. They criticize him through what the Mongols did. They hardly separate Gengis from the Mongols and always talks about the barbaric tribes of the Mongols and the mayhem caused by the group. They have no qualms of stating how the Mongols destroy cities and killed humans. The Pashtuns have shamelessly mocked the Hazaras for being descendants of the Mongols, something that no one can control. For years they have called the Hazaras “outsiders”, “invaders”, etc.
20 The Hazaras face persecution at the hands of the ruling Pashtun since the 18th century. Under the brutal rule of the Emir Abdur Rahman Khan in the mid 19th century, the highland Hazaras were subjugated under his central authority in Kabul. After an unsuccessful revolt many Hazaras immigrate to Quetta in Balochistan and to Mashhed in north-eastern Iran. Rahman forced those that stayed to attend Sunni mosques and abandon Shi’ism. He also imposed tougher regulations by imposing heavy taxes. In 1901, his successor Habibullah Khan granted amnesty to the Hazaras but the seeds of distrust were already laid to deep.
As a result Hazaras continue to have grievances, including desiring greater political control in their region, greater economic opportunities, freedom of religion, freedom to promote their culture, and protection from other communal groups.
The overwhelming majority of Hazaras are adherents of Imami Shi'ism, although a few are Ismaili Shi’a, or Sunni. Ethnic boundaries are qualified by membership in religious sects, so that Imami Shi’a Hazaras would often deny their ethnic affiliation with the Ismaili Hazaras despite their shared language and phenotype. Shi’a Islam believes that Imams are descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. While the Sunnis believe that Al-Qur’an is eternal and has no false, , to the Shi’as the Qur'an's authenticity is doubtful, and if it appears to contradict any of their sectarian beliefs or doctrines, then they give the Qur'anic text strange, far-fetched interpretations that agree with their sectarian views. For that reason they are called Al-Mutawwilah –those who give their own interpretations to the . revealed texts– by the Qur’an’s interpreters (1971:79-81) Robert Canfield in
21 Hazara describes the correlation of Hazaras-Iran in case of religion. As a religious minority in Afghanistan, the Shi’a has oriented themselves towards Iran, particularly for religious guidance. Institutionalized in Islam, but most frequently practiced by Shi’a Muslims, is taqiyyah, the dissimulation of one's religious beliefs to avoid persecution. Iran uses the Hazaras to wield power in Afghanistan in opposition to Pashtuns and other Sunni tribes. In the past, the Hazaras have received external support from Iran. Given Iran's regional status and power, Iranian patronage may also provide Hazaras with some degree of protection as well (1978:190).
Hazarajat, the land of the Hazaras, comprises the mountainous central areas of Afghanistan. It has distinct boundaries; a traveler knows when Hazaras’ territory is entered because it is the only territory in Afghanistan which is isolated. While other areas of Afghanistan are multiethnic, only Hazaras live permanently in Hazarajat. While other ethnic territories extend into neighboring nation-states, Hazarajat is landlocked in the middle of Afghanistan. The geographical boundary arguably coincides with a political boundary between distinct populations.
According to Ernadi Hafizullah in The Hazara of Afghanistan: an
Historical, Cultural, Economic, and Political Study , Hazara regions were a major
battleground in the Afghan civil war. Their location in the center of the country, between Pashtun-dominated and Tajik-dominated regions, made them vulnerable to attacks and frequent changes of controlling authority. Hazaras also are targeted
22 disproportionately by the Taliban for reprisals, probably because of their religious identity as Shi’a Muslims.
Several massacres of Hazara civilians were reported in 1998. However, a 1998 agreement between Hazara faction leader Hujjat-al-Islam Sayyid Mohammad Akbari and the Taliban has left some administration of some areas of Hazarajat, nominally under Taliban control, in the hands of ethnic Hazaras.
Hazara regions still suffer from the aftermath of the civil war, including the presence of landmines, displaced persons and lack of usable infrastructure (1998:17).
In the case of the Hazaras, the implications of a social boundary are so severe as to function as an ethnic marker as stated by Hassan Poladi in his book
The Hazara :
There was the thoroughly effective subjugation of one ethnic group by another, and of one religious sect by another - a situation which, I suggest, progressively appears more like the social distinction between groups in a caste hierarchy (1989:67).
The social boundary in itself has been nearly inescapable for the Hazaras; even those who have managed to transcend it are constantly reminded of it. A good indicator on inter-ethnic status relations is marriage preferences. The Hazaras marry with its own groups, but mainly as wife-givers, not wife-takers. A Pashtun never gives wife to a Hazara, and when a Pashtun marries a non-Pashtun woman, it is hardly ever his first wife (Poladi, 1989:70).
Traditionally, the Hazaras do not play much of a role in the market. To the extent that agricultural goods which are produced in Hazarajat have reached any market, this is as a result of occasional surplus, not cash production. Trade by
23 Hazaras is largely limited to peddling by people who travel; trade within Hazarajat is dominated by Pashtun nomads. A combined system of trade and credit allowed the nomads to acquire much land in Hazarajat, normally with the former owner cultivating it on a sharecropper basis. From 1960 the government imposed restrictions on nomad trade, then from 1975 the import of goods from Pakistan was banned, severely restricting the nomad trade. Nomad trade up to the mid-1970 not only made the Hazaras dependent on external goods: more serious was the loss of property rights as a result of the extensive debts created.
Education is an extremely scarce good among the Hazaras. While six years schooling became compulsory in Afghanistan from 1931, access was limited by scarcity of schools. In Hazarajat the situation was particularly bad, due both to government priorities and the fact that poor people need their children's labor. When higher education was introduced from the late 1940s, access was restricted by distance, lack of resources, and lack of contacts, and all factors contributing to multiply the effect of inadequate primary education (Poladi, 1989:169).
A previous book by Robert Canfield entitled Hazara Integration into the
Afghan Nation: Some Changing Relations between the Hazara and Afghan
Officials explains about the law in Afghanistan which unfair to the Hazaras. In
court cases, a law, which referred to Sunni doctrines, was applied, adding to the perceived discrimination. While the corporate side of state expansion was increasingly felt in Hazara areas, little was seen of a representative side. Also at the national level, Hazaras representation was restricted: administrative divisions
24 were tailored to make Hazaras a minority in each district, or to make Hazaras districts numerically large without compensating through a larger number of representatives (1972:93).
Land, markets and education were essentially disputed resources, and these disputes were anchored in political decisions. Hence, the competition could be expected to ignite political expression among the Hazaras, both the central and the local levels. However, the state administration had effectively penetrated Hazaras society with administrators who related directly to local leaders of small units. Up to 1978 this represented a functional obstacle to the emergence of regional or ethnic political expression as stated by Ernadi Hafizullah in The
Hazara of Afghanistan: an Historical, Cultural, Economic, and Political Study(1998:84).
C. Theoretical Framework
In analyzing the study, the writer provides some theories in order to find the answers to the problems. Therefore, the writer will emphasize more in analyzing the discriminations to the Hazaras in The Kite Runner as the main substance. In order to support the analysis, there are some theories that will be applied.
This study deals with the discriminations to the Hazaras. The writer sees that from the Hazara characters in the novel. That is why theory on character and characterization are applied to understand the characteristic of the Hazaras.
25 Since the discrimination is the main problems, the writer also applies review about racial discrimination by taken the information from some sources which provide it. The definition and explanation about minority is applied in order to understand the position of the Hazaras in Afghanistan as a minority.
Then, review on the situation of Afghanistan is applied to give factual condition about the country itself. The last one, review on the Hazaras in Afghanistan is applied to give more reliable evidences and explanation about these people. This theory will help the writer make in-depth analysis about the Hazaras as seen from their original history until today.
CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY A. Object of the Study The object of this paper is a novel entitled The Kite Runner, written by an Afghan author named Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini is an Afghan who moved to the USA to seek political asylum because of the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. The
novel is first published in the USA and the UK. In this study, the writer uses one that is published in the UK by Bloomsbury Publishing (paperback edition) in 2004. The Kite Runner consists of 341 pages and is divided into 25 chapters. Hosseini – who is called by the Time Magazine as the “almost certainly the most famous Afghan in the world” – writes The Kite Runner in 2001 and it is his first novel. By May 2007, it had been published in thirty-eight countries, although not yet in Afghanistan.
This novel is an epic story with a personal history of what the people of Afghanistan had and have to endure in an ordinary every day life; a country that is divided between political powers and religiously idealistic views and beliefs which creates poverty, and violence within the people and their terrorists-run country. Since it was published (2003), The Kite Runner has been lavishly praised by the critics, captivating readers across the country, and climbing steadily up the bestseller lists. Hosseini uses his "Western sensibility" to bring America's and the world's attention to the real faces of Afghanistan through fiction. His effort for his country is not in vain. He is a goodwill envoy to the
27 United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, since 2006 and his website contains links to many aid organizations that are helping Afghanistan.
In 2006, a movie based on the book of the same title by Khaled Hosseini is made by Paramount Pictures. The movie was expected to be released in November 2007. However, after concern for the safety of the young actors in the film, its release date was pushed back six weeks. Afghanistan Government banned this movie because of the extraordinary precautions taken to address concerns about the film's depiction of one boy's rape and other scenes of conflict
Jason Straziuso in
between members of Pashtun and Hazara tribes as reported by TheShowBuzz website. (http://www.showbuzz.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/16/movies/main3720052.sh tml)
The Kite Runner is about the boy named Amir and his life from childhood
in Kabul, Afghanistan from before the revolution and up to his life in America in 2001. Amir has Shia, Hazara servants, a father and son, Ali and Hassan. The root of the story lies in Amir and Hassan relationship as depicted by their social differences. Amir. the Pashtun who wants to get his father’s attention is jealous to Hassan because his father treats him the same way. The racial discrimination that lies beneath the story later is exposed by the existence of Assef the bully. As a boy who idolized Hitler, he oppresses the lower class and especially to Hassan. A life changing moment for Amir is when he could not do anything about Hassan’s rape just because Hassan is a Hazara; and there is no use at all if he helps a Hazara. He remains silent until it haunts him for the rest of his life. The moment of redemption is come when Amir decides to go back to Afghanistan after long
28 years as a refugee in America. The fact that Hassan and his family are tortured by the Taliban makes him want to give payback before it is too late. Finally, Amir can fulfill it by saving Sohrab, Hassan’s son from Assef the leader of Taliban.
B. Approach of the Study
This study is a representation of racial discrimination problems which are reflected by the Hazara characters in the novel. The writer wants to analyze the racial discriminations toward the Hazara from the social-historical point of view based on their characteristics and identity. Later, it can be seen whether the Hazaras are discriminated or not.
Therefore, to deal with the problems, this study uses socio-historical approach because it is the appropriate approach to be related with the topic to analyze. In A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature, Guerin states about social-historical approach:
”This approach sees a literary work chiefly, if not exclusively, as a reflection of its author’s life and times or the life and times of the characters in the work” (Guerin, 1999:22). In short, the social-historical approach sees literary work as a reflection of the author’s manifestations in life. This include realities that happen during the time when the author writes the story, it can be historical moments of certain era or the author’s childhood. This approach will interpret literature into the context of social-historical substance as it was underlying the story; and it will be helpful in analyzing the problems. So, this approach will help the writer in answering the problems.
29 C. Method of the Study This study uses some method to collect and complete the data. The main step is library research. The primary source in this study is a novel written by
Khaled Hosseini entitled The Kite Runner. The secondary sources were the books which subjects are related to the study and the online references via internet. The data collected from the secondary sources were used to support the analysis.
On theories; theories of character and characterization that was applies in this study to help understanding the Hazara characters are taken from Abrams’Glossary of Literary Terms, Robert Stanton’s An Introduction to Fiction, Barnet’s Literature for Composition, Rohrberger and Wood’s Reading and
Writing about Novel, and Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s website Literary Vocabulary Dr.
L. Kip Wheeler.
Some reviews are also used by the writer. The first review was the reviews on racial discrimination. The reviews were taken from the United Nation’s Centre for Human Rights in Human Rights Fact Sheets (Fact Sheet No, 12) and Philomena Essed’s Understanding Everyday Racism.
The reviews on minority were taken from United Nation’s Centre for Human Rights in Human Rights Fact Sheets (Fact Sheet No. 18) and Article 27 of the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.
The review on the situation in Afghanistan was taken from Louis Dupree’s Afghanistan. And then the last reviews on the Hazara in Afghanistan were taken from Camille Mirepoix’s Afghanistan in Pictures, Robert Canfield’s
Hazara and Hazara Integration into Afghan Nation: Some Changing Relations
between the Hazaras and Afghan Officials , Hassan Poladi’s The Hazara, and
Ernadi Hafizullah’s The Hazaras of Afghanistan: an Historical, Cultural, Economic, and Political Study .
There are some steps taken to analyze the work. First, the book is read and reread. Then, the writer identified the characteristic of the Hazara characters by applying the theory of character and characterization. The characteristic of the Hazara characters were seen from the physical appearance, the past life, the manner, the dialogs with others, the attitudes toward other characters which revealed the geographic, social, and cultural background. After the characteristic was found, the writer tried to figure out the identity of the Hazaras as a minority.
By applying Review on Minority, the writer tried to identify the Hazaras identity that made them became minority in Afghanistan.
At the last, the writer tried to find out the discriminations that faced by the Hazaras in The Kite Runner by applying the review on Racial Discrimination.
The Hazaras as the minority in Afghanistan had lived in discriminations for many years and had no right on any life aspect. The writer applied this review to reveal the discrimination toward the Hazaras in Afghanistan.
CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS The Hazaras are the protagonist characters that will be analyzed in this
study. There are five Hazaras in the story that are exposed by Khaled Hosseini in
The Kite Runner through the story’s narrator, Amir. They are Ali, Sanaubar,
Hassan, Farzana, and Sohrab. These people are related each other. Their relation is started from Amir and Baba (Amir’s father) family. Ali is an orphan Hazara whose parents were killed; Baba’s father took him in as a servant and companion for Baba.
Ali is married to Sanaubar, his cousin. Later on, Sanaubar has an affair with Baba and Hassan, their son, is the proof of it. Hassan then becomes a loyal servant and friend to Amir, his half-brother. They did not know this secret until Rahim Khan (a close friend of Baba) tells Amir the truth. Hassan is married to Farzana, who also a Hazara, and Sohrab is their only child.
As stated by Robert Stanton in An Introduction to Fiction, character refers to the mixtures of interests, desires, emotions, and moral principles that form the individuals (1965:17). The Hazaras in this story are the characters who have all of the mixtures above. Those who deal with discriminations in the story are mostly represented by Ali and Hassan. Both Ali and Hassan have the mixtures of interests, desires, emotions, and moral principles in this story. They are chosen because there are many narrations about them as they appear more than the rest of Hazaras.
32 The discriminations that happen to these Hazaras are discriminations for generations because it always haunts them because of their Hazaras identity since a long time ago. Their characterization as Hazara people will be analyzed using the theory of characterization. The theory of characterization as stated by Dr. L.
Kip Wheeler on his site Literary Vocabulary Dr. L. Kip Wheeler, the description, dialogue, dialect, and action of a character can be noted by the readers through each character’s attitude and thoughts, actions and reactions, as well as any language that reveals geographic, social, or cultural background (http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_C.html). The theory of characterization by Dr. L. Kip Wheeler will be combined with M.J. Murphy’s. According to M.J.
Murphy in Understanding Unseen, there are several ways to understand the characters (1972:161-173). In this chapter, the characterization of the Hazaras can be found out by their personal description, by another character that sees them, their speech, their past life, their reactions, and their mannerism. The Hazaras characterization will also reveal their minority status in Afghanistan society that leads them to be discriminated. The discriminations itself will be explained later on as the theory of minority and discrimination applied with evidences taken from the book.
A. The Characteristics of the Hazaras
1. The Hazaras as Outsiders
Afghanistan’s Hazaras occupy the central highlands (the Hazarajat) of Afghanistan. Geographically, the Hazaras settled in other areas of Afghanistan as
33 early as the 13th century and were forced into their current location by Pashtun and Sunni expansionism in the 18th and 19th century. The Hazaras speak Farsi (Persian), belief in Shi’a Islam, and historically claimed the descent from Mongolian’s Gengis Khan.
From the history of their existence in Afghanistan, the Hazaras have been fully rejected by other Afghans, especially the Pashtuns. None of the true Afghans are originally come from China or Mongolia. And none of them are Shi’a Muslims, too. The Pashtuns never admit that the Hazaras are one of Afghanistan’s societies.
The most distinctive difference of Hazaras people is their physical appearances. It is what other Afghans see from them. The Hazaras’ physical appearance is quite different from other Afghans, as stated by Amir’s description about Hassan:
I can still see Hassan up on that tree, sunlight flickering through the leaves on his almost perfectly round face, a face like a Chinese doll chiseled from hardwood: his flat, broad nose and slanting, narrow eyes like bamboo leaves, eyes that looked, depending on the light, gold, green, even sapphire. I can still see his tiny low-set ears and that pointed stub of a chin, a meaty appendage that looked like it was added as a mere afterthought. And the cleft lip, just left or midline, where the Chinese doll maker’s instrument may have slipped, or perhaps he had simply grown tired and careless (p.3). The way Amir describes Hassan gives the reader an idea of how Hassan is quite different in case of physical appearance. Most Hazaras have broad faces with flat noses and narrow eyes, scant facial hair, and are shorter of build than their neighbors while the Pashtuns are Arabian-like (Mirepoix, 1971:56).
34 The founder of Afghanistan relates the word Afghanistan with Pashtun; Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. This means that they do not accept other people but Pashtuns. Although the Hazaras are not the only minority in Afghanistan, –there are Baluchs, Nuristans, and Aymaqs– they are placed as the number one minority to be discriminated.
The Hazaras are seen as the backward race since they are considered to be the descendants of Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, the barbaric tribe, but physically they are not as strong as the Pashtuns. The Pashtuns see Gengis Khan as a barbaric leader of Mongol tribes who led the destruction in Afghanistan in the past. They killed many Afghans and left the country in bad situation. The Hazaras are seen as Gengis Khan’s descendants who only dirty the land of Afghans.
What happen to Hassan also happens to his father, Ali. It can be seen when some kids in the neighborhood make fun of Ali’s physical appearance: Ali’s face and his walk frightened some of the younger children in the neighborhood. But the real trouble was with the older kids. Some had taken to calling him Babalu, or Boogeyman. “Hey, Babalu, who did you eat today?” they barked to a chorus of laughter. “Who did you eat, you flat-nosed Babalu?” (p.8). Ali has a crippled leg and paralysis in his lower face muscles and the neighborhood children ridicule him. Both Ali and Hassan are physically imperfect. These imperfections make them as the objects of mistreatment both individually or Hazaras as a group. Up to this point, the physical description of the Hazaras is one of the reasons for their characteristics as the outsiders.
35 The physical differences of the Hazaras are given by their ancestor, the Mongolians. Historically, they are believed as the forefather of the Hazaras. Amir himself does not know much about the history of Hazaras. What Amir knows about the Hazaras for years is only what he read from books written by a Pashtun historian:
They called him “flat-nosed” because of Ali and Hassan characteristic Hazaras Mongoloid features. For years, that was all I knew about the Hazaras, that they were Mogul descendants, and that they looked a little like Chinese people. School textbooks barely mentioned them and referred to their ancestry only in passing (p.8).
Because the Hazaras is believed as non-Afghan, they only appear in books just a few pages. Most of them are told differently from actual facts. The words are too many and usually put them into the unimportant parts where people come to a sense that they do not need any information about the Hazaras. Most of Pashtun people do not want to know anything about Hazaras –their history or every thing related to them— as individual or a group. Ironically, the Pashtuns who do this are people with education.
The books that Amir read only tell bad things about the Hazaras and some of the harsh words are familiar in Amir’s ear: The book said a lot of things I didn’t know, things my teachers hadn’t mentioned. Things Baba hadn’t mentioned either. It also said some things I did know, like that people called Hazaras mice-eating, flat-nosed, load-
carrying donkeys. I heard some of the kids in the neighborhood yell those names to Hassan (p.9).
What other characters said about the Hazaras gives the idea of how the physical difference can be the reason to put them as the outsiders among the Afghans.
Amir is a Pashtun and he is physically different from Hassan. The Pashtuns are
36 physically resembled Arabian people. They have fair skin, big eyes and pointed nose; their hair more like wavy and sometimes curly. The Pashtuns are mostly strong and tall while the Hazaras are the opposite.
Another reason to support their characteristics as the outsiders is their religion as Shi’a Muslims. The common custom and tradition of Pashtun Sunni Muslims in Afghanistan are relatively different from the Shi’a. They are strict to the rules while the Shi’a is more moderate. According to Clifford in her book
The Land and People of Afghanistan: Portraits of the Nations, Sunni Islam is
also known as the orthodox Islam. This sect of Islam has the strongest believe in Al-Qur’an. The Sunnis believe in every single letter of it, it being the word of Allah the Exalted. The Qur'an is neither temporal nor newly created, but is eternal. Falsehood does not approach it from before it or behind it. It is the primary source of all the Muslims' tenets of faith, their rites and rules of conduct. The Sunnis also believe that the caliph of Prophet Muhammad should be the one who is the most able and pious. At Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632, Abu Bakar, a close companion of the Prophet, became his successor or caliph. The Sunnis accept that the first four caliphs, including Ali, were the rightful followers of Muhammad while Shi’a Muslims believe that Imams are descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (1986:17-19). Sunni and Shia are different in certain points; these include the rules of marriage.
The Hazaras are familiar with interfamily marriage; it means a Hazara can marry his/her own relative as a natural choice of husband/wife while the Pashtuns are not. Ali’s past life as what Amir said explains this Hazaras’ characteristic:
37 I’m told no one was really surprised when Sanaubar eloped. People had raised their eyebrows when Ali, a man who had memorized the Koran, married Sanaubar, a woman nineteen years younger, a beautiful but notoriously unscrupulous woman who lived up to her dishonorable reputation. Like Ali, she was Shi’a Muslim and an ethnic Hazaras. She was also his first cousin and therefore a natural choice for a spouse. But beyond those similarities, Ali and Sanaubar had little in common, least of all their respective appearances. While Sanaubar’s brilliant green eyes and impish face had, rumor has it, tempted countless men into sin, Ali had a congenital paralysis of his lower facial muscles, a condition that rendered him unable to smile and left him perpetually grimfaced. It was an odd thing to see the stone-faced Ali happy, or sad, because only his slanted brown eyes glinted with a smile or welled with sorrow. People say that eyes are windows to the soul. Never was that more true than with Ali, who could only reveal himself through his eyes (p. 7-8). Because of their identity, they cannot get married with people of other tribes, only Hazaras. Even if the bride is a beautiful one like Sanaubar, still, she is a Hazara. They are abandoned and positioned as the outsiders; that forces the Hazaras to make a custom to marry their relatives or other Hazaras. As stated by Poladi in The Hazara, The Hazaras marry with its own groups, but mainly as wife-givers, not wife-takers (1989:70). Not only because of their status as the outsiders, this custom is created to save their people –who always become the commodity for trafficking and massacre– from the Pashtuns.
From the personal description, another character’s view, and their past life, the Hazaras are characterized as the outsiders as well as the geographic, social, and cultural background explain about it. This means, the Hazaras are seen as unwanted objects –also seen as the useless one– in Afghanistan even though they live there factually. Physical feature differences that they get from Mongols tribe including the Pashtuns’ hatred to the Mongols are the first reason and the
38 second one is their religion as Shi’a Muslims. Their existence in Afghanistan is never accepted by other Afghans because of these two reasons.
2. The Hazaras as the Lowest Class in the Society
The Hazaras live below the poverty level. They never stop protesting for their rights in economic. The likelihood of Hazaras protest is moderate. They are represented in the central government; however, it is dominated by ethnic Pashtuns. Furthermore, Hazaras remain among the worst off economically. After the first characteristic above, the writer will analyze the second characteristic of the Hazaras. They are considered a more lowly class than Pashtuns. The thing that is highlighted in this part is the mistreatment of the Hazaras who are all but banned from the higher appointments of society and forced to play the third-class citizen role.
They only are being fully accepted into society to be servants for wealthy Pashtuns like Amir, and his Baba. The idea of Amir as a superior Pashtun and Hassan as a lowly Hazara is merely a social construction that Amir overtly follows.
The relation between Amir and Hassan is very close; although factually they are a master and a servant. Hassan is natural for his generosity and never wanted to let Amir down. Amir tells about Hassan explicitly in his words as stated below when both of them are playing together:
Sometimes, up in those trees, I talked Hassan into firing walnuts with his slingshot at the neighbor’s one-eyed German shepherd.
39 Hassan never wanted to, but if I asked, really asked, he wouldn’t deny me. Hassan never denied me anything.
And he was deadly with his slingshot (p.4). Here, we can see that Hassan is a loyal person and for him, saying ‘no’ to Amir is a difficult thing to do.
As the lowest class in the society, the Hazaras get nothing more than what they can earn from their job. Since Ali and Hassan work as servants in Baba’s house, they live together but in separate place:
On the south end of the garden, in the shadows of a loquat tree, was the servants’ home, a modest little mud hut where Hassan lived with his father. It was there, in that little shack, that Hassan was born in the winter of 1964, just one year after my mother died giving birth to me (p.5-6). The relation between Amir and Hassan is no more than a master and a servant, but still Amir accepts Hassan as his friend. Baba never called Ali as a friend as Amir never openly called Hassan a friend, although they play together and grow up together. This is because, for Amir and Baba, their history and generation are more important than friendship. As what Baba’s father does to save the orphan Ali when his parents were killed.
Given their position in the society and the limited job, the Hazaras earn very small wage. This fact happens to all Hazaras regardless their sex. But the most unpleasant fact is that the Hazaras are sold legally in Afghanistan. They are not respected as human beings and this happens to Sanaubar. Although she used to have an affair with Baba, Sanaubar is not a prostitute. However, she left Ali and Hassan for an unknown reason and end up with herself as a trafficking victim. What happen to her then is because she is sold to the soldiers as a
40 prostitute. Sanaubar is quite notable among the soldiers because she is the most beautiful Hazara woman and also because of the rumor about her promiscuous reputation:
“You! The Hazara! Look at me when I’m talking to you!” the soldier barked. He handed his cigarette to the guy next to him, made a circle with the thumb and index finger of one hand. Poked it in and out. “I know your mother, did you know that? I knew her real good. I took her from behind that creek over there.” The soldier laughed. One of them made a squealing sound. I told Hassan to keep walking, keep walking. “What a tight little sugary cunt she had!” the soldier was saying, shaking hands with others, grinning” (p.7).
Hassan himself does not know this before one of the soldiers tells him about it. Ali only mentions that Sanaubar is sold to the soldiers. He has nothing left from her mother but then he must hear the fact that the soldiers do that thing to her mother. Just because Sanaubar is a Hazara, she can be sold as a sex slave.
Trafficking Hazaras is a common trade in Afghanistan as this always happens to the Hazaras for generations. This is an evidence of them as the lowest one in the society.
On the other hand, Ali has the same personality as Hassan. He is born imperfect but he does not really care about it. He is used to the mocking words from the kids in the neighborhood and other Afghans. When Amir tries to make fun of his walk, Ali does not do anything:
I was walking behind him, humming, trying to imitate his walk. I watched him swing his scraggy leg in a sweeping arc, watched his whole foot. It seemed a minor miracle he didn’t tip over with each step. When I tried it, I almost fell into the gutter. That got me giggling. Ali turned around, caught me aping him. He didn’t say anything. Not then, not ever. He just kept walking (p.8).
41 Ali realizes himself –physically and socially– very well. Many people, not only Amir, try to insult Ali for his physical appearance. Ali remains silent and never thinks about it.
Mistreatment is not only unpleasant thing that happens to them, their Hazara status also bring other unpleasant treatment from higher people –in status and education– in Afghanistan. To them, the Hazaras are not an important subject to talk about, even when the higher person is a teacher. This can be seen from what Amir’s teacher says about the Hazara when Amir shows him the book:
The following week, after class, I showed the book to my teacher and pointed to the chapter on the Hazaras. He skimmed through a couple pages, snickered, handed the book back. “That’s the one thing Shi’a people do well,” he said, picking up his papers, “Passing themselves as martyrs.” He wrinkled his nose when he said the word Shi’a, like it was some kind of disease (p.9). The common reaction shown by Amir’s teacher is an indication that other Afghans see the Hazaras not at the same level as them; in fact, the Hazaras’ position is on the very bottom in the society list.
Other reaction is shown in Assef’s question to Amir. Amir wants to rescue Sohrab from Assef. For a Pashtun like Amir, it is a rare thing to see a true Afghan saving a Hazara. This is questioned by Assef: “I wonder,” Assef said.
“I wonder why you’ve come all this way, Amir, come all this way for a Hazara? Why are you here? Why are you really here?” (p.262). To Assef, the Hazaras are nothing, and so are to the soldiers and to Amir’s teacher. The Hazaras never be on a better position in Afghanistan society. They are seen as the lowest class in the society because they are rejected from the list,
42 socially and culturally. From this part, the second characteristic of the Hazaras is as the lowest class in the society.
3. The Hazaras as the Oppressed People with Minority Status
The Hazaras are a three million Shia Muslim ethnic minority who lived in Afghanistan's central highlands. Being Asiatic-looking Shias in a mostly Sunni country, the Hazaras are the most oppressed minority in Afghanistan. Their status
- political, economic and cultural – has been precarious in modern history due to their being both an ethnic and a religious minority. According to the definition of minority by Centre for Human Rights, the Hazaras can be included as the minority in Afghanistan. They are small in number, occupy the non-dominance position in the society, and difference in ethnic or national identity, in culture, language or religion (Caportoti, Eide, and Palley, 1990:9).
The Hazara continued to be engaged in intercommunal conflict with Pashtuns. This part will discuss about the third characteristic of the Hazaras as the oppressed people that lead them to their minority status.
Amir read his school textbook about the Hazaras that tried to fight for their rights against the Pashtuns: I read that my people, the Pashtuns, had persecuted and oppressed the Hazaras. It is said the Hazaras had tried to rise against the Pashtuns in the ninrteenth century, but the Pashtuns had “quelled them with unspeakable violence.” The book said that my people had killed the Hazaras, driven them from their lands, burned their homes, and sold their women. The book said part of the reason Pastuns had oppressed the Hazaras was that Pashtuns were Sunni Muslims, while Hazaras were Shi’a (p.8-9).
43 The oppression is not only caused by the Pashtuns. Ali also experiences the oppression from Sanaubar, his wife, because of his physical imperfections.
Sanaubar has an affair with Baba and it makes her feel a little bit higher than just a Hazara. Rumors about his wife, Sanaubar, are not enough to abuse him. It seems that his life is loaded with that mistreatment:
They said Ali had married his cousin to help restore some honor to his uncle’s blemished name, even though Ali, who had been orphaned in the age of five, had no worldly possession or inheritance to speak of. Ali never retaliated against any of his tormentors, I suppose partly because he could never catch them with that twisted leg dragging behind him. But mostly because Ali was immune to the insults of his assailants; he had found his joy, his antidote, the moment Sanaubar had given birth to Hassan (p.9).
It is not a surprise that Hassan's mother, Sanaubar, left Ali. The only things these first cousins have in common are being of the Hazara ethnicity and the Shi'a religion. Otherwise, Sanaubar is nineteen years younger than Ali, gorgeous, and reportedly promiscuous. Meanwhile Ali is a pious man afflicted by paralysis of the lower face muscles and a crippled leg. Rumor has it that Sanaubar taunted Ali for his disabilities just as cruelly as strangers and refused to even let him hold the infant Hassan because of his cleft lip.
Being born motherless does not make Hassan lack affection. He gets the full affection from his father and he is taught to be a good person even if they are under oppression. Little Hassan never do unpleasant things. It is strongly said by Amir that Hassan cannot do something cruel to other people:
Hassan was true to his nature: He was incapable of hurting anyone (p.10).
44 Amir notices that Hassan is incapable of hurting anyone because Ali shares the same life with his son. He never stops telling Hassan that they are devoted to serve their masters, Baba and Amir. In Pashtun neighborhood, it is very rare to find a family like Baba and Amir who treat the Hazaras a little bit better than the other Afghans threat them.
As a father, Ali is a figure that Amir wants. He is a loving and caring type of father. Even to Amir, his master’s son, Ali does the same thing as he does to Hassan, because secretly he knows the forbidden affair between Baba and Sanaubar in the past; Ali knows that Amir is his half-step son:
Something roared like a thunder. The earth shook a little and we heard the rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire. “Father!” Hassan cried. We found Ali hobbling frantically across the foyer. “Father! What’s that sound?” Hassan yelped, his hands outstretched toward Ali. Ali wrapped his arms around us. A white lights flashed, lit the sky in silver. It flashed again and was dollowed by a rapid staccato of gunfire. “They’re hunting ducks,” Ali said in a hoarse voice. “They hunt ducks at night, you know. Don’t be afraid” (p.33). To Amir, what Ali does is something that he cannot get from Baba. Baba rarely touches Amir, not even a hug. Ali shows that he does not see people the way they see him. He is a nice and loyal Hazara servant. He always tells Hassan to be nice to everyone because they are human beings; Allah created them and therefore he should treat Allah’s creature in a nice way.
Ali and Hassan live with their Hazara identity. They do not have the chance to take part in education. Education is an extremely scarce good among the Hazaras (Poladi, 1989:169). Like most of the Hazaras, Hassan is illiterate.
45 Whenever Amir read him books or stories, he always shows excitement. Hassan has a high level of curiosity and always asks Amir if he does not know the words: One time, I was reading him a Mullah Nasruddin story and he stopped me. “What does that word mean?” “Which one?” “’imbecile.’” “You don’t know what it means?” I said, grinning. “Nay, Amir Agha.” “But it’s such a common word!” “Still, I don’t know it. If he felt the sting of my tease, his smiling face didn’t show it. “Well, everyone in my school knows what it means,” I said. “Let’s see. ‘Imbecile.’ It means smart, intelligent. I’ll use it in a sentence for you. ‘When it comes to words, Hassan is an imbecile.’” “Aaah,” he said, nodding (p.27). Amir is happy whenever Hassan asks him about the meaning of certain words. Amir feels his intelligentsia is something marvelous for Hassan who knows nothing about school. Although Hassan is his ‘best friend’, Amir sometimes feels superior to him, mocking him for his illiteracy and ignorance: I had read him a lot of stories. Hassan was asking me something.
“What?” I said. “What does that mean, ‘fascinating’?” I laughed (p.29).
Hassan’s curiosity tells us that Hassan is willing to learn something new. He never learns to read nor write but his attitude makes Amir love sharing his talent in writing stories and reading them for Hassan:
To him, the words on the page were a scramble of codes, indecipherable, mysterious. Words were secret doorways and I held all the keys (p.28). Hassan feels excited when he is listening to Amir’s stories; this because he do not have the chance to get education for most of his life, because he is a Hazara. The
46 only way to learn is by listening to Amir’s stories. Hassan’s will to learn is captured by Amir every time the story is read:
Hassan was the perfect audience in many ways, totally immersed in the tale, his face shifting with the changing tones in the story. When I read the last sentence, he made a muted clapping sound with his hands. “Mashallah, Amir agha. Bravo!” He was beaming (p.31). Hassan is true with his words. When he compliments Amir, he really means it. Sometimes he is just too spontaneous and his innocent reaction is something that Amir really likes.
Hassan’s attitude toward anything in his life is something that Amir always observes. He finds out that Hassan is a totally likeable person. If only he is not a Hazara, Hassan would have many friends. But his Hazara legacy only brings bad treatment to him. Assef, who hates the Hazaras for the most of his life, always utter mockery to him: He tipped his chain to Hassan.
“Hey, Flat-Nose,” he said. “How is Babalu?” Hassan said nothing and crept another step behind me (p.37).
Whatever Assef says to him, Hassan does not want to mock him back. He never says any rough word when he is mad; in fact, Hassan is rarely mad. Here, he realizes his status.
Based on the statement of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 27 in 1996, the minority has the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.
The Hazaras are not able to do all of that because the Pashtuns will not let them to do so. Practically, in order to be able to achieve the rights, they need space.
47 But there is no space for the Hazaras in Afghanistan—only Hazarajat—and the rest of them lived as nomads.
The evidence of it can be seen from what Assef declared, that Afghanistan means the land of Pashtuns: His blue eyes flicked to Hassan. “Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. It always been, always will be. We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland, our watan. They dirty our blood” (p.38). In saying this, Assef really expresses his hatred toward the Hazaras. He also states:
He made a sweeping, grandiose gesture with his hands. ”Afghanistan for Pashtuns, I say. That’s my vision.” (p.38)
Once again Assef is very open with his hatred for Hassan and his people and continues to insult his ethnic group as well as his religion: He reached for something from the back pocket of his jeans. “I’ll ask the president to do what the king didn’t have the quwat to do. To rid Afghanistan of all the dirty, kasseef Hazaras” (p.38).
Historically, Afghanistan used to be ruled by a king but then the revolution from the Pashtuns changes every thing. They begin to do the Pashtunization in Afghanistan. It makes the Hazaras expelled in their own land.
Robert Canfield’s Hazara Integration into the Afghan Nation: Some
Changing Relations between the Hazara and Afghan Officials explains about the
Hazaras representation at the national level. At the national level, Hazaras representation was restricted: administrative divisions were tailored to make Hazaras a minority in each district, or to make Hazaras districts numerically large without compensating through a larger number of representatives (1972:93). There is no chance for the Hazaras to have the right to be participants in the government. Most of the names in Afghanistan government are dominated by the Pashtuns.
Assef is a character whose obsession is to be the number one in Afghanistan government. Assef sees Hitler as his role model, and therefore he believes that Afghanistan is created for the Pashtuns only. Although Assef is not a pure Pashtun, his speech represents most of the Pashtun’s thought for the future of Afghanistan. Only several Pashtuns who see the Hazaras humanly—in this story they are Baba, Rahim Khan, and Amir—regardless of their Hazara status.
Hassan can not do anything to defend himself as an oppressed Hazara but he knows that he will do anything for Amir. It is when Assef interferes Amir too much, Hassan starts to protect his beloved master:
I turned and came face to face with Hassan’s slingshot. Hassan had pulled the wide elastic band all the way back. In the cup was a rock size of a walnut. Hassan held the slingshot pointed directly at Assef’s face. His hand trembled with the strain of the pulled elastic band and beads of sweat had erupted his brow. “Please leave us alone, Agha,” Hassan said in a flat tone (p.39). Hassan is not afraid to fight against Assef because he believes that what he does is right. To protect someone who treats him good is right:
“Please leave us be, Agha,” Hassan said. To an outsider, he didn’t look scared. But Hassan’s face was my earliest memory and I knew all of its subtle nuances, knew each and every twitch and flicker that ever rippled across it. And I saw that he was scared. He was scared plenty (p.39).
49 Physically, Hassan is not a big boy. But his perfect ability in using slingshot is a deadly skill for those who try to mess him up; especially when someone is threatening Amir, his beloved master:
“You’re right, Agha. But perhaps you didn’t notice that I’m the one holding the slingshot. If you make a move, they’ll have to change your nickname from Assef ‘the Ear Eater’ to ‘One-Eyed Assef’, because I have this rock pointed at your left eye.” He said this so flatly that even I had to strain to hear the fear that I knew hid under that calm voice (p.40). Assef’s threat to Amir is caused by Hassan’s existence as a servant in Baba’s house. Assef is a kind of bully who enjoys oppressing Hazaras. Hassan realizes his position and it is his duty to be loyal to his master, so he protects Amir from Assef.
The Hazaras are known for their pious mannerisms. They are used to receive any human or inhuman treatment from other Afghans. Hassan seems to be the pious one in this story. He lives in a very religious way as what his father teaches him. Hassan is sincere in every word he says, and when Amir asks him to do something strange like eating dirt, he would do that for Amir:
“Would I ever lie to you, Amir agha?” Suddenly I decided to toy with him a little. “I don’t know. Would you?” “I’d sooner eat dirt,” he said with a look of indignation.
“Really? You’d do that?” He threw me a puzzled look. “Do what?” “Eat dirt if I told you to,” I said. I knew I was being cruel, like when I’d taunt him if he didn’t know some big word.
“If you asked, I would,” he finally said, looking right at me. I dropped my eyes. To this day, I find it hard to gaze directly at people like Hassan, people who mean every word they say (p.50-51).
50 Since the Hazaras have no power to defense themselves against the Pashtuns, they cannot do anything to refuse any order. No matter what the order is, the Hazaras should do and obey it.
Up to this point, the evidences give the characteristic of the Hazaras as the oppressed people. They are forced to do anything that the Pashtuns order them.
The existence of the Hazaras can not be separated from other groups. From their Mongolian ancestor to the religion they believe, and then finally to the language they speak. However, the coexistence of different groups is not always peaceful. Ethnic conflict can be both violent and destructive, lead to repressive counteraction, threaten the unity of States where it happens, and run the risk of involving neighboring countries. In The Kite Runner, Iran is told as the hidden enemy neighboring country of Afghanistan. Most of the Iranians are Shi’a Islam.
The Hazaras share the same religion with the Iranians. Therefore, it makes the Pashtuns have double hatred, to the Iranians and the Hazaras.
It is explained through Amir’s thought about Iranian who had similarities to the Hazaras: I sighed. “Those Iranians…” For a lot of sorts—I guess because, Like Hazaras, most Iranians were Shi’a Muslims (p.54). The influence of Iran in Afghanistan is pretty significant. According to Robert Canfield in Hazara, in the past, the Hazaras have received external support from Iran. Given Iran's regional status and power, Iranian patronage may also provide Hazaras with some degree of protection as well (1978:190).
51 The Hazaras not only share the same religion with the Iranian but also the language they speak in daily conversation. Most Pashtuns hate Iran because it is wealthier and develops better than Afghanistan. Amir and Hassan watch some Western movies in theatre and those are translated in Iranian language because Afghanistan does not have the technology for that.
As a Shi’a Muslim, Hassan is taught to respect Amir very much because he lets Hazara servants to stay with them. He sees Amir as a savior for him and his father. Hassan is emotionally attached to Amir. He will do anything for Amir because the only friend he has is his master. Despite the master-servant relationship between them, Hassan always keeps the promise he makes as a good friend, although it is difficult. This can be seen in the part when they join the kite fighting tournament. Amir is the kite fighter and Hassan is the kite runner. It is the main job of the kite runner to find the last kite that fall. The last fallen kite is the true trophy in the kite fighting tournament:
But he was doing something now, motioning with his hands in an urgent way. Then I understood.
“Hassan, we—“ “I know,” he said, breaking our embrace. “Inshallah, we’ll celebrate later. Right now, I’m going to run that blue kite for you,” he said. “Hassan!” I called. “Come back with it!” He was already turning the street corner, his rubber boots kicking up snow. He stopped, turned. He cupped his hands around his mouth. “For you a thousand times over!” he said (p.63). The last line of Hassan’s words describe the loyalty he has to his friend; after all, he is the son of a servant. He is loyal to the end.
The minority status of Hazara people is one primary reason for what they experience as they live in Afghanistan society. The status is given by the
52 Pashtuns and remains the same for generations after. This also leads them to the next inhuman treatment, discrimination.
B. The Discriminations
The discriminations of the Hazaras in Afghanistan cannot be separated from the differences they have. According to the term racial discrimination by Centre of Human Rights, it is used to describe any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life (Costa, Banton, and Garvalov, 1993:14).
The Hazaras have those differences above and they are subject to the discrimination. According to Philomena Essed in her book Understanding
Everyday Racism, the discriminations that happen to the Hazaras can be traced by
four elements of racial discrimination: the belief in separate, definable and recognizable “races.”, the belief that one “race” is superior to others, possession of power by the “superior race” to act against “inferior races” without effective defense, and action that is both arbitrary and harmful (1991:77).
The first element can be seen in the daily life of the Hazaras. They live separately from other Afghans. The free Hazaras live in Hazarajat while the Hazaras who work as servants or labors for the Pashtuns live with them. The
53 place to live for the Hazaras is an inappropriate one as a supporting evidence of the belief in separate:
I went past the rosebushes to Baba’s mansion, Hassan to the mud shack where he had been born, where he’d lived his entire life (p.6). The Hazaras are considered ‘lesser beings’ simply out of differentiation. The idea of classifying individuals as different forms the basis of racial discrimination. Different facial features (the squinty eyes, different shaped nose) form visual markers of differentiation. Once one group recognizes these differences it becomes easier to make generalizations about the other.
Racial discrimination is born out of differences. Amir has grown up in a world where the Hazaras are marked as different. His entire life he knows only one way of being. Hassan and his father are servants. Even though they are treated like family by Baba inside the house, they still serve Baba and Amir. The public perception is maintained by the master/servant relationship. As they have the Hazara identity, many of them can not afford for appropriate life.
A comment that is said by Farid about it gives the strong image of the true Afghanistan and supports the discriminations based on the first element. Farid says that a Pashtun like Amir is stereotyped as follows:
“Let me imagine, Agha sahib. You probably lived in a big two- or three- story house with a nice backyard that your gardener filled with flowers and fruit trees. All grated, of course. Your father drove an American car. You had servants, probably Hazaras, your parents hired workers to decorate the house for the fancy mehmanis they threw, am I close?”
“Why are you saying these things?” I said. “Because you wanted to know,” he spat. He pointed to an old Hazara man dressed in ragged clothes trudging down a dirt path, a large burlap pack filled with scrub grass tied to his back. “That’s the real Afghanistan, Agha sahib. That’s the Afghanistan I know.
You? You’ve always been a tourist here, you just didn’t know it” (p.215).
54 The fact that most of the Pashtuns live this way, reminds Amir of his life when he still lives in Afghanistan. His father and he share the same thing. Each of them has a Hazara servant to serve them and accompany them although in the real life they treat their servants in a good way.
The second element in the Hazaras’ discriminations is the belief that one “race” is superiors to others. In this story, there is one group of people believing themselves to be superior than certain other people based on their physical features, economic status, social connection, and pure prejudice. These people take advantage of leadership positions through force and fear impose their will on other human beings with an irrational hatred.
Assef is a character who represents the superior race. His hatred to the Hazaras makes him promise one thing. He wants to make Afghanistan free from Hazaras. Assef’s declaration that Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns as supporting evidence of the belief that one “race” is superior to others:
His blue eyes flicked to Hassan. “Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. It always been, always will be. We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland, our watan. They dirty our blood.” He made a sweeping, grandiose gesture with his hands.”Afghanistan for Pashtuns, I say. That’s my vision” (p.38).
This is a result of Afghan Emir Abdur Rahman Khan’s Pashtunization campaign
during the turn of the 20 century. It is explained by Dupree in Afghanistan that during this time thousands of Hazaras were enslaved or exterminated following uprising sparked by generations of mistreatment. Afghanistan’s 1919 gain of independence from British rule did little to alleviate the burdens of Hazaras for to this day; they constitute the bottom rung of the Afghan social latter, despised by
55 Pashtun, Tajik, and Uzbek alike (p.76). Hazara hatred is exposed throughout the book, especially when discussing Assef: He reached for something from the back pocket of his jeans. “I’ll ask the president to do what the king didn’t have the quwat to do. To rid Afghanistan of all the dirty, kasseef Hazaras” (p.38). The Pashtun is considered to be the real Afghan just like what Hosseini writes in
The Kite Runner . Since the Pashtun is the biggest population in Afghanistan, they
take over many important aspects in life. They wanted Afghanistan to be a full Pashtun country. Because of this, Pashtun people would discriminate against others or different ethnic backgrounds and religions. The discriminations in the book is a major problem as well as in real life.
Political power in Afghanistan has always been in the hand of the Pashtuns: in fact Afghan means Pashtun, and Afghanistan means the land of the Pashtuns. The terms Afghan and Pashtun are interchangeable (Dupree, 1989:16).
In this case, Assef, an upper class, describes the Hazaras and the need to get rid of them. This is an injustice towards all Hazaras and displays the civil discriminations going on Afghanistan. This makes the upper class Afghans seen greedy and even racist toward the people who live in the same land as they are.
The writer already mentions the physical appearance of the Hazaras on the pages before. It is also the third element of the discriminations analysis. Ali is the one who always face the discriminations in most of his life because of his physical appearance. It can be seen when some kids are shouting at Ali for his physical appearance as a supporting evidence to point definable and recognizable “races”:
56 Some had taken to calling him Babalu, or Boogeyman. ”Hey, Babalu, who did you eat today?” they barked to a chorus of laughter. “Who did you eat, you flat-nosed Babalu?” (p.8). As the writer says before about discriminations for generations, Ali and Hassan deal with that every day. Even when Hassan can show his best in kite running, people still discriminate him:
“I heard you won, Amir,” he said. “Congratulations.” “Thanks. Have you seen Hassan?” “Your Hazara?” I nodded.
Omar headed the ball to his brother. “I hear he’s a great kite runner.” His brother headed the ball back to him. Omar caught it, tossed it up and down. “Although I’ve always wondered how he manages. I mean, with those tight little eyes, how does he see anything?” His brother laughed, a short burst, and asked for the ball. Omar ignored him” (p.64).
The physical features of the Hazaras are very prominent. This is the substance of the Pashtuns’ hatred toward the Hazaras.
Continuing the Hazaras’ characteristics and identity on the previous explanation, their lowest status in the society makes them as the subjects to the other Afghans. Other Afghan sees the status of the Hazaras as the lowest people in the society as supporting evidences of possession of power by the “superior race” to act against “inferior races” without effective defense: “Which way did he go?” He eyed me up and down.
“What is a boy like you doing here at this time of the day looking for a Hazaras?” “I need to find him, Agha,” “What is he to you?” he said.
“He’s our servant’s son,” I said. The old man raised a pepper gray eyebrow. “He is? Lucky Hazaras, having such a concerned master. His father should get on his knees, sweep the dust at your feet with his eyelashes” (p.64).
57 For other Pashtuns, what Baba and Amir do to their Hazaras servants are just too much and ridiculous. In Pashtun neighborhood such as Wazir Akbar Khan – where Baba and Amir live– there are only few Pashtuns who treat Hazara servants like Baba and Amir. Most Pashtuns think that servants are just servants and nothing more than that. They think that there is no use to do such thing to the Hazaras.
One man who is always confused about that is Assef. Assef insults Hassan every time they meet. It is not because he does not understand why Amir treats him as a friend, but because he does not want any Pashtun to be that nice and closes to any Hazara.
“A loyal Hazara. Loyal as a dog.” Assef said. “But before you sacrifice yourself for him, think about this: Would he do the same for you? Have you ever wondered why he never includes you in games when he has guests? Why he only plays with you when no one else is around? I’ll tell you why, Hazara. Because to him, you’re nothing but an ugly pet. Something he can play when he’s bored, something he can kick when he’s angry. Don’t ever fool yourself and think you’re something more” (p.68).
Assef keep telling Hassan that he does not deserve to get what he gets from Amir. A Hazara servant like Hassan is nothing but an ugly pet.
These are examples of discriminations of the Hazaras as the lowest people. As they are lower in status than the Pashtun, many Hazaras end up working as servants or slaves in Pashtuns neighborhood.
The last element of the discriminations started with the sexual abuse to Hassan. When Hassan is sodomized by Assef, the two friends of Assef insisted to
58 do the same too because their victim is just a Hazaras. This is a supporting evidence of an action that is both arbitrary and harmful:
“Suit yourself,” Assef said. He turned to Kamal. “What about you?” “I…well…” “It’s just a Hazaras,” Assef said (p.73).
Assef thinks that he can do anything to Hassan because he never sees him as a human being. Every thing related to the Hazaras should be destroyed, and he will be the one to do that. Amir is the witness of Hassan’s rape and does nothing to help him. He leaves Hassan to get beaten and raped by Assef and the bullies. As Amir waits for Hassan to return, he thinks to himself:
Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba…he was just a Hazara, wasn’t he? (p.77). As what Prophet Ibrahim does to his son Ismail on Idul Adha day, Amir knows that what he does to Hassan is totally wrong. Amir sacrifices Hassan to win Baba’s affection. Amir ignores the fact that Hassan is always good to him but when a difficult situation happened, there is nothing he does to save him. He thinks that Hassan is just a Hazara so it is fine to leave him there, raped by Assef, as a prize for winning the kite tournament. Amir wants to keep his victory alone; he does not want to share Baba’s attention and affection with Hassan.
After the rape, Hassan’s silence is the only thing that can be seen from him. Amir also never says anything about it, until the time when Hassan and Ali leave the house for good. Amir feels guilty but he can not do anything to turn back the time. Later Soviet invades Afghanistan and it forced Baba and Amir to leave Afghanistan for America.
59 There their lives changed drastically. They have to work overtime to support their life. Finally they know how it feels to be in the working class as their former Hazara servants. Amir meets Soraya, an Afghan woman and marries her. Then Baba died because of brain cancer. A shocking phone call from Rahim Khan –Baba’s friend in Afghanistan– makes Amir want to go back to his country. Rahim Khan tells the situation on Afghanistan. It has worsened. The Taliban takes over the country and kills many Hazaras.
The Taliban is formed by the Pashtuns who have hatred to the Mongolian leader, Gengis Khan. The Pashtuns judge Gengis Khan. They criticize him through what the Mongols did. They hardly separate Gengis from the Mongols and they always talks about the barbaric tribes of the Mongols and the mayhem caused by the group. They have no qualms of stating how the Mongols destroys cities and killed humans. Then, Pashtun declared the Taliban and use it to take revenge to the Hazaras who believed as the Mongols’ descendants.
Amir rushes to Afghanistan and he finds out that the situation is terrible. Assef, the childhood bully, is now the Talib leader. Amir has no idea about it. Assef’s promise to make Afghanistan as the land for Pashtuns becomes true when he rules the Taliban as its leader. He soon makes his plan to be real project. As a Talib leader, he begins his project with releasing new regulations for Afghanistan. He prohibits the kite fighting tournament:
A few weeks later, the Taliban banned kite fighting. And two years later, in 1998, they massacred the Hazaras in Mazar-i-Sharif (p.197). After he bans the kite fighting tournament, he and his soldiers kill the Hazaras in Mazar-i-Sharif, the second crowded area of the Hazaras after Hazarajat.
60 The Hazaras are on the top of Taliban’s operation lists. They also are targeted disproportionately by the Taliban for reprisals, probably because of their religious identity as Shi’a Muslims. Several massacres of Hazara civilians were reported in 1998 (Hafizullah, 1998:17). The Taliban later is well known for its Hazaras massacres.
By the Taliban, all previous laws in Afghanistan are replaced with Islamic law in an extreme way. Assef himself is not a religious person but he has an experience in jail that makes him a little bit concerned about his religion. He modifies the law as he pleases and insists that the Afghans follow his rules.
Since his main purpose is to clean Afghanistan from the Hazaras, he also does some operations in every area in Afghanistan including Wazir Akbar Khan where Amir lives. After Amir and Baba leave Afghanistan for America, Hassan and Ali take care of the house. An accident in the land mine kills Ali and Hassan stays alone. Later he meets Farzana and marries her. They have a son named Sohrab. This Hazara family lives in Amir’s house before the Taliban order them to leave the house.
What happened to them is told by Rahim Khan to Amir. Rahim Khan tells the situation after he left when the Taliban inspected every house in Afghanistan to find any Hazaras:
“He told me the story: Soon after I took my leave, a rumor spread that a Hazara family was living alone in the big house in Wazir Akbar Khan, or so the Taliban claim. A pair of Talib officials came to investigate and interrogated Hassan. The Talib said he was a liar and a thief like all Hazaras and ordered him to get his family out of the house by sundown.”
61 This shows the Taliban’s insensivity towards the Hazaras and their brutal punishment: Hassan protested. But my neighbor said the Talibs were looking at the big house like—how did they say it—yes, like ‘wolves looking at a flock of sheep.’ They told Hassan they would be moving in to supposedly keep it safe until I return. Hassan protested again. So they took him to the street— “No,” I breathed. “—and order him to kneel—“ “No. God, no.” “—and shot him in the back of the head.” “No.” “—Farzana came screaming and attacked them—“ “No.” “—shot her too. Self-defense, they claimed later—“(p.202).
Hassan and Farzana are just two of the Hazaras whose lives are ended by the Taliban. Rahim Khan knows that they are murdered for no reason. He has sensed that this Hazara massacre is planned and created by someone who has a personal hatred to the Hazaras.
Amir who has no idea about the murder only hears it from Rahim Khan. Rahim Khan’s explanation about the murder of Hassan and Farzana:
“Hassan’s and Farzana’s murders were dismissed as a case of self- defense. No one said a word about it. Most of it was fear of the Taliban, I think. But no one was going to risk anything for a pair of Hazaras servants” (p.203).
Amir himself believes that the person behind all of the tragedies is related to the latest regime in Afghanistan. But he does not know that the man behind this is Assef. Until it is time when Amir knows the fact that Sohrab is taken away by the Taliban. Amir thinks about the discriminations that happened to Hassan in the past and how it will happen to Sohrab also.
62 Amir rushes to the Taliban’s camp where he meets Assef. Amir is surprised because Assef is the leader of the Taliban. The fact that the massacre is Assef’s idea makes Amir angry. Amir is angry not only because Assef murdered many Hazaras but also because he uses the name of Islam in his inhuman operations. Amir asks Assef for what he and his Talib soldiers do to the Hazaras: “What mission is that?” I heard myself say.
“Stoning adulterers? Raping children? Flogging women for wearing high heels? Massacring Hazaras? All in the name of Islam?” (p.261). Hazaras also are targeted disproportionately by the Taliban for reprisals, probably because of their religious identity as Shi’a Muslims.
As far as Amir knows, what Assef does is called ethnic cleansing. When Amir tells this to Assef, he likes the name for what he does. Assef feels no guilt; in fact he is very passionate to show Amir every thing about Taliban:
“In the west, they have an expression for that,” I said. “They call it ethnic cleansing.” “Do they?” Assef’s face brightened.
“Ethnic cleansing. I like it. I like the sound of it” (p.261). Since his leadership in Taliban, Assef is the man behind all the discriminations toward the Hazaras. Despite his lifetime personal hatred to them, he is covered under his nationalistic purposes for Afghanistan: race purifying. Some proponents of racial purity maintain that their own race is the highest and best, source of all major advances in civilization, and should therefore be kept free of contamination by others (Essed, 1991:133). Assef believes that Afghanistan is for Pashtuns, and Pashtuns are the real Afghans.
63 The Taliban murder Hassan and Farzana in Baba’s house and in front of Sohrab. Later Sohrab is taken away to the Talib leader as a slave. Assef orders Sohrab to entertain him as a dancer. Amir witnesses this sinful act when Assef calls Sohrab to dance in front of them. Amir’s thought flashes to the last winter when he sees Hassan in the alley, weak and unable to fight back against Assef. Sohrab is too small to be treated this way. He is an innocent Hazara boy who knows nothing about what happen to his father in the past.
The moment when Sohrab dances in front of him is very moving for Amir and Assef seems to be the only one who enjoys the show: Sohrab danced in a circle, eyes closed, danced until the music stopped. The bells jingled one final time when he stomped his foot with the song’s last note. He froze in mid-spin. “Bia, bia, my boy,” the Talib said, calling Sohrab to him. Sohrab went to him, head down, stood between his thighs. The Talib wrapped his arms around the boy. “How talented he is, nay, my Hazara boy!” he said (p.257). Regardless his status as a Hazara, Sohrab is just a child who needs protection even though his parents already died. The country should protect him from any harm. A child like Sohrab should not be exploited because he has the right to live in appropriate way because he is still underage.
Those discriminations that happen to the Hazaras –Ali, Hassan, and Sohrab—are a form of violation to human rights. The Hazaras have no right on every thing. They have no choice for their own life. They are incapable to struggle for themselves because there are so many pressures, mistreatments, and discriminations surround them.
64 The discriminations to the Hazaras are all related to the categories which stated by Essed in Understanding Everyday Racism, they are: the belief in separate, definable and recognizable “races”, the belief that one “race” is superior to others, possession of power by the “superior race” to act against “inferior races” without effective defense, and action that is both arbitrary and harmful (1991:77).
Ali and Hassan represent the Hazaras in Afghanistan. Their minority status also brings them into a lot of difficult situations in the society. They are born with Hazara legacies and are attached to it for the rest of their lives.
CHAPTER V CONCLUSION Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner is a very moving story. The story is
based on true facts that happened in Afghanistan, it also opens the reader’s eyes about the inhuman treatments among the Afghans. The Hazaras is a member of Afghanistan society that faces the inhuman treatments or also known as discrimination. The discrimination to the Hazaras is an important issue to be discussed, that is why the writer chooses it to be the subject of this study. Through the Hazaras, the writer can find out their characteristics and their minority status that lead them to be discriminated for generations.
The Hazaras the protagonist characters in The Kite Runner. In this study, they are represented by two characters, Ali and Hassan. Ali and Hassan are chosen because they appear more in the novel than other Hazaras. They are the examples of people who suffered from the discrimination from the higher people.
Through Amir’s narration, they are characterized as outsiders, the lowest class in the society, the innocent people, and as the oppressed people.
As the outsiders, the Hazaras are seen differently from their physical appearance and their Shi’a religion. Mongolians are believed to be their ancestor, because the Hazaras look more like Chinese rather than Afghans. Ali and Hassan are treated as the outsiders. They are familiar with insult and mockery. The neighborhood children taunt Ali, calling him a Babalu (Boogeyman), and they discriminate Hassan. Most Pashtuns see them as unwanted objects that dirty the
66 land of Afghanistan. The Hazaras are also considered to be the useless ones.
Their Shi’a religion, which is the same with Iranians, makes them even rejected. The Afghans hate Iranian because Iran develops better than Afghanistan.
As the lowest class in the society, they live below poverty. Economically, they have to do the job which is little in salary. Most of the Hazaras are end up working as Pashtuns’ servants in the neighborhood, in this story they are represented by Ali and Hassan who work for a Pashtun family. They can not afford appropriate life. They are placed on the bottom list in Afghans society, as the third-class citizen.
As the oppressed people, they are inhumanly treated by other Afghan and sometimes physically violated. The oppressed Hazaras are not able to fight for their rights in life. They are small in number in comparison to the Pashtuns, the people who oppressed them, which is why they are categorized as a minority in Afghanistan. The Pashtuns exploit the Hazaras practically. This is shown by the master-servant relationship between Amir and Hassan. As a master, Amir knows how to test Hassan’s loyalty. As a servant, Hassan never says ‘no’ to Amir’s orders.
The Hazaras are an oppressed minority. Their rights are violated by the higher Afghans. They are subject to the discrimination. It can not be separated from the differences they have. The discrimination that happen to the Hazaras can be traced by four elements of racial discrimination: the belief in separate, definable and recognizable “races.”, the belief that one “race” is superior to others, possession of power by the “superior race” to act against “inferior races”
67 without effective defense or redress, and action that is both arbitrary and harmful (Essed, 1991:49). The most inhuman discrimination is Hassan’s rape. Hassan is raped by Assef and Amir who witnessed it chooses to leave Hassan alone. He thinks there is no use to save a Hazara. Later on, Assef becomes the Talib leader and starts the massacre of the Hazaras. It can be called as discrimination for generations because in this story, Ali and Hassan are father and son who face it.
In the end, Afghanistan does not belong solely to the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, or Hazaras but to all of them as one collective body of Afghans. The point in time each of these groups realizes this concept, they will transcend their ethno-religious identities and affiliation for the greater national identity and loyalty to Afghanistan.
Barnet, S., Morton Berman., and William Burto. Literature for Composition:
Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. London: Scott Foresman and Company, 1988.
Canfield, Robert L. Hazara. London: Greenwood Press, 1978. _______________. Hazara Integration into the Afghan Nation: Some Changing
Relations Between the Hazaras and Afghan Officials. New York: Asia Society, 1972.
Capotorti, Francesco, Asbjørn Eide, and Claire Palley (Centre for Human Rights Geneva). Human Rights Fact Sheets. Fact Sheet No.18. Geneva: United Nations Publication, 1990.
Clifford, Mary Louise. The Land and People of Afghanistan: Portraits of the Nations . New York: Lippincott, 1989. Costa, Eduardo, Michael Parker Banton, and Ivan Garvalov (Centre for Human
Rights Geneva). Human Rights: A Compilation of International
Instrument (Volume I, First Part: Universal Instruments). New York: United Nations Publication, 1993.
Dryden, John. Selected Criticism. London: Clarendon Press, 1970. Dupree, Louis. Afghanistan. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973. Essed, Philomena. Understanding Everyday Racism. California: Sage, 1991. Foighel, Isi, Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr, and Régis de Gouttes (Centre for Human
Rights Geneva). Human Rights Fact Sheets. Fact Sheet No.12. Geneva: United Nations Publication, 1990. Hafizullah, Ernadi. The Hazaras and Their Role in the Political Transformation in Afghanistan. New Delhi: Central Asian Survey, 1997. Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2003. Malley, William and Amin Saikal. Regime Change in Afghanistan: Foreign
Intervention and the Plotics Legitimacy. Colorado: Westview Press, Inc., 1991.
Mirepoix, Camille. Afghanistan in Pictures. New York: Sterling, 1971.
69 Murphy, M.J. Understanding Unseen. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1972.
Poladi, Hassan. The Hazaras. Stockton, CA: Mughal Publishing, 1989. Rohrberger, Mary and Samuel H. Woods, Jr. Reading and Writing about Literature . New York: Random House, Inc., 1971.
Stanton, Robert. An Introduction to Fiction. New York: Holt, Reinhart, and Winston Inc., 1965.
Webster’s New English Dictionary. New Lanark: Geddes & Grosset, David DaleHouse, 2003.
Wellek, Rene and Austin Warren. Theory of Literature. New York: A Harvest Book Harcourt, Brace & World Inc., 1959.
Dragonfly, Torn: The Kite Runner Essay. 2007 http://allpoetry.com/poem/3693312 (accessed on May 25, 2008) The ShowBuzz: The Kite Runner Banned in Afghanistan. 2008 http://showbuzz.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/16/movies/main3720052.s html (accessed on May 25, 2008)
Hamel, Royal: The Kite Runner Teaches Friendship, Atonement. 2008 http://www.interim.com/2008/feb/20kiterunner.html (accessed on May 20, 2008)
Aguirre, Maharnilad: The Kite Runner Essay. 2006 http://maggiejaneshappyboat.blogspot.com/2006/09/kite-runner- essay_28.html (accessed on May, 20, 2008)
Wheeler, Dr. L. Kip: Literary Vocabulary Dr. L. Kip Wheeler. 2008 http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_C.html (accessed on October 4, 2008)
Hosseini, Khaled: http://www.khaledhosseini.com (accessed on October 4, 2008)
APPENDICESAppendix 1: Summary of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner is a novel about a man named Amir, who narrates this story of his life. In the beginning of the novel, Amir introduces us to his innocent days as the son of a successful Pashtun businessman who lived a comfortable life in Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul, Afghanistan in the early 1960s. Amir has a playmate named Hassan. Hassan is the son of his servant, Ali, who also a childhood friend of his father. Amir and Hassan are best friends, although Amir often regrets admitting it, as Hassan is much lower in status (Amir is a Pashtun, but Hassan is a Hazara. Hassan is a very loyal friend and servant for Amir. Once he said, “For you Amir Agha, thousand times over”. The hidden fact about Hassan that Amir never knows is about Hassan’s biological father. Baba, Amir’s father is also Hassan’s father because of the affair between Baba and Sanaubar (Hassan’s mother) in the past.
Although he comes from a wealthy family, Amir has a complicated relationship with his father. His mother died because of childbirth. Baba never gives attention to Amir because he is disappointed that Amir never grown up according to his plan. Baba expects Amir to be a strong boy like Hassan. Amir feels a little jealous whenever Baba treats Hassan the same way as Amir. It is Rahim Khan, Baba’s friend, who cares about Amir and his interest in writing.
Amir has an enemy named Assef, a mischievous one who idolized Hitler in the neighborhood. One day, Assef orders Amir to abandon Hassan because of his
71 Hazara legacy. Amir refused his order. When Assef is ready to attack Amir with his brass knuckles, Hassan already knocked Assef down by using his slingshot as his duty to protect his master.
Amir is finally recognized by his father after the kite tournament that he won. Baba’s pride as a father turns him into a loving father by giving so much attention to Amir. After the kite tournament is over, Hassan is Amir’s kite runner whose job at the end of the kite fighting tournament is to find the last fallen kite.
When Hassan gets the kite, however, Assef rapes him while Amir only watches and remains silent. Amir did not want to tell anybody about this because of the class difference between him and Hassan; Amir thinks that maybe this is the price that he has to pay for winning Baba’s heart. Then, Hassan and Ali left Baba’s house.
Russia attacks Afghanistan five years later. It forces Baba and Amir to survive and lead them to leave Afghanistan to America. They later stay in Fremont where Baba works long hours at the gas station. After Amir graduates from high school, he suggests to Baba that he should sell goods in the flea market. There, Amir falls in love with Soraya. Around the same year, Baba gets the brain cancer. Amir realizes that Baba would not live much longer, so he wants to marry Soraya. Later, Soraya lives with them and takes care of Baba until he died.
Amir publishes his first novel in 1988 and buys a house in San Francisco then he and Soraya find out that they are infertile. One day, Rahim Khan phones Amir and says that he is dying. He asks Amir to go to Afghanistan and meet
72 Hassan. Amir arrives in Afghanistan and shocked by the condition after the Taliban takes over the country. He meets Hassan who is married to Farzana and had a son named Sohrab. In a short time after their first meeting, Hassan and Farzana died in land mine. Unfortunately, Sohrab is taken away by the Talib leader who is a pedophile and rapes Sohrab. The Talib leader is Assef.
Feeling guilty for the sinful secret that he keeps for a long time, Amir wants to rescue Sohrab from Assef. After rescuing Sohrab, Amir tells Soraya about what happened to Hassan in the past. He asks Soraya to take Sohrab to live with them in America so that he would not feel traumatic about the abuse. Soraya agrees and asks her cousin who works in the INS to help them to get visa for Sohrab. At first, it is difficult to get visa and the only option is to put Sohrab in an orphanage for a moment. Sohrab who is frustrated about this news, cuts his wrists while taking a bath. But then, they made Sohrab live with them.
The story ended in the moment of the year 2000. Ever since he lives with Amir and Soraya, Sohrab never speaks anything. Then, Amir takes him to fly a kite as what he did with Hassan. Amir tells Sohrab that Hassan was a great kite runner. Sohrab’s feeling about his father make him smile for the first time.
73 Appendix 2: Pictures of the Hazaras and the Pashtuns Picture 1: The Pashtuns in a Dance Picture 2: A Hazara Man Picture 3: The Hazara Kids The scanned pictures are taken from: Camille Mirepoix’s Afghanistan in Pictures.
74 Picture 4: The Casts of Hassan and Amir in The Kite Runner Movie (taken from khaledhosseini.com)