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"The Kite Runner" By Khaled Hosseini: History of Hazaras and Pashtuns

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Isabella E.

on 2 September 2015

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Transcript of "The Kite Runner" By Khaled Hosseini: History of Hazaras and Pashtuns

In the novel
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini, two boys growing up in Afghanistan, Amir and Hassan, form a complicated friendship that ends in betrayal and has a lasting impact on both of their lives.
The Kite Runner
Hassan, Amir's friend, is a Hazara.
Hazaras are one of the minority groups, following the Shi'a Muslim religion.
They have been routinely discriminated by the wealthier Pashtuns and are considered the peasant or "servant" class.
The Kite Runner
, Amir's family is served by Ali and Hassan, but Baba is kinder than most masters and treats Ali as a friend.

History of Conflict
Amir, the narrator and main character of
The Kite Runner,
is a Pashtun.
Pashtuns are the majority group and they currently hold power in the government of Afghanistan.
For example, the current president, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, is a Pashtun.
They are Sunni Muslims.
By Isabella Eclipse
The Kite Runner
By Khaled Hosseini: Brief History of Hazaras and Pashtuns

The strongest force that puts pressure on the boys' friendship (and eventually ends it) is the culture of discrimination and racial hatred in which they live.
To understand the dynamics of their friendship and the complex reasons behind Amir's betrayal, one must understand the cultural differences and the history of the conflict between the
and the
of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a country known for conflict, both internal and external.
One reason for its disunity is the separation between its many ethnic groups.
An ongoing internal conflict exists between the Pashtuns and the Hazaras.
"They called him [Ali, Hassan's father] "flat-nosed" because of Ali and Hassan's characteristic Mongoloid features. . . It also said some things I did know, like that people called Hazaras mice-eating, flat-nosed, load-carrying donkeys. I had heard some of the kids in the neighborhood yell those names to Hassan." -
The Kite Runner
, Pg. 9
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"I found one of my mother's old history books. . . An entire chapter dedicated to Hassan's people! In it, I read that my people, the Pashtuns, had persecuted and oppressed the Hazaras. It said the Hazaras had tried to rise against the Pashtuns in the nineteenth century, but the Pashtuns had "quelled them with unspeakable violence." The book said my people had killed the Hazaras, driven them from their lands, burned their homes, and sold their women." -
The Kite Runner
, Pg. 9
The conflict between the two ethnic groups mainly concerns their religion.
The Shi'a (Hazaras) and Sunni (Pashtuns) Muslims originally split over a conflict concerning who would be the caliph (ruler) after Mohammed, the founder of Islam, died in 632.
Conflict Continued
The Shi'a group believed that Ali ibn Abi Talib, Mohammed's cousin, should rule.
The Sunni Muslims, on the other hand, wanted a friend of Mohammed's, Abu Bakr, to be caliph instead.
Although Ali became caliph, he was quickly assassinated and replaced with the leader that the Sunnis preferred.
Ever since that time, the two groups have had outbursts of violence. Each sect considers the other to not be true Muslims.
The Kite Runner
, Amir witnesses the fall of the monarchies in Afghanistan and the invasion of the Soviet Union before his family flees to the United States.
The Taliban, a militant group mostly made up of Pashtuns, took over after the Russians were forced to leave.
During their rule, the Taliban enforced strict rules on everyone, but focused much of their violence towards the Hazaras, killing and abusing many of them.
Although the United States did weaken the Taliban's strength in 2001, in the past few years, bombings, shootings, and attacks directed toward Hazaras have been frequent.
Afghanistan In The Kite Runner and Today
Full transcript