What do you think about when you hear the word “racism”? What is the most familiar kind of racism that you know? You are likely to answer racism against blacks or post 9-11 Islamophobia (discrimination against those who look like Muslims).
But the truth is that one of the most terrible kinds of racism is usually overlooked just because it exists within “ethnic minorities” themselves. We are talking about racism directed from one minority against another.
One of the darkest examples of this racism is the subject of our article today: Anti-Afghan racism that exists, to varying degrees, among Iranians both in Iran and in the Diaspora.
Afghanistan is a beautiful country with a rich cultural past. But this country has been is torn in wars for the past 30 years; wars that are fuelled by US Imperialism and its servants-turned-rivals: Taliban and Islamists. Thirty years of war has brought nothing but poverty and insecurity to Afghans. It is under these conditions that millions of Afghans have taken refuge in Iran.
Immigrant Afghans in Iran are not only deprived from the most elementary rights but also work in unbelievably miserable conditions, doing the most difficult work for lower wages. The very capitalist system that is the cause of all their miseries has forged another weapon against them - it fuels Anti-Afghan racism among Iranians. This racism, in turn, justifies the heavy exploitation of Afghans who are a significant portion of the working class in Iran. The good old game of “divide and rule!”.
Since there is no between Tehran and Iranian communities in Toronto, the same tendency has been adopted by some Iranian-Canadians leading to unfortunate, discriminatory Anti-Afghan speech and action.
We, activists of the Afghan-Iranian Youth Network, hereby declare that the imagined division between Afghans and Iranians must be brought down, and that the only struggle worth fighting must be for our common humanity. We are committed to taking up the task of destroying ths racist poison that exists in our communities. In addition, we recognize all other residents of Canada, from Whites to Russians to Chinese to Korean to Indian to Pakistani as our brothers and sisters.
The common enemy for those of us who have to work in order to be able to live is the capitalist system and its collaborators.