The University of Arizona

Confronting Misconstrued Histories: Creativity Strategies in the Hazara Struggle toward Identity and Healing

Farzana Marie


This paper explores creative means of nonviolent social struggle among the Hazara people of Afghanistan as an effective and widespread response to the violence and oppression they have endured for more than a century both in and outside of Afghanistan. Systematic ethnic and religious persecution against Hazaras, who are majority Shi’a, by extremist Sunni, usually Pashtun groups has attempted to destroy their culture and belittle their identity. However, despite available means of armed resistance, most Hazaras have seen violence as a last resort and have chosen to creatively confront their situation in more subtle yet powerful ways such as education, academic research, political activism, and the arts. At their core, these strategies serve not only as means of resistance, but more importantly as a way to collectively acknowledge and remember lost history, recreate lost identity, and thereby open the way for healing.

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