The People of Afghanistan Suffer from Collective Depression

With the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, life expectancy has decreased dramatically and the helpless people of Afghanistan have become more vulnerable to natural disasters, economic challenges, security threats and disease. One of the challenges people severely face today is the outbreak of collective depression.

The people of Afghanistan were recorded as one of the most depressed people in the world during the Taliban rule in the 1990s. In other words, the lack of any entertainment program, panic and collective trauma among the people and the lack of electricity and basic living facilities, had led people to suffer from depression and paranoia. In the last two decades, however, the life of the people had changed, despite the corruption and shortcomings in the functioning of government departments. Afghan music came to life as a matter of fact in the past two decades, though not at the level of the years before the Soviet invasion, when Afghan music had grown significantly. Also, during this period, private televisions were able to fill the gaps in the state-owned radio and television, and through it, people became acquainted with the cultures and lifestyles of other nations. Live concerts and entertainment programs, although accompanied by threats and opposition from extremist forces were a refreshing moment for some. Possibility of traveling to foreign countries and trips inside the country, in addition to travel for educational purposes for tens of thousands of male and female students to different countries, along with short-term training programs for thousands of government and non-government employees provided in different countries brought a kind of joy into people’s lives.

It is true that not all of these opportunities were available to all citizens, but overall the environment was enabled and a significant portion of the population benefited to some degree out of the opportunities. If the people were not embittered by explosions, suicide attacks, roadside bombs and other terrorist activities, the endogenous dynamics of the society could make Afghanistan one of the most dynamic countries in the region and its people one of the happiest people in the world.

The reverse trend has been going on since the Taliban regained power in August 2021. A significant number of educated, specialized and technically skilled individuals have desperately fled the country. Many families are torn apart and scattered. Artists are under all kinds of pressures and have no opportunity to work, let alone having the right to arrange concerts and celebrations. The media face severe censorship in its broadcasts. Even people’s wedding and celebration parties have are being monitored and harassed by the Taliban rebels. Entertainment programs have been reduced to a part of sports, which is not very well established in a society like Afghanistan. This is in addition to the hardships and troubles that people face on daily basis, from the collapse of the country’s semi-autonomous economy to the lack of access to basic medical services and the restriction of presence in the community for half of the population (Women), all the driving factors for mass depression that has spread from home to the community, forcing millions to think of fleeing the country by losing their sense of belonging. The environment has become depressed. The city environment seems like being locked in a cage. Living environment without instruments and songs, without hope for the future and without freedom, will be completely lifeless and powerless. Authoritarian ideological systems, wherever they are, turn mobility into stagnation, hope into despair, and joy into mourning, and what remains of them is sorrow and bitterness.


The post The People of Afghanistan Suffer from Collective Depression appeared first on Hasht-e Subh Daily.

Source: Hasht-e Subh Daily

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