A short answer to Mr Haroon's e-mail (January 23, 2000) requesting clarification in regard to the slogan "Freedom, Democracy and Social Justice" and our interpretation of these demands:


We believe that the slogans Freedom, Democracy and Social Justice which are the battle cries of RAWA reflect the sine qua non basic needs of our society, without which our people can never hope to attain peace and happiness. Our unhappy country has never, in the course of its tortuous history, had the good fortune to live in an atmosphere imbued with the above three basic social needs.

By FREEDOM we mean political, economic and cultural freedom and independence for our country. Although there are no foreign occupying troops on our soil at the present juncture in time, Afghanistan under the domination of fundamentalist gangs is neither free nor independent. By FREEDOM we also mean the right to individual freedoms of expression, belief, congregation, profession and travel, etc.; freedom of the press, freedom to form political parties and unions, freedom to elect and be elected, and all such other inalienable rights of citizens. The FREEDOM that we demands implies a total halt to all forms of inquisitory policing of thought, freedom of terror and torture, and guarantees for the safeguarding of the human dignity of individuals.

We further believe that in the context of fundamentalism- ridden Afghanistan, in order to attain the above mentioned freedoms it is first and foremost necessary to put forward the demand for DEMOCRACY, the prime condition for which is secularism, i.e. the separation of religion from the State. It is only in a secular State where there can be talk of the above mentioned freedoms. All the above freedoms are infringed upon under the pretext of religious injunctions. According to our understanding, it is only under DEMOCRACY that the religious beliefs of the people retain their pristine spiritual value and are not unscrupulously abused to further political ends, and human rights --including freedom of religious belief-- can be guaranteed and safeguarded.

We believe that conventional democratic political institutions in the absence of SOCIAL JUSTICE are flawed and worthless. We can talk of democracy and democratic institutions in Afghanistan only when the agrarian issue is resolved in the interests of peasants who comprise the absolute majority of the people and factors perpetuating the distance between the rich and the poor are done away with. Democracy can take roots only when the means for work and gaining an honest livelihood are available for all and are not under the dominance of or in the monopoly of the few; where there is religious freedom; where there is no national or ethnic oppression of minorities, and where the human rights of women as half of the societal corpus are respected. Such are the pillars of SOCIAL JUSTICE, without which democracy would ring hollow.

RAWA believes that the path to attainment of the demands raised in our slogan courses through decisive and unrelenting struggle against religious fascism alias fundamentalism. It is only with the annihilation of criminal fundamentalism and thereby foreign intervention from our internal affairs that the most crucial step towards attainment of Freedom can be taken. We find it ridiculous when within the framework of the political existence of the religious fascist pack of wolves, this or that so-called cultural or political luminary talks about the attainment of the peoples' aspirations or this or that publication wails about the absence of an appropriate educational system or such-and-such writer complains of the deprivations of our children and beseech the incumbent criminal "authorities" to look into ways of alleviating such problem.