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The Importance of Honour in Afghan Society

    The concept of honour is very important in Afghan culture because it defines the reputation of an individual and therefore the respect that is given to this person and to his or her family.  The concept of honour is linked to certain values, which should not be violated. It is therefore important not to compromise someone’s honour by criticizing them in public or to question them in such a way that they feel put on the spot or embarrassed.

     “Each one of us has different values, it is not necessary that the value of every one of us be the same, we need to have a sense of respect for each other’s values, and create a cordial atmosphere.” Says Laila Noori.

    Laila Noori is one of the young women in Kandahar province who is involved in social activities in some areas of Kandahar to create positive incentives for social responsibility and development. She says: “Through these social activities, I want women to have more rights to shape their own lives, and to show society their potential for social development.”

    According the concept of honour, the male head of a family is responsible for protecting the honor of the family. The issue of honor drives much of the behavior surrounding the protection of women such as how to dress, social interaction, education, and social activity.

    “My aim is to change restrictions for women by changing negative assumptions into positive thoughts towards education and women’s works in the communities. I want to discuss with as many people as possible what it means to have a good social life and discuss how we can contribute to a positive social development in our societies.”

    In addition to the negative perceptions of women’s participation in social affairs, a major problem is that daughters and sons do not have access to education. Often this has an overall negative impact on relationships between family’s members.

    Bashir Ahmad, another young man from Kandahar explains: “Educated citizens play a vital role in social development and make positive decisions for the wellbeing of the society. In order to encourage people in the communities we have conducted cultural dialogue to create a climate of trust among the people in their societies. We were able to discuss the joint responsibilities of men and women for the social and educational development. This was wonderful to feel that we all want the same”.

     “I don’t want to be as silent as the girls of the past generation but I will try to be a role model for the next generation.” Concludes Laila