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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a novel narrated by Amir, a Pashtun; he grows up with an Hazara boy, Hassan, and there is no question that each of them knows his place in society.
Hassan and his father (representing all Hazaras) are servants to Amir and his father, and they both know that it is their fate to be subservient to the Pashtuns. Hassan is not allowed to go to school (receive a formal education) and therefore he will never be an equal citizen.
The two cultures have a long history of persecution, the Pashtuns against the Hazaras.
the Pashtuns, had persecuted and oppressed the Hazaras. [T]he Hazaras had tried to rise against the Pashtuns in the nineteenth century, but the Pashtuns had "quelled them with unspeakable violence." The [Pashtuns] had killed the Hazaras, driven them from their lands, burned their homes, and sold their women.
It is no wonder that the relationship between the two groups is so divided, and the disparity grows even worse once the Taliban takes over Afghanistan.
Assef is the most despicable person in the novel; he is a Pashtun and of course part of the Taliban. He tells Amir about the thrill he feels when he gets to persecute, randomly and recklessly, the Hazaras.
He leaned toward me, like a man about to share a great secret. "You don't know the meaning of the word 'liberating' until you've done that, stood in a roomful of targets [the Hazaras in Mazar-i-Sharif], let the bullets fly, free of guilt and remorse, know you are virtuous, good, and decent. Knowing you're doing God's work. It's breathtaking." He kissed the prayer beads, tilted his head.
The Pashtun-dominated Taliban has complete control of the Hazaras. Assef has the power to take boys from the orphanage, and the Taliban has the power to kill without cause or discrimination.
In chapter twenty-one, we read about the awful slaughter of Hazaras as a religious ritual, indicative both of the Hazaras' powerlessness and the Pashtun's ultimate power.
It is clear, in both big and small ways throughout the entire novel, that the Hazaras do not have any rights in this culture because of their heritage and religion while the Pashtuns are continuing their oppression of the group they consider to be second-class citizens.
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