Ana Til Day Poem

I was born here, I was raised here, it’s all I’ve ever known
Yet all my life I have been taught this is my second home

My first home is where our mother tongue was born
Where she blossomed in the mountains tall
In the valleys, connecting oases
Across hot deserts and snowfall

She taught my parents how to speak
And through them spoke to me
And though right now she is imprisoned
Through my tongue she can be free

While her mouth is clamped closed
My voice will be loud and strong
They may attempt to drown her
But through us her life is long

And through that connection we can learn
Our banned, unrevised history
Be proud of who we are as a people
Full of intellect and glory

We learn to love ourselves at a time
We are told we are backwards and old
We learn the truth of our natures
So we can move forward bold

And while they try rid us of her
We speak truth into our identities
We sing loud the beats of our hearts
And the rhythms in our stories

We keep her alive in our speech
In our letters, we continue to teach
The next generation in this country
Where we can learn of our homes in peace

I was born here, I was raised here, it’s all I’ve ever known
But one day we will go back to our ancestral home
And at that time I will take my mother tongue with me
For though right now she is imprisoned, through us she will be free

 

 

Note: (“here” refers to Australia)

Advertisements

SubbedIn

By the way, I published two more poems in a small literary press’ website last month but forgot to share the news on this blog. You can check them out here. The first one is kinda about showing East Turkistan like it’s in an abusive relationship with China. The second one is about how I live at the intersections of identities, and that’s kind of like what East Turkistan was a for a while, but at what point can we stop being the “central intersection” of cultures and just be our own thing? At what point can I stop giving myself so many different minority identifiers (Uyghur, Muslim, Female, Scientist, Australian, etc etc etc) and just be myself?

Uyghur Update: May 2018

A monthly update… a late monthly update… in my defense there’s been a lot of coverage in the media lately…

 

In the Uyghur Region

Forced Marriage

Uyghur women are being coerced into marriages with Han Chinese. If they refuse, they and their families may be detained or sent to re-education. This has been covered by: AJ+ Francais and Arabic, Taiwan News, Asia Times, TomoNews US. There are pictures floating around on Facebook, Facebook, and a video of a man crying about how if his daughter doesn’t accept the marriage proposal of a Han Chinese, the family will be thrown into re-education. Unverified Facebook post with another example… then again, it’s difficult to verify anything… They sing the Chinese anthem at weddings too…

Re-education Camps/Prison

More religious scholars, Abdulehed Mehsum and Allaamah Abdulahatkhan Makhdom have passed away in the camps. Previously I talked about Dr Halmurat Ghopur being detained. Apparently he has passed away in prison. This Facebook post also notes that his name may also be erased from some of his scientific publications.

A literature professor has been detained. More elderly are being taken into re-education where they are dying. A student returning from Malaysia has been detained. Imams and businessmen all being sent to prison. They’re donating cellphones to residents…

China is branding the re-education camps as “free medical treatment” for people with “unhealthy minds”: Facebook. They also say they are allowing people to learn the constitution in “interesting ways”: Global Times. But two Uyghur civil servants were jailed for 11 years for not showing enough “enthusiasm” and not sending people to re-education: RFA. Doctors seem to have been told to diagnose sick people as healthy so that police can fill their camp quotas. Here are some photos of the camps. They’re really not hiding it

Shawn Zhang released a list of re-education camps found using satellite images from Google Earth. You can keep up-to-date with him on Twitter as he finds more re-education camps, for example here where he finds 15 more in Ghulja. Here is more proof and PDFs of the existence of these camps.

Miscellaneous

Here’s a story of a mother who died trying to get to a flag raising ceremony.

More photos of knives chained to tables of restaurants and food carts because the Chinese government suspects all Uyghurs of being a potential threat.

Apparently many (if not all?) ethnic minority teachers have been fired from their jobs: ChinaAid. Here’s a notification released in April saying “double-faced personals” will be detained, aka people who don’t speak Chinese.

Religion

Here, UHRP summarises China’s new policies/White Paper on the control of religion (released in April, 2018). This article talks about how religious symbols are being removed from Hui places – and how rolling out policies effective in ET would be disastrous. Obviously Ramadan is banned: China Aid. Here’s an interview with Salih Hudayar on the fasting ban. Here’s video of Uyghurs drinking alcohol during Ramadan. Here’s an article on China’s “war against Islam“. Here’s a video of Rebiya Kadeer talking about the restrictions on religious freedoms by Freedom Collection. All mosques need to raise the Chinese flag.

During the month of Ramadan, WUC has been releasing posts on social media about the religious repression happening in East Turkistan. You can see it on Twitter or Instagram.

 

Surveillance/Security

Reuters:

A big selling point of the technology, according to one policeman from the restive far western region of Xinjiang who was eyeing a Hisign scanner, was its claimed ability to get data from Apple Inc’s iOS operating system, used in products like the widely popular iPhone.

“We are actually using these kinds of scanners in Xinjiang already, but I am interested in this one as it claims to be more successful with iOS phones than other brands,” said the policeman, surnamed Gu, who traveled 3,000 kilometers to attend the fair. He declined to provide his given name.

More than a billion dollars has been spent on surveillance in the region alone.

German citizen Osman Tursun told RFA that the Chinese government had asked him to spy on the Uyghur diaspora, holding his 3 sons in re-education camps as blackmail.

Human Rights Watch released a short video on how Chinese officials are living with Uyghur families to keep watch on their behaviour. Here is the accompanying article. This was also covered by CNN and RFA.

Apparently there seems to be bomb drills happening in Korla and other cities…

A report on how Bingtuan has tightened its grip on areas like Hotan through land reclamation and demographic dilution: Financial Times

 

In The News

Two pieces of news opened the floodgates for reporting on re-education camps this month. Firstly, Adrian Zenz came out with a paper that detailed evidence showing the re-education camps were real: “Thoroughly Reforming them Toward a Healthy Heart Attitude” – China’s Political Re-Education Campaign in Xinjiang. You can see more of his thoughts/a summary/link to the full report on his Twitter thread (his Twitter is also pretty great for evidence of what is happening in ET). Second was this interview with Omir Bekali, a Kazakh man who was placed in prison for 7 months and then into a re-education camp before being released. He describes how he was tortured and the types of threats they used against him to ‘confess’ to crimes he didn’t commit. Another interview with Kayrat Samarkand echoes the same sort of unprecedented torture they faced. You can read this Twitter thread by Gerry Shih for more information. Since these interviews came out, more news orgs have been talking about the re-education camps: New York Times, The Globe and MailBusiness InsiderThe InterpreterChina Digital TimesDaily Mail, The Independant, ABC, TRT World (video), Daily O, Albawaba

The Economist ran a very comprehensive article on what is happening to Uyghur people (also in print): Apartheid with Chinese Characteristics. They also ran another article comparing China’s digital police state to what’s happening in the West, and how to deal with it.

The Washington Post is calling it a “repugnant campaign to destroy a minority people”. National Review is saying this is a state of emergency. National Review also posted a fairly scathing article that I’m surprised I didn’t write myself. Reuters describes it a pity that we aren’t paying more attention to what is happening, as well as an “Orwellian nightmare“.

David Brophy released an article outlining the history and current situation, and proposed an alternative approach to improving the political situation.

Jessica Batke writes about the complex leadership structure that is responsible for the mass detention of Uyghurs.

Aydin Anwar released an article describing the situation in East Turkistan, along with interviews with refugees in Turkey who had been detained in Chinese prisons.

Nury A. Turkel was interviewed in the Q & A podcast at the Ricochet Podcast Summit, hosted by Jay Nordlinger, titled: The New Gulag in China

Tom Cliff (author of Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang) outlines the situation again, this time drawing a comparison to the historical figure Wang Zhen, and poses the question: why? Unfortunately there is no answer.

Megha Rajagopalan gave a talk about how China’s mass surveillance is affecting Uyghurs at the Oslo Freedom Forum. She also gave an interview about the challenges of foreign correspondence in China.

Radio Free Asia released a short explanatory video on China’s repression on Uyghurs.

Aftenpoften, a Norwegian news press, also talked about re-education camps.

A news program in Turkey ran a 20-min long section with Uyghur guests on their Kanal 7 Iftaar Saati. The guests spoke on what is happening to Uyghurs right now and how their families are in re-education camps.

The Quartz put out an interesting article on the connection between “terrorism” and the Uyghur people. While the history is interesting, and I agree that China is helping to create the terrorist threat that they used to falsely claim, I don’t agree that Uyghur terrorism is a “genuine reason to fear”. ISIS isn’t going to attack China any time soon and I fear that these Uyghur kids are only going to be used to further their own agenda rather than fight China.

WashDiplomat published a piece on the April protests in Washington DC.

 

Detainment of Uyghurs and Kazakhs in “re-education camps” and the response of the diaspora

As more and more Uyghurs are detained, Uyghurs in the diaspora have been speaking out. Halmurat Harri Uyghur is one, and you can see his blog here, and his videos on his Facebook page. Women from France created a video during Mother’s Day. A doctor from Hong Kong expresses her support. Zumret Tursun has been posting a lot of live videos calling people to action. There are many more Facebook Live videos of Uyghurs speaking out, and more Uyghur-news-related Instagram and Twitter accounts surfacing now.

Talk to East Turkistan also posts and re-posts regularly about some of these stories, for example here. Follow them for daily updates on what is happening.

KJ Vids has started a “Voice of Uyghurs” campaign where Uyghurs can anonymously submit stories of what is happening to them.

If you have stories you would like to submit to Human Rights Watch, contact me through Instagram or Twitter.

Kazakh people whose relatives have been detained have been calling on the Kazakhstan government (or anyone) to do something about it, for example here, here, here (with Salih Hudayar speaking on behalf of her), here. Since then, Kazakh people have protested in front of the Chinese embassy in Almaty and Astana has apparently asked Beijing to release Kazakh citizens from the camps. Kazakh news has also interviewed ex-detainees.

 

Western Responses to China

Various opinion pieces have surfaced in the wake of all the news of China’s abuses against Uyghurs, human rights activists and their relatives, as well as their growing power and influence in various countries like New Zealand, America and Australia.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released another document describing their deep concern for the repression of Uyghurs.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China respectively, released another letter, this time about selling surveillance technology to China. This was summarised in WSJ.

Congressmen Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and James P. McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, addressed the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights on the human rights situation – you can see the video and article here: Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

The U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor invited Zubayra Shamseden and Omer Kanat from UHRP to discuss Uyghur human rights in their Facebook live series: #HumanRightsHeroes.

Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom of the U.S. Department of State, Sam Brownback, talked about Uyghurs and re-education camps while responding to questions regarding whether the US Government takes human rights into consideration when considering trade between the US and China.

US Congressman Chris Smith gave China a failing grade for religious freedom and has been designated a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).

The language seems to have shifted to describing what is happening now to something similar to Russian Gulags and South African apartheid rather than Nazi concentration camps. The Orwellian state continues to be used, but more in the sense of “this would give even Orwell nightmares”.

 

WUC

A good interview with Dolkun Isa after the Brussels protests last month: Sydney Criminal Lawyers.

On May 15th, WUC attended a meeting with the European Parliament. You can find the meeting agenda here and a video here.

On May 22nd (New York), Ambassador Kelley Currie strongly rebutted China’s attempt to defame Uyghur activist Dolkun Isa and their efforts to revoke UN credentials of the Society for Threatened Peoples at the United Nations. I recommend listening to it… it’s refreshing to say the least. Here’s the full video of the proceedings. Here’s an article summary. The US rejected China’s attempt to remove him from the UN.

Omer Kanat spoke on DW News about Omir Bekali’s case and Chinese policies.

WUC is holding some sort of contest revolving around our National Anthem, for anyone who wants to enter: Facebook. Also I feel like I mentioned it before but they have a video news series now.

 

Sherqi Turkistan Milliy Oyghunush (East Turkistan National Awakening)

A new group has been formed in the US, mostly by youth, and headed by Salih Hudayar (at least, he is the most outspoken member). The name had been floating around for a few months but they have become much more active this May. One of their first actions will be a protest held on the 4th of June:

32815867_164553867573767_3933408762815053824_n

It is supported by the Lantos Foundation, Rebiya Kadeer, Anwar Yusuf Turani, and many Uyghurs around the world (with Facebook videos of youth from around the world extending their support to Salih Hudayar and urging Uyghurs to wake up and stand up: x x x). The protest will continue every day (in smaller groups) until Congress passes legislation.

 

 

Conferences

Symposium on the Identity Crisis of Uyghurs Today by UAA, Uyghur Academy, and UHRP was held on Friday, May 25th, 2018 at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. You can find some of their proceedings and videos on Facebook.

When the Government Defines You: China and the Uyghurs by Forum on International Affairs (FIA) was held on May 31st, 2018 in Washington DC. Guest speakers included Nicole Morgret, Zubayra Shamseden and Louisa Greve.

“The Uyghur Diaspora and China”, “Uyghur Cybernationalism”, and “Uyghur Nationalist Movements and political manoeuvering in Japan” at The Association for the Study of Nationalities. You can see a summary here.

 

Outside of Politics

Here’s a cute video of a little Uyghur girl in Japan playing piano to a theatre audience.

I’m not sure what he’s saying, but here’s a video of Kashgar in 2017: YouTube

Check out Subhi Bora and her team in this video on ABC and how they created hijabi dolls, Salam Sisters.

Tahir Hamut’s poems were published (translated by Joshua L Freeman) in Asymptote Journal. Here are more poetry by the duo, published by Duration Press.

2lt. Shepket G. Tohti was recognised by the US army on their Facebook page during their Asian-American and Pacific Islanders awareness month. His picture displayed the East Turkistan flag with the US flag!

Abdusalam Abdureshit (“Abudushalamu Abudurexiti”) might be drafted into the NBA!

Uyghur Day – there seems to be more of these happening lately. This is the beginning of one in the Netherlands

For Ramadan, here’s a video of Uyghur men singing the “ramzan towlash” songs they used to sing when they were kids in East Turkistan. The Uyghur Language School students in Adelaide, SA also did Ramzan Towlash and was featured in AnaTil TV.

There will be an Uyghur scholar/intellectuals conference at the George Washington Institute on July 27-28, 2018. I believe they will discuss how best to preserve Uyghur identity while China is destroying our people.

33125697_2413455425338644_8998908391606714368_n

An interesting cable message from Stalin to Mao regarding the plane crash that killed Uyghur leaders: Facebook.

A Turkish series on YouTube on Uyghur history.

Salam Deng

So I asked someone for Uyghur rock song recommendations and she delivered. One of the songs she sent was this one called “Salam” by Tingshighuch (which means earphones haha). She really liked it because the lyrics are actually adapted from a poem by Abdurehim Otkur called Salam Deng. I loved it so much I made a lyric video with English subs on YouTube 🙂

 

But the original poem is a bit longer. So I translated that too. Because I’m procrastinating a lot right now. 

 

Salam Deng

Yelpünüp ötken shamallar, qulaq séling sözümge
Qolgha élip romallar tutung yashliq közümge

Éship taghlar üstidin bérip yéting yurtumgha
Yash yürektin séghinishliq salam éting yurtumgha

Baghqa bérip yetkende güllerni öpüp ötüng
Gul tüwide olturghan dilberni söyüp ötüng

Taghlar éship ötkende chécheklerge salam deng
Derd-elemde örtengen yüreklerge salam deng

Zulum bilen yardin juda mehbublargha salam deng
Qarangghu zindandiki mehbuslargha salam deng

Héch nersedin ghémi yoq bégimlerge salam deng
Atisi zindanda ölgen yétimlargha salam deng

Étizdiki emgeklik déhqanlargha salam deng
Baghda qan-qan yighlighan baghwenlerge salam deng

Yétim oghul, tul xotun bicharemge salam deng
Parche nangha qul bolghan diwanemge salam deng

Yat qollirida xarlanghan chimengülge salam deng
Nomus üchün jan bergen reyhangülge salam deng

Zöhresidin ayrilghan tahirlargha salam deng
Tili baghliq, dili daghliq shairlargha salam deng

Her jayda xar, her nege zar zeiplerge salam deng
Özi miskin, dili ghemkin ediblerge salam deng!

1945-yil Iyun, Lenju

 

Translation:

Say Salam // Send my Salam

To the winds that fan by me, lend an ear to what I say
Hold your scarf up to my eyes and wipe my tears away

Climb over those mountains and reach over to my homeland
From my tearful heart send my homesick salam to my homeland

As you reach the orchards, caress the flowers as you pass by
Kiss the beauty who sits below the flowers as you pass by

As you pass over the mountains, send my salam to the blossoms
To the hearts that have suffered from distress, send my salam

To the lovers separated by oppression, send my salam
To the prisoners in those dark dungeons, send my salam

To the Begs with not a care in the world, send my salam
To the orphans whose fathers have died in gaols, send my salam

To the laborious peasants in the farmlands, send my salam
To the gardeners who bitterly wept in orchards, send my salam

To the abandoned boys, the widowed women, to the wretched, send my salam
To the beggars who slave for a piece of bread, send my salam

To the wild flowers humiliated by outsiders, send my salam
To the basil flowers that died for humility, send my salam

To the Tahirs separated from their Zohres, send my salam
To the poets with orchard tongues and black-stained souls, send my salam

To the feeble, bullied everywhere, longing for all, send my salam
To the destitute writers with sorrowed souls, send my salam!

June, 1945, Lanzhou

 

So I didn’t quite know what to title it. I could have just translated it as “Say Salam” which I think works perfectly fine, but I’m not sure if people outside of the culture would understand it. I almost translated it as “send my greetings” but that would’ve just ruined it, I think. Salam is such a mood. People can look it up. Google is a thing. But yeah idk?

I don’t actually know what “öpüp ötüng” means, even though I translated it as “caress… as you pass by”. Wild guess. The word wasn’t in the dictionary I use. Probably because the poem is from 1945. He also uses the word “Dilber” which is a girl’s name which apparently means “beautiful woman”. I always thought it was a type of flower but I guess not. He does use Chimengul and Reyhangul which are both names of girls as well as plants – pretty sad that Reyhan is a girl’s name in Uyghurche but in English it’s Basil, which is a guy’s name. I ended up translating them to English but the double entendre’s been lost :/

I kept Beg as it is because it’s a type of leader or official and I feel like it works in English the way Sultan or Bey works.

Again, references to Tahir and Zohre, an epic love story/tragedy popular amongst Turk cultures.

Interestingly, he says “bichareMge” and “diwaneMge” which means MY wretched/begger rather than THE, which would’ve been “bicharige” or “diwanige”. I wonder if that was to keep the flow of the poem, or if that was done with some sort of meaningful intent. I translated it as “the” rather than “my” to keep the flow though.

Every morning I wake up and feel like I’ll break down
Every night I carry the weight of a million heads bowed down
Every day I walk with weights bearing heavy on my chest
With the moon filtering upon my face I cannot bare to rest

I cannot bare the sunlit paths that I can freely walk
I cannot bare my tears or smiles when I can freely talk
I cannot bare it yet I must, for only I can breathe
With what little breath I still have left I will see my people freed

But for right now I turn my face to hide my tears away
And all alone I weep while working as every cell attempts to pray
I’m standing tall and my body’s strong yet it feels like a facade
To who? I wonder. To myself? What kind of struggle, what jihad?

As each wave of grief passes over me, I wring my heart to dry
But it is blood, not salt water, that stings and blurs my eyes
At least blood congeals, at least my heart still beats, I think
In this ocean of turmoil, I cannot bare to sink

Mother!

I am so, so lucky my mum is safe and living in a place I can reach, albeit on the other side of the world. I couldn’t know how it feels to never see her again. My heart breaks for those thousands of mothers in East Turkistan and their children in the diaspora who cannot reach them through physical or cyber space. Here’s to those children…

 

 

Mother! I will not speak of how you birthed me
Nor will I speak of your sacrifices
I will not speak of your love or your tears
Your exasperations
I will not speak of your humanness, how you are girl and woman
How you are an individual expected angel
Surely heaven lay at your feet before those feet were hardened by callouses
No, I will not speak of your soft voice which coos me to sleep
Nor of your might when you are resolute
The way you mould like the metal poured into flames
And become the sharp sabre

Mother! I need you like the earth needs rain
Whether you flood me or leave me dry
I will hasten to drink your downpour

Mother! We have been separated by borderlines made by man
In the most unnatural accomplishments of globalisation
During times where earth is smallest and
Water is always available
I am surrounded by a sea of salt
While you by barbed wire and men who spit venom

Let me hold you one last time
Before we are separated by the heavens
Let me hear your voice, aware of your own impending sleep
These devils who hold us apart
Cannot know we are connected by roots deeper than their satellites can penetrate
I will send my soul to the moon who will
Transport me into your dreams
And the birds who travel to distant lands will
Bring to you seeds of my love
And the songs of my heart

I know you never despair, my life
I will not despair either
Though the world may darken through my tears
Let the flames in our heart burn those who dare disconnect our voices
We are the harmonious chord made from light
Refracted upon every crevice of the earth
Our songs will meet once again

Mother!

Forgive me

I love you

I will feel your embrace again.

 

Whole

As we grow old and time gets shorter, each tragedy and each instance
of happiness is spanned by but a breath. Every exhale is news in this
ever shrinking world, every strike of the hour is another dramatic
drop of a heart, making waves across the communal clock face,
each pinprick of mass a shuddering moment of energy. We are
greeted with various extremes at any moment and feel guilty
as our bodies shift in reaction to an opposing force. But
time is circular, constant, and passing. And we are
neutrons of our own, able to withstand immense
pressure, unique, individual, the centre of a

whole.

A Contemplation

“And I just hope you know
That if you say / goodbye today / I’d ask you to be true
‘Coz the hardest part of this is leaving you.
‘Coz the hardest part of this is leaving you…”

 

The song was stuck in her head. Today was the third day. A week of happenings of different intensities had weighed her down in a way. Buoyed her up and plunked her down, washed away everything then cluttered her again with pieces of shell and tiny, dead sea creatures. She wanted to cry but she was too happy, too content. She needed to sleep, but she was too alive. The clouds outside were grey. Earlier the sky had been blue, hot sun drumming down on her face with a cool breeze attempting to brush it away, as if they were stray hairs. She had been at a beach with a friend, and the salty air had worked its usual strange magic. There was something ancient and nostalgic about a new beach. The tactile difference of cool, soft sand and hard, hot rocks played with memories under her feet, and her mind fought for different ways to breathe. Walking along she’d seen a man reading a book, pants off with everything showing for the world to see. It didn’t faze her, surprisingly.

 

She thought back to the night before. They were on a roof and the breeze was cooling, just a little harder than soothing, so it hit her heart just the right way. A new moon sat at eye level, orange in its reflection of the sun, a single line painting the night. A plane had flown over it just then, close and big enough to seem to be on the same plane as the fire moon. Or cheese moon?

 

She went back. They were sitting down in a Max Brenner near the wharf, overdosing on chocolate.

 

Back. Sitting on the sand eating chips and kebabs, unwillingly sharing with the seagulls who no longer cared if the humans were eating the food they were stealing. A whale waved in the distance. No, two whales. Arching back all their mass, careless and weightless, trusting the ocean to catch them. They would always be caught by the ocean. Could we be caught by the air? I suppose the constant pressure was what kept our bodies together. The air would do no extra.

 

Night falls and she collects her thoughts. She will be meeting with some girls soon. Food. Movies. Socialising. It would be good for her. She just hoped she had the energy. It had been pulled out of her, as if by osmosis, at the bay. Sitting on the rocks, reading about labyrinths and feeling the pull of the tides while that magic she’d mentioned earlier wound itself around her, hugged her, held her. She breathed it in and it infected each cell, transfected her genes, methylated parts of her DNA.

 

The sun was no longer visible. A golden orb appeared to be in the air, but there was no light. She was surrounded by blue. She was surrounded by fog. Mist. Just enough to see that there was nothing except her thoughts in their physical manifestation. Just enough to yearn to let out, let go. A scent wafted into her line of sight and she followed it as if following a thought. Constant distractions but continuously running. Rushing yet calm. Ah. Ah. She could barely see anything now. She could barely see her thoughts, but she kept following. Waiting, perhaps, ‘til the point where she would be writing blind. Perhaps kinaesthesia would help her through. The mere memory of the actions required to create the physical manifestations of… what?

 

The scent became a cat. A cat meowed and purred like it wanted her to follow it. Blind eyed, she did. She ran for it, words left unfinished, thoughts frayed and scattering in different directions, messy, garbled, illegible. And she saw herself. Suddenly. She spied herself sitting under a lamplight, writing something on her phone. She remembered this. She’d been writing some poem or other. She walked towards her writing-self. A fat grey cat sat in front of her, watchful. She took a step towards them and both cats started to yowl. The writing-her looked up and, seeming to see nothing, looked at the fat grey and petted her. “What are you meowing at huh kitty?” They grey cat looked at her and blinked slowly. “Aw kisses to you too kitty,” she said with a smile. “I think I have to go… Thank you for looking out for me cat!” and with that the other her stood up and started to walk away. She wanted to go up to her, talk to her… But she knew what happened next. Talking to her future self was certainly not on the menu for that night.

 

She remembered how she had felt back then. The spring scent had come in early and the breeze – warm – had infected her at that time, too, in a secluded corner behind a train station that most did not notice as they rushed busily past. The moon had been full and orange, and she had talked to strangers in lieu of socialising with the group she was usually spending time with. She realised the air and the moon and the magic must always be there, no matter the time of day. They simply converged in certain places less visited by humanity and more often frequented by déjà vu. A rooftop with a neon blue sign on a yellow background. Holey rocks half-filled with microscopic marine life. Or perhaps dried out completely.

 

She knew that the light would flash strangely from the horizon now, and the perpetual sunset from the city skyline would attempt to resemble lightning. If only it could bare the same intensity as that electricity. If only it could cause the same tremors as heavy thunder, the same caress as a downpour. Alas, the only flashes came from a neighbour’s TV screen flashing on their wall, visible through a window. The only rumble was a weak heartbeat from the heavy bass of a faraway party. A mellow breeze teased her hair but backed away as soon as she tried to lean in for a kiss. Frustration was there, but so was contentment, and they sat hand in hand in a confusing juxtaposition while she thought back, wishing she could be lying on that beach, hair free, soaking into the sea, slowly dissolving.

 

“Ready to roll?”

 

“I guess”

 

–2016

The Uyghurs in Modern China

Thum, R. (2018-04-26). The Uyghurs in Modern China. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Link

Abstract

The Uyghurs are a Turkic-speaking ethnic group, most of whom live today within the People’s Republic of China. Virtually all Uyghurs are Muslims, and most are oasis farmers, small-time traders, or craftsmen. They constitute the majority population of the Tarim Basin, a region that eventually fell under Chinese rule after the Qing conquest of 1759. Although Turkic speakers predominated in the Tarim Basin for several centuries, the modern Uyghur identity was only named and formalized in the 20th century. During that period, a succession of Chinese states gradually transformed Uyghur lands from a loosely held dependency under the Qing to a closely monitored, assimilationist, settler colony in the 21st century, ruled by a Han Chinese–dominated bureaucracy. Uyghurs inherit traditions rooted in Turko-Persianate Central Asia, elaborated in the 20th century by strong influences from Soviet Central Asia and continually adapted to a political context of shifting outsider regimes punctuated by briefly successful independence movements.

Uyghur Update: April 30th – 6th May

May 5th is International Doppa Day! Here’s a nice little video explaining different types of doppa. Here’s the link to the infographic featured above.

 

In the Uyghur Region

Security

Navigating Xinjiang’s security checkpoints by Darren Byler speaks of one researcher’s recent experiences with the many security checkpoints. The last paragraph gave me chills.

Some data on how many Uyghurs are being detained in re-education, although the number is probably higher now: Twitter. More stats and stories on “successfully re-educated” people: Twitter, Twitter

More news of Kazakh and Uyghur people being imprisoned: ChinaAid. Here is a photo of a girl from a protest whose father is in re-education: TET.

A bit worrying — Erik Prince has set up a private security training school in East Turkistan, which will presumably help oppress Uyghur people: Washington Post

More on hacking by the Chinese government: ars technica

Media

On state-controlled media, propaganda and mind control: RFA

Policy

A paper on agricultural policies: Future Directions

China on bioethics: Foreign Policy

A summary of how China is “afraid of its ethnic minorities”: Axios

 

International

May 3rd was World Press Freedom Day: WUC

There was a protest in Canberra in front of the Egyptian embassy. You can read the open letter here: Facebook, video

31841416_2386627778021409_627541743247556608_n

Here are the proceedings of the conference in the Hudson Institute about the police state:

 

 

Outside of Politics

A summary of modern Uyghur history by Rian Thum: Oxford Research Encyclopedias

On Old Uyghur history and how they withstood drought through trade: The Atlantic

The BizUyghurlar blog, which started out in Russian, now has an English section! They have a lot of interesting articles on Uyghurs, Uyghur culture and history, as well as current events and op-eds by readers.

Uyghur culture was celebrated in Sydney, Australia at the SSI community kitchen: Facebook

Uyghur Akademiye hosted a meeting of academics and students while celebrating Doppa Day and conducting the 3rd conference for the discussion and commemoration of Uyghur intellects: Facebook, Facebook

Cycling to Kashgar with Eleanor Moseman. Follow her Instagram for some amazing stories and photos of her travels.