I recently received a text saying: “…You’re getting more involved in all the political aspects of your people too by the sounds of things, what’s the big push for that? Is it more intrigue or a passion you’re developing for your people?”
I was aghast that he thought I was only just now becoming passionate about my people – perhaps he did not mean it that way, but I did feel like I must not have been doing enough for the Uyghur cause.
The way he worded it was interesting though. Developing an intrigue or passion for your people. It is almost as if other people are not normally intrigued or passionate about their people. And if you think about it, they’re really not. They have the liberty to simply care about themselves and maybe their family. They are an individual in this world. Perhaps they belong to a few large groups they can identify with, but these groups are comfortably large enough to either blend in or make something unique of yourself. For example, I am Australian and I am Muslim. As an Australian I can choose to be involved in the politics of the country but it would not really matter if I chose not to. There are plenty other Australians. Likewise there are 2 billion other Muslims, and there are a lot of Muslim Australians doing a far better job than I could do influencing public opinion and policy, having a passion for Australian Muslims, learning about the history of Australian Muslims, etc. Me? I can live my life, study, work, travel the world, do what I want; Australian Muslims will not die out because of me, they will not feel a generational loss, nor will their lives depend on one more Australian Muslim fighting for them. My Australian Muslim family will not be imprisoned and our way of life, our freedom of religion, or our entire identity will not be erased by just one little me going off on her own adventure. Perhaps when the time comes I will look back and think, wow, Australian Muslims are interesting, I want to learn more and help out! Perhaps. Perhaps not. It is a choice we have.
I am not saying there are no Uyghurs who want to live a stress free life, who do not care about identity, culture, or religion, who just want what is best for themselves and who believe we are all just individuals living insignificant lives in this ancient universe. That is their choice. It just never occurred to me (this clearly) that there are people who do not have to choose between fighting and not fighting. I grew up believing this world was a battlefield. You either fight, give up, or side with the enemy. But somewhere far away there are people who do not care much for the conflict and will never have to make that decision. Who can simply not have an interest in their people, their history, their politics, because those things will not be lost without them, nor a whole generation of them. That information will still exist, and they will be able to access it all, practice it all, succeed it all, at their own pace, at their own leisure. On the other hand, these things are being actively erased by the Chinese Government, so if Uyghur people do not show keen interest in its preservation, there is a large possibility that we will no longer have access to this knowledge in the future. Isn’t that fascinating?