Protest Poem

I wrote this poem as a performance piece for the One Voice One Step protests that happened across the world on March 15th, 2018. I would normally tell you to enjoy it but… actually, you know what? Enjoy. Joy in the revolution!


From: An Uyghur Girl
To: China
Cc: The World


You say that you want peace and harmony
You want the unity of ethnic minorities
You want us all to be one big family
Uyghurs, Tibetans, Han Chinese
Yet Falun Gong, Taiwan and Democracy
The five of us are Poisons? The hypocrisy
Of your words reveal Chinese hegemony

Here’s the ‘peace’ you constantly proclaim
Our freedom is in jail, our mouths detained
We face economic advances that starve and maim
Educational opportunities that divide and tame

Ethnic unity to prevent unification
Anti-separatism that enhances separation

Freedom of speech where our words are taught
And moving off script will get you caught

Religious freedoms where our God is Xi
Our only congregation is the CCP

And if we decide we want to learn our tongue
And if we decide to keep our traditions
Or if we happen to think a stray thought—
Perhaps a memory of what freedom once bought
We are chained en masse and kept in dungeons

With chains like puppet strings praising xi jinping
Chains to destroy the language of the hearts within
Chains to mould our brains to the Party’s whim

Hundreds of thousands in the moulding classes
Cramped and tortured to re-educate the masses
A mistake away from the killing gasses

And those outside, those outside, those yet to be confined
Must forget half their family or replace their seats inside
It’s not a prison, there is no sentence, they are interned for life
Or until they come out broken, a psyche suicide
Witnessing the cultural cleansing, slow boiling genocide
Unable to escape China’s overheating eyes

So they cut ties with those overseas, for communication is a suspicious act
Or students cut their wrists to bleed, for after their parents they are next
Or they are cut after blood is taken, their organs kept intact
And all the while wombs are cut to prevent hope or life in this attack

Oh, but you see us smiling on TV?
Yes, we shine with the reflection of our blood-stained properties
Our sweat and oil excellent commodities for a rapidly growing economy
and colourful dances, cruelly twisted so each step is beautiful agony
in a colonialist standard of beauty
and each breath is the slow erasure of our true identities

So Uyghurs rise up! We are unwilling to rest
before our people can freely breathe
before we can leave our boundaries

Before we can live as Uyghurs without
Being suspected of being radicalized
Without our religion being terrorized
Without our history being revised to fit a culture
ready to be commodified
without being denied to learn in our language
rather than of our language
Our way of life brutalized to fit a shoe unfit for Life
Punished when our feet bleed and swell and protest

You speak of peace then quash communication
Bridges are burned and face condemnation
Human rights and compromise face humiliation
In the push to show the world a “great Chinese nation”
That fights imaginary disease with greater inflammation
And rots with overcrowded prisons, and murders in obscurity
And creates predictive policing with militarised security
And tries to prevent any word of this from dissemination
By blackmailing and torturing our families and relations

And so here we are today to implore the United Nations
To take action on our behalf, to look into the situation
Of how China has sentenced us to an oppressive subjugation

We must stand up now to claim our rights before it’s much too late
From here on out the world will only stand to share our fate

To march for our human rights is our only salvation
We fight for our freedom from China’s damnation




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