My parents are not numbers or statistics

By M.H Uyghur

26.4.2018 Frankfurt, Germany

My aunt was working in a post office in Uyghur region, I was five or six years old, we have visited them in a summer vacation. I played hide and seek with my cousins, in accident I lacked myself in a safe, located in her office. The safe box was about the size that hardly fits an adult. I heard my cousin was coming, in a rush I hide myself in the box, then it lacked. Thank God she saw me, she couldn’t open the door. Luckily she was smart enough to immediately told my parents. There was tiny little hole behind the box, otherwise I could have never reached my adulthood. Somehow they managed to open the safe immediately. There was many times, they saved my life, just like your parents, they are heroes of mine.

Because of my language skills, I had good relationship with foreigners while I was in Ürümqi, the capital city of Uyghur region. We had wonderful time together, we traveled, had party and other regular things what young people do. It was pure friendship, we had never interested in politics, and never done anything stupid enough to annoying them, beside our friendship. Unfortunately, according to local public securities, our international friendship somehow “endangered the state security”, then they had detained me for “further investigation”, in fact, it was torture.

The days in detention center was one of most darkest period of my life, I have been tortured both mentally and physically. I guess I need to write more about it on another topic. Despite their routine, in “Tianshan detaining center” were many detainees were detained for “political reason”, which means “Ulanbay detaining center” was full. There are many things are bad in corrupted government, good side is “it works” if you able to bribe right personals. My parents had “gifted” a fat commander to take back my justice, with approximately 100 southend RMB, after ten days “investigation”, it proved that detaining me was a mistake.

Before this experience, I wasn’t planning to go abroad. Short after, I start to planning to study abroad. It wasn’t easy, at first I want to go to US, after my fellow Uyghur classmate fail to visa interview, I gave up my plan. Then, my Han teacher, a Christian priest of underground church, helped me arrange masters degree program in an university in Thailand. Trip to Thailand wasn’t that smooth, at the airport, Chinese border police took me to “routine checkups” in their office. At that time, I thought it was over. I started to pray, there was nothing else I can do. After two hours, they let me go. I am really thankful to the police officer, who was in his fifties, I strongly believe he was a Christian. He saw the Bible in my baggage, took it, and carefully put on the clean table, and he smiled at me with kind of deep meaning. I was bringing the Bible to my teachers friend, as a gift from him. Who knows, it saved my life.

Both my parents, now are in detention, in so called re-education center, in fact, Nazi style concentration camps. Over a year, I lost contact with my mother, from January, lost contact with father. I know what is it like to be in “detention”,. Every single day, since they got arbitrarily detained, I start to have sleeping disorder. At first, like other Uyghurs, I kept it in silence. I was afraid their suffering can get worsen, if I somehow bothering the Chinese authorities. Gradually, I lost my patience, start to see it will never help, situation will never get better with silence. Maybe I will never see them alive again, maybe I will never know where they were barred, one thing I am positive, I will definitely see them in the Heaven.

After long silence, medias start to report about the tragedies in Xinjiang, the reporters speaks out the numbers of estimated detainees in concentration camps. I hope you realize, those million Uyghurs in concentration camps, are parents, husband or wife, son or daughter of someone like you, they can feel pains, they can think, they love. I love my parents, really hope their suffers will end soon…

Release My Parents Held in Arbitrary Detention in Nazi Style Concentration Center

by M.H Uyghur

9.March 2018, Hyvinkää, Finland

with my mother
I and my mother

I am Halmurat, a Uyghur living in Finland. 2017 was the saddest year for my family. The troubles began in late 2016 when Chinese government pressured my male cousin Adil return to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region from Egypt. Local authorities threatened to imprison his parents and confiscate their property in if Adil did not return. He, his wife and their two son went back to Xinjiang, the authorities jailed him and his wife. I have no further information about Adil and his wife. Nobody willing to talk about it, we had keep this in silent, because we afraid it will cause more problem to our relatives, who are living in Uyghur region.

Then, in early summer 2017, I tried to call my mother, she was recovering from recent hospitalization. No one picked up, I feared for the worst. Communication with my parents was already sporadic, thank God my father finally picked up the phone, but I could sense fear in his voice. He told me “your mother went to study”, saying that community service officials had instructed her to go, study Mandarin and patriotism education. But she already mastered Mandarin, she went to university in Beijing.

with my grandma
With late grandmother

Lost contact with my mother made me anxious, right before her disappearance, she was recovering from hysterectomy and chemotherapy. My suspicion is getting bigger, I still afraid the worse. I began to call relatives in Xinjiang, only to find they were too afraid to speak to me. They don’t answer me, or they hear my voice and don’t talk and cut the connection.

Sending coded messages to a cousin outside of Xinjiang, I learned that my mother had really been placed in a re-education camp. He also told me that the Chinese government had recently recalled my father’s cousins son from Turkey, when he arrived to Xinjiang, the authority jailed him, he die under mysterious circumstances in a prison.

IMG_E9391IMG_E9390Then, in January 2018, from a relative at abroad, I learned we lost grandmother. I tried to call my father, no one picked up. I lost contact with father. Neighbors reported that he, too, was in re-education.

In 2017, Chinese authorities initiated a network of ‘re-education’ camps targeting a number of categories of ‘suspicious’ Uyghurs for political indoctrination. This includes:

·“People who throw away their mobile phone’s SIM card or did not use their mobile phone after registering it
·Former prisoners already released from prison
·Blacklisted people
·‘Suspicious people’ who have some fundamental religious sentiment
·People who have relatives abroad
·People who have travelled abroad for any reason
·Government employees with religious sentiments or who have expressed sympathy for other Uyghurs

 

August 27, 2007 Kariz Museum, Turpan
with my parents

Based on media reports, the estimated number of Uyghurs detained in the camps stands around one million in April 2018 in facilities in Turpan, Hotan, Korla, Ghulja, Kashgar, Urumqi, Aksu, Karamay, Altay and across the region.

I therefore urge that all the righteous people:

1. Call on the Chinese government to release my parents and all other Uyghurs held in arbitrary detention or who have been detained without being charged

2. Through demonstrations and other means to show support to Uyghur people, pray for them.

3. Spread the information, promote awareness about Uyghurs and their tragedy.

4. Send petitions to their government to urge China to immediately cease its retrictions of freedom of expression and permit the Uyghur people to communicate with their relatives abroad, without the threat of arbitrary detention or other forms of reprisals.

https://www.change.org/p/council-of-the-european-union-release-my-parents-held-in-arbitrary-detention-in-nazi-style-concentration-center

https://www.change.org/p/council-of-the-european-union-eu-must-demand-that-china-release-1-million-uyghurs-detained-in-re-education-camps?recruiter=86028799&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=autopublish

China’s Campaign Against Uighur Diaspora Ramps Up

Uyghurs Democracy Thoughts

by M.H Uyghur

21.4.2018 Hyvinkää, Finland 

Really glad and excited to see my fellow Uyghurs start to debating about democracy. Debate is positive communication, it make people think, making thoughts: Great thought can be possibly the medication, that Uyghur need to take, so it will heal the pains.

Democracy comes from the Greek word “demos”, which means “people”, and “kratos” means “rules or power”, so democracy basically means “power of people”. It first started as a direct democracy in City States of Ancient Greece, about 2,500 years ago, in the city of Athens, people were directly tell their opinions and concerns to their rulers. In the Sparta, people were voted for rulers. But, slaves, minorities and others, were not granted citizenship, they were not have the same rights.

Magna_Carta_(British_Library_Cotton_MS_Augustus_II.106)
One of four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta. This copy is one of two held at the British Library. It came from the collection of Sir Robert Cotton, who died in 1631. In 1731, a fire at Ashburnam House in Westminster, where his library was then housed, destroyed or damaged many of the rare manuscripts, which is why this copy is burnt.

On 15 June 1215, king John of England signed the “Magna Carta Libertatum” (Medieval Latin for “the great charter of the liberties”), this was the milestone of new democracy. According to charter, everyone have to obey the law, including the king. Modern democracy mainly indirect democracy, which means people vote for their representatives, who will rule or decide the nations law and rules. Modern democracy divide power into three different branches; the legislative, executive and judiciary. This three working independently and keeps balances of the power.

Community is the combination of relationships between people, law, legislation and morality is tools, which serves for running the community. Question about nationhood comes to my mind, what is it makes nation a country? Nationhood is the state of being an independent nation, large group of people, who belongs to mono or multi ethnicity, united and ruling a specific territory. It is not the geographical term, it is the authority and rules. By this meaning, nationhood requires ruling.

Our ancestors, were the nomadic tribes in Orkhon rivers, has voted their chief from the men, who has special ability to help, lead and protect their people. The chief don’t rule by his or her own, he or she gathers the elders of the community, in together they made decisions, which called Kurultay in Uyghur. This was the classic model of indirect democracy, it has continued among Uyghurs, before they have kings. The Uyghur kings rule the nation with similar models, until religious leader Apak Hoja in 19th century, invited the Qing (Chinese Empire) army, in order to help him to take over the Uyghur King. Since then, Uyghurs keep struggling for their nationhood, beginning of 20th century, twice they declared East Turkestan republic. The rulers of the republics was from multiethnic groups, e.g. president of the 2nd republic was ethnic Uzbek, Prime minister was Uyghur, Minister of Finance was Uyghur, two Vice-Ministers of Defense was ethnic Kazakh and Kyrgyz. The republics didn’t use the democratic structure or government system. But in the beginning of the rebellion, many leaders actually established their authority from Mashrep, is Kurultay like gathering, mainly entertainment purpose.

Ehmetjan_Qasimi
Prime Minister of 2nd Republic Ehmetjan_Qasimi

Late grandfather used to doing things orderly, no matter what he does, he must arrange the necessary tools in advance. Once he bought some coals for winter, I was old enough to help, he taught me how to work orderly, we’ve moved the coals for storage, orderly and according to size. Because of the grandfathers management, it was so easy to find the right size and amount of coal from the store. I noticed our neighbors, I remember they coughed when they are taking coals, because of the dust came from diggings chunks. I think difference between political systems, like democracy and other, are same as digging coal from my grandfather’s store or neighbors. Life continues both in North Korea, or Saudi or in Europe, difference are safety, freedom and happiness that people enjoying. In one system people are slaves or leaders, in the other are voter of rulers.

Many Uyghurs doesn’t understand democracy, it is understandable, because they had never lived in democracy. This makes me remember my blind friend in Turpan, he is a singer and comedian. Once he asked me what is blue, I know he was kidding, he was born blind, so he had never seen the sky. Those people who against and condemn democracy, are infected the “ideology flue”, which created by specific ruler in specific countries, they put the “religion mask” on their “ideology”, in fact it has nothing to do with religion, it serve for those rulers keep in power.

kurultay or toy
Kurultay (Toy)

Really glad to see Uyghurs start to debating, change will not happen in a second, but I believe this will make them think, thinking is factory of thought. It is not difficult to see, Uyghurs want independence, they want to established their own nation. Maybe this desire will baptize them with fire of war; beside almighty God, nobody knows the outcome, maybe they will smelted into steel or burned to ash. Everything is on God’s hand, Lord almight knows the best and His wills will done. I pray the best for my kin, personally hope my people will root back to their ancestors, rule themselves in justice with the Kurultay.

Religion and political ideology

By M.H Uyghur

19.4.2018 Hyvinkää, Finland

 

img_0529I have read in different languages about “religion” in Wikipedia, after I read some comments about religious beliefs under someone’s post, which written in Uyghur. The English term “religion” is originated the Latin word “religare”, means “to bind”, from this extend new word “religio”, which in Latin mean “obligation, bond, reverence”, from this came the word “religion”, in Middle English it gives idea of “life under monastic vows”. Both in Turkish and Uyghur the word “din” (also anglicized as “Deen”), which is an Arabic word, has meanings such as “way, judgment, reward”. Also in other turkic languages like Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Karakalpak, Uzbek, Azarbaycan and in Türkman the word “din “ indicates the term “religion”, there wikipedia pages exist about “religion” in those languages, they provides neutral information about the term, among the parallel pages about “religion”, the page in Uyghur indicates the page for “Islam”. After I discover this phenomenon, it made me speechless.

Uyghurs have believed in different religions in their history. The religions they have believe are Totemism , Shamanism, Manism, Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity and Islam. Whatever religion they once believed, they absorbed the classics that were good for their development. In the course of their national development, they have created many noble cultural heritages. From ancient GökTürks to the last two republics, they have established more than a dozen countries, e.g. Gaochang, Kuchu, Karakhanit, Udin/Yutian, Chagataet, Yarkent, Saydit. The nation that once ruled its own country, has now become a minority, waiting to be assimilated in their ancestral homeland, is an autonomous region that has no practical “autonomy” .

It is regrettable to see is, that this nation is struggling for independence, does not seem to have any political idea, that suits for them. Some of them seem to fill this gap with some so-call religious philosophy and slightly racist nationalism. This poor nation, seems to have no immunity to various “philosophical diseases”, therefore, some of short-sighted people were infected. It is not difficult to see, that those so-called “religious philosophies” , are in fact designed for the political interests of specific groups of people in specific regions. Those thoughts have never served Uyghurs, and those “infected people” have voluntarily renounced their unique Uyghur cultural features. Only God knows what kind of future this will bring to Uyghurs. I don’t want to judge people, because of their religious beliefs or political ideas. Only God can give fair judgment, time will show the consequences to the people of the future.

uyghur-food
Uyghur cuisine

Debate is like sitting down on a dining table full of different cuisines to enjoying. Debate and communication advance friendship, increase knowledge and deepen love between people. In these dark days, through free debate and communication, it is possible for Uyghurs to sum up political ideology or philosophy that are truly beneficial to them. Just like the torches in the dark, it will shine their bright future. However, because of different religious or political beliefs do personal attacks and verbal abuse each other is equivalent to smearing at the dining table. This poor nation shivering in the horror of darkness, unnecessary internal conflicts will turns this nation into fossil of the history.

Ideology rainbow and storm

by M.H Uyghur

15.4.2018 Hyvinkää, Finland

After I published few post in Uyghur, many Uyghurs start to request to become my FaceBook friend. Ethnic Uyghur friends increase rapidly on my friend-list. It satisfy my hunger to Uyghur belonging in my diaspora, in the same time, I was worried. Unknown and unpredictable future was reason for it. Some people who have been victimized for years under an unreasonable system, fearing persecution after personal information is exposed, so they are active online anonymously, these anonymous people are a large proportion of those who add me as friend. I am not criticizing them here but just want to share some of my ideas.

I have a feeling of being surrounded by medieval ninjas, Ninjas can be said to be ancient special forces. They appear quickly and disappear like lightning. No one knows where they come from and where they are going. Among the many benefits from Ninjas, there are hidden crises. Some of them are tempted by wealth and have no loyalty or conscience. Just as mercenaries one can use money to order them for any purpose, I think this is the biggest difference between ninja and samurai. Ninja in Japanese kanji literally means “man remain patience” and samurai means “worrier “.

It is shocking to see in some comments some people launched personal attacks against each other because of different opinions. On these mourning days, my heart is as fragile as the tender grass under the snow, I can no longer face the snowstorm. These was the source of my worries.

When I was a child, I visited the field many times with my grandfather. My grandfather used to be an engineer and he traveled all year long to find water resources and waterway design. Once we climbed into the middle of the mountain, it started to rain heavily. Grandpa took me under armpit, said to me: “Great, soon you can enjoy the rainbow.” This time my attention shifted from the storm to rainbow that soon will be emerge on the blue sky. Different opinions or ideologies can become storms, or becomes different colors of the peaceful rainbow, to decorate the beauty of the motherland. She has witnessed many storms and rainbows, she will keep witnessing. Every nation, including Uyghur just like the earth which witnessed storms and rainbows has witnessed different opinion and ideologies, they all are temporary, only the winners will stand still on the future. Ideology can be written onto the books, but books can not be victims or winners , those people who were brainwashed and slaved to ideologies can be victims or winners of the history. Learn to respect each and every person despite their opinions or ideology. I pray to Lord almighty protect my Uyghur nation from ill ideologies, hope this ancient nation will stay still on the future with all other peace loving winners.

What is love

By M.H. Uyghur

9.4.2018 Hyvinkää, Finland

uyghur old couple
Elderly Uyghur couple

There are 30 various definition of “love” in urban dictionary, some I agree some I don’t. I want to share my version of the definition. I am happily married for 8 years this year, I met my wife for the first time online, while she was studying international business in Poland. She was my best friends internet friend, he introduce her to me and we start to chat on internet. At first, I thought she was same as other vulgar and shallow girls, so I didn’t take it very seriously. She looks very good, can say she is very beautiful, charming and hot. I admit her beautiful face makes me think she is shallow, because in my old opinion nowadays more girls beautiful more she is shallow and arrogant. Fortunately I was wrong, more we talk, more I understand her, more I understand her, more I get passion toward her. Her appearance attracts me physically, but her spirit gradually make me love her. We got married soon after she came to Finland and we start our marriage life. We have got through difficulties and depressions together one after another. She was the beautiful lady whom I love, now she is not amature lady, she is the queen of my family, emotional and spiritual supporter of me and our beautiful daughters.

laghman
Uyghur Laghman

We started our family from a 30 square metres (323 square feet) apartment, it was small, but we have lots of sweet memories there, we lived there until we bought our first flat. We both was not good at cooking, but we eager to learn. Once we try to cook laghman, the Uyghur style noodle, we had never made it by ourself. We didn’t know what kind of flour to use for dough, in accident we used the flours which contains yeast, then the noodle we prepared became French loaf, not baked but boiled, ha-ha. The other time we try to make Uyghur style bread, we mixed the flour with egg, milk and butter, we didn’t know the dough will swell many times bigger after fermentation, accidentally we made enough bread for us to eat for over a month. The bit by bit details in life have brought us more closer together, year after year we share more and more common memories, I think those common memories are the milestones of our love, those are the monument of our emotional ans spiritual structures. Sometimes we have quarrelled, annoyed and weary of each other, but all those are flavour that gives taste to our common memories, because of those we understand each other better and learn to respect.

french loaf
French Loaf

The word “love” in Uyghur turkish say “yaxshi körmek, söymek, muhabbet and ashq” , literally they all have different meaning, but all refer to “love”. “Yaxshi” means good, körmek means “see”, so “yaxshi körmek” literally means see someone is good. “Söymek” means rejoice, adore. Muhabbet is adepted from arabic, means charity, affection. “ashq” is old turkic word, it means passion, amour, gallentry and adoration. If you want to say “I love you” there are many ways to say the word in Uyghur, most common way is “sizni yaxshi körimen” , literally it means “ I see you good”; or “Men sizni söyimen” means “I rejoice/ adore you”; or “men sizge ashq” means “ I have passion toward you”. Unfortunately those expressions are not enough to describe “love”. I speak five different language, I admit my language skills are not enough to interpret and give

uyghur beauty 4
Uyghur girl

definition. If you need to express your feeling to someone, never try to use something can not represent your feeling, most importantly, be brave, sincere and be yourself. You don’t need great speech to tell someone about your feeling. Look at her/his eyes, let him/her feel you. Give him/her a chance, so you earn a chance to yourself; by looking someone’s outside will never awaken your deep feeling, lust and physical hunger is not love, it is temporary desire or temptation. Uyghur people say “Köymekten könmek yaman”, which mean is “knowing is the best passion”.

Love is something gifted to humanity from somewhere above. If love is about relationships, we are like a prey wondering in the forest without knowing when will be hunted. It is a beautiful and scary thing to be hunted, you never know who is your hunter. Love is not about owning, it is more about giving and caring. Wish you all have passionate and loyal love.

What is homeland

by M.H. Uyghur

6.4.2018 Hyvinkää Finland

Tarim-River-Park
Cottonwood forest, Tarim river

I suddenly realize that I do not understand the word “homeland” with it is real meaning, I know I can check dictionary, but dictionary gives you a standardized explanation of political interpretation. What I want to know is the unfiltered opinion of the people with flesh and bones. So I asked the other people around me how to understand the word and their answers are varied. According to different answers, it is possible to classify it as follows:

1. Homeland is the land you were born

2. Homeland is the land you grow up and live

3. Homeland is the land were where your ethnic origin

4. Homeland is the country were you choice to live

5. Homeland is the country where you fit in

6. Homeland is the country where issues your passport

urumqi-xinjiang
Urumqi

Then I checked the dictionary, it talks about “native land” kind of explanations, both the people and the dictionary talk about the concept of the place which belongs to people with particular ethnic or national identity. I asked my Jews and Palestinian friends, they both think they are indigenous people of the land and they both think they have right to establish their sovereign state. Then I asked from my Gypsy Finnish friend, he think Finland can be his homeland, according to him they live in here for more than three hundred years, but India is the place where their ancestors originated. Then I asked the question from Rohingya friend by internet, he gave me the answer that his village is his homeland.

4cb0d91718757edc20fffabf91dfc283--happy-people-folklore
Uyghur girl and boy with traditional clothing

Then I ask myself again the question, I start to confuse. I believe I am ethnic Uyghur. Xinjiang is the ethnic autonomous region of the Uyghur people. I know most Uyghur people prefer the name Uyghuria or Uyghuristan or East Turkistan as the name of the Uyghur region. I think how to call it goes to political terminology, I don’t want to involve with political debate or conflict, so lets call it “Uyghur region” for staying as neutral. So, by the diffenition and understanding, the Uyghur region is suppose to be my homeland. But during my last visit to the region I didn’t feel the land home to me. You may ask me why? It is so sad to see people continue their daily life under strict surveillance, the Uyghur language is banned from schools, a middle school student told me that he was punished for speaking Uyghur in school yard. From Turpan to Urumqi is about 100km (about 62 miles) and this road takes me 2 hours because of the checkpoints. I was being interrogated many times because my family name is Uyghur and I am holding Finnish passport. I was stopped many times on the street for being checked by patrolling polices. I encountered discrimination based on my ethnicity almost every day during my visit to the region. From many different people I heard many sad tragedies about disappearance of their sons, daughters, husband and wife. Expressing my sympathy for them, it is sad that I couldn’t do anything. Few times I was trying to get some evidence about the disappearance, unfortunately they were afraid to provide, they choice to keep their silence. Maybe they don’t trust anyone anymore, I saw hopelessness and helplessness in their eyes and I secretly crying in private. I wasn’t regret to go there, but I was really sad to witness the tragedies that Uyghurs faces every day.

chinese passport
Chinese passport

A question asked by my female cousin makes me really sad, she said: “I bet it must be very difficult to issue a passport to come here.” I wasn’t really understand her, then she explained to me that she think everywhere in the world is equally difficult to have a passport. Because for the Uyghur people living in Uyghur region holding a personal passport is equal to luxury. It costs hundreds of dollars and tight relationship with passport issuing related personals. I explained her that passport is nothing else than an identity document, everybody have right to have one if he or she is the legal citizen of particular country. But in real meaning, they are stateless minority in their ancestral homeland.

The city I was born has changed a lot, only thing in that city I feel familiar with was my grandfathers tomb, almost totally demolished old town market and those harmless people who gave me innocent smiles. I feel strongly related to them, but their tragedy makes me feel ashamed to being do not do anything. Least I can do maybe witnessing by telling what is happening to them.

Apricot-Blossoms
Yurt in the Altay Mountain

I understand homeland wrong, it is not necessary the place where you live happily. Maybe you are being discriminated, oppressed and rejected in your homeland. But it is not homeland’s fault, you can’t blame the homeland about things happening on it, blaming homeland for what is happening there is like blaming a virgin who is victim of rape. Homeland can be ones heaven or hell, it dependence how much you can sacrifice for building it to become heaven. Loving, carrying, justice and equality is the golden bricks for the beautiful homeland building. I have two homeland, I am Finnish and I love my country. Finland is the place where is my home and my lovely family, it is my beloved homeland where I choice to live. And it is true whether I like it or not, whether I feel belonging or not, the place where my grandparents tombs placed are the location I call my homeland. Finland is the homeland that I happily rise my family, the Uyghur region is the homeland that I was born and I may never be able to live happily and safely over there. It doesn’t matter, it is still my homeland and I love it and proud of it. Hope someday soon we have chance to build it with golden bricks.