by M.H. Uyghur
3.4.2018 Hyvinkää, Finland
Learn to swim wasn’t easy for me, I think I was about 6 or 7 years old for the first time I had the confidence to get in the water and walk around the shallow end. My grandfather was a good swimmer, swimming was his favorite exercise. Grandfather taught me how to swim, he hugs me and slowly went to the deeper water, and let me feel it before he releases me into the water. I remember clearly his word: “don’t worry, water doesn’t hurt you but your fear will. Be confident, feel the water and you will learn how to deal with it…” Of course, I didn’t learn to swim immediately, from that day on I don’t fear water anymore and I did a lot of practice before I can swim.
No matter how confident a person is, I believe everyone experience fear. Fear is always a reason to let one stop from moving forward. I had experienced fear many times in my life, my strongest fear is losing; losing of my family is the strongest fear, unfortunately, it is happening right now. Last winter I have lost my grandmother, I wasn’t able to attend her funeral because Chinese authorities “recommend” I do not go to China’s Uyghur region. My parents as well weren’t able to attend her funeral because they were not “allowed” to “take a break” from “re-education camp” that they are lacked in. Suddenly I feel strong fear, I even had an anxiety attack a few times in a few days right after the incident. Then I remember grandfathers word, figure out what am I scaring of, then acknowledge that I am creating my own fear by myself by teaching myself how to be afraid of the future, the thing that does not happen yet. Many Chinese people, as well as Uyghur people, knows that Chinese authority can make you “regret” if you do something they think is not “proper”. I am afraid I will not able to visit China if I am blacklisted. I find out I am sharing the same fear with other Uyghur people, in the worst scenario the local authorities may punish my parents and other relatives for my “behavior”. This fear is the main reason why so many Uyghur keep silence to their tragedies. I hesitated for a long time, I picture the future event that authority punish my parents and I lost them forever, but the reality is I lost contact with them so far and I don’t know rather they are alive or …
I start to think is this fear real or is it self-protection pattern that helps me go through all this. Consciously I know I am experiencing fear, I hesitated to speak out, scared to face the problem. Most Uyghur people I know who lives abroad have taught me how to be afraid of the future punishment from Chinese authorities and about my ability to meet it. None of them want to talk about the elephant in the room. They seem to want me to admit silence is the best choice for self-protection. Evasion and withdrawal can’t solve the problem that is happening, it doesn’t help me overcome my fear, it lit flames of blind hatred in my heart, that is the very last thing I want. Then I remember my grandfather’s word once again, it is not the situation or affirmative future, but the silence makes the situation worse. We should overcome over fear, we can not deceive ourselves to avoid reality.
I see government propaganda makes Chinese people think that Uyghurs deserve to be suppressed and killed. Different ethnic origin, speaking of different language, having different skin color doesn’t give anyone superiority to persecute and oppress the other. I hope the people who are working for authorities to execute the wrong politics to persecute innocent people like my parents will understand the people under their oppression are parents of someone, children of someone and lovers of someone. They are human beings just like themselves. They love, they care, they feel and they think.
I hope my parents are still alive, I hope I can meet them in the near future. As their son, be their voice is the least I can do, by doing it I start to overcome my fear. Thank you, grandpa!