Why Uyghurs always try to avoid politics

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by M.H Uyghur

I don’t know since when my life was linked to politics, maybe the correct way to say is since when I was manipulated by politics. My late grandfather was a hydraulic engineer, he chooses his carrier because his father, my great grandfather didn’t want him to get involved with politics. The reason why my family always try to avoid politics is that the painful history.

me with grandparents
With my late grandparents

My great grandfathers’ father Qadir was a carpenter in a village called Qaraghoja, located in Turpan, a historic town of Uyghurs, was a capital city of Idiqut (Gaochang) kingdom. Qaraghoja is located right next to Astana, a historic location where the palace of the king of Idiqut Uyghur kingdom. By telling this historic background, I don’t mean to say that I am descendant of the royal family, I think I definitely have nothing to do with that bloodline. My forefather Qadir has joined the rebellion of Uyghurs, led by Hojaniyaz, a former officer of Shah Mahsut’s army, the Shah was the last knight of the Qumul (Hami) kingdom. Hojaniyaz has rebelled the Shah, after losing in a fight in Qumul, came to the Astana, the village neighboring to Qaraghoja. He has summoned people to join his army, my forefather Qadir volunteered.

Hoja niyaz haji
General Hojaniyaz (President of  1st East Turkestan Republic)

Hojaniyaz has allied with Muhiti family, one of the richest family of the time, then they went down to the south, where the Uyghurs are the absolute majority. I don’t know how far Qadir was made to go, then he has injured, settled in Toqsun (Tuokesun) for rehabilitation. At that time the first East Turkestan republic was announced by Sabit Damolla, Hojaniyaz was designated as president of the republic. But he has signed the peace agreement with Chinese militarist Yangzenxing, he was ruling the Xinjiang region. Yangzenxing has designated Hojaniyaz as deputy governor, he has accepted and went to Dihua (old name of Urumqi in Chinese), the regional/provincial capital, then Yangzenxing openly executed him, and his followers were dismissed, many of them went to hide in different places because of the fear for retaliation, my forefather Qadir was among them. All those things have happened during 1930. Don’t know how long Qadir was hiding in Toqsun, later he has returned to his hometown.

My great grandfather Hemdul was a butcher, he was enjoying his peaceful life when Soviet founded second East Turkestan rebellion has started in Ili area. I guess he has listened to too many stories of Uyghur rebellion movement from his father Qadir, then he decided to join the East Turkestan national army, left his newly married wife, went to join the army. After years of struggling and sacrificing of thousands of martyrs, the leaders of the republic died in a mysterious plane crash, Sayfisin/Saifuding took over the government and signed the agreement with the communist party of China, was winning the civil war with the nationalist government. September of 1949, general Wangzhen led the Peoples liberation army has invaded/came in East Turkestan/ Xinjiang.

Hemdul went to settled in Toqsun after being dismissed from the Minzu army, former East Turkestan national army. My grandfather Ghupur says he was about 16 years old when it has happened, he was trained as a hydraulic engineer by soviet engineers, then he started the work as Mirab (cadre responsible for distributing water), then became secretary of the hydro and electric bureau of the district, then became the head of the office. Despite great grandfather Hemdul doesn’t want his son join the politics, grandfather somewhat became a political figure. Then cultural revolution started 1966, grandfather being sent to a labor camp, great grandfather Hemdul passed away after received government-organized “vaccination”.

My father was working as a government worker, he has retired and was enjoying his retirement with my mother. There were two choices before me after I finished high school, one was going to study literature, the other was medicine. He encouraged me to study medicine, I thought I was going to break the curse, live life doesn’t involve with politics, government work or community service. Unfortunately, fate hunted me down after concentration camps started. I became an activist for free my parents from China’s concentration camp for Uyghurs.

I still define myself as a human rights activist, I don’t hide, as an Uyghur, I wish my nation will be free again, I wish Uyghur emancipation, for me this desire could be the threshold between politician and human rights activist. So far, I have focused on the human rights situation of Uyghurs, and campaigning for the closure of concentration camps. Realistically speaking, my family story is a reflection of Uyghur nation’s history of the last hundred years. We were people who wanted to enjoy their way of life, and for protecting that freedom, we were fighting for political independence. Since the communist regime started, our fate changed fatally, the oppression and systematic assimilation have gone too far, it has pushed us nowhere to hide. My family always wanted to live away from politics, we would be satisfied if we could have a regular life, without racial profiling, without discrimination, most importantly, without concentration camps. I don’t believe my parents have any political ambitions, they are just regular people, never dreamed that big. And they taught me in the same way, I was living a peaceful life with my beautiful wife and children, have never planned to become an activist.

As the only son of my parents, I was keeping distance with other Uyghurs, avoid to become a target for the Chinese authority. I was planning to raise my family in Finland, wish to be able to go back to my parents regularly and wish to take care of them when they get old. As the only, it is my responsibility to take care of them. But now, after I have done so many activities for freeing them from the concentration camps, and continue my activism even after they have been released. I think I am already in the watch list of China, maybe I will never be able to go to see my parents and take care of them, this is the pain in my heart, the thing always makes me sleepless.

But, I don’t regret, I know what I am doing is right. Millions of people are being sent to the concentration camps, even after I know all these things if I still keep in silence is unethical. I can’t ignore it, I can’t live with that. If not, I would blame myself for my entire life. This is not what my family history teaches me, also I am an Uyghur, those detainees of the concentration camps are my kinsmen. Even if I am not an Uyghur, I can’t stand by, I should fight against this atrocity, injustice, shameful crime against humanity. It is not political, it is more about being a human.

8-ET-Revolutionary-Party
East Turkestan revolutionary army 1933

 

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Don’t let Uyghurs become a lonely island

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By M.H Uyghur

Today there are two news make Uyghur again upset about United Nations, the first one is cancelation of a speech of an Uyghur human rights activist Kuzzat Altay, the second thing is an event called ” The Fight against Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang”, organized by Chinese delegation and a fake human rights organizations based in Beijing, most likely an organization funded by the communist government of China for their propaganda. Mr. Dolqun Isa, the president of the World Uyghur Congress had live-streamed about the event before in Geneva, UN headquarter. A year ago, in the same place, I have attended presession of a meeting about reviewing China’s human rights. (UPR-China)

Despite the wide media coverage of the currently ongoing tragic situation of the Uyghurs, nothing seems to happen to stop this atrocity, while millions of people being sent to concentration camps, it is well over two and half year this has started, we didn’t see actions to stop it. Beside US senate has passed the Uyghur Human Rights  Policy Act, and the letter there were 22 countries have signed, we didn’t see any other meaningful campaign or actions done by anyone, except concern scholar arranged different events and the media coverage of the tragedy. Isn’t it yet known or not important? Do people still think it is CIA game? Even after the confirmation videos and testimonies Mr. Olsi, an Albanian journalist and historian who has been criticizing hypocrisy of the west and was in favor of China, who has been invited by the Chinese communist government and visited the camps himself, then changed his mind after he seen the unbelievable inhuman policy Uyghurs has been subjected to? This is not a CIA game or Mussad planed drama, it is one of the worse human rights crises currently ongoing.

Many Muslims think Uyghur activist like me and others are funded and supported by western governments, that is not the fact. My organization (UyghurAid) has started after I started campaigning for my parents, who were among those millions of Uyghurs. yet our application for fundraising rights have rejected by Finnish authorities last year, we are still working on the application process for this year. And our application for funding from NED has rejected as well, despite our tireless work for campaigning to create awareness of the current situation of Uyghurs. Yet we haven’t given up, because those people in East Turkestan, or whatever you call Xinjiang or something else, are our kin, our parents, siblings, our family. Many Uyghurs are still kept in silence, because of the fear for retaliation of the Chinese government, we are facing threats, rejections, laughing and discriminations. We are fighting for the values, which we believe is the fundamental principles of the cornerstones of free countries, the nations ruled by law and democracy, their citizens are enjoying their life in free, fair, just and respected societies with their human dignities. Uyghurs are not less than any other people on this planet, let’s don’t talk about history or civilizations, as being a human being, we have right to have access to basic human rights, respect, and dignity.

I gave speeches in many different places, many have suggested me Uyghurs need to fight for their rights on their own, I want to ask how? Before us the government who has largest army, second richest economy, biggest population and check the record of worse human rights abuses, it is arrogant and never gave a chance for us to communicate with them. It is impossible to arrange demonstrations within our ancestral homeland, the legal autonomic region of our own, but have no autonomy at all. Even most secular voices of Uyghurs are silences, like Ilham Tohti, Uyghur economist was teaching in Minzu University in Beijing, have sentenced for life for speaking out for Uyghurs rights, which promised in the Chinese constitution. Prof. Tiyip, former president of Xinjiang university has sentenced for death, Dr. Ghupur, former head of the Xinjiang Medical University as well sentenced for death. Our people living in a region, if a girl or her family say no to a man, who is from Han Chinese origin, would send to concentration camps or even prison. They live in a place where even kitchen knives have printed serial numbers unique to the owner. Our family is living in a place where one could end up in concentration camps if one has spoken out he or she is not pleasant of the Chinese “relative” who is settled in his or her home to live with his or her family to monitoring their process of sinicization. What do you suggest to us, people like me and other Uyghur human rights activists? Fight by our own is not a solution, yet we are talking about a country is pursuing to become the world leader. The Chinese economy is very important for the world economy, we all agree with this discourse, actually, that is the point what makes Uyghur plight more significant and important for all. This may sound scary, but it is the fact that if oppression goes beyond the line, once there are any chance, oppressed people, or at least some people among them could come up with very different, or even scary ideas or some undesirable ideologies could really become popular among them. We are talking about people with a population between 11 million to 25 million, which number you get, it depends whom you ask. That is the last thing we want to see, that is one of the main reason why we are campaigning for gaining real attention from the world. But, is the UN right place for us to struggle for our goals? What the UN could do for us? These are the questions Mr. Kuzzat has come with on his video.

We don’t lose our hope, we can’t lose the only powerful weapon we have, the hope, the one and only thing makes us going. And you, dear righteous person, we need you to get involved with Uyghur cause, we not only need support, but we need comrades, partners, and friends who can fight with us, for sake of making our world better place to live, let our out springs still can live with their liberty and human dignity in the future.  Don’t let boundaries of religion, race, and nationality become border for our humanity, please don’t let Uyghurs become a lonely island on their fight for their existence, freedom, human rights, and human dignity. United we are stronger, that was what UN for, that is what we learned after ww2, that is why all nations gathered under one blue flag, it supposed to be given hope for suppressed people like Uyghur, wish it will play it is role and function properly. Remember, Uyghurs need you!

Uyghur waits for good Samaritans

by M.H Uyghur

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Here is a speech I gave recently in a Lutheran church of a neighboring country.

Thank you for your generosity and for giving me the opportunity to speak for the Uyghurs, a people indigenous to central Asia and mostly Muslim.

daniel
Prophet Daniel

I start my speech by quoting the book of Daniel 10:12 <Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. > amen.

As a God-fearing person, I have always maintained a special intimate relationship with my creator. It gives me inner peace and strength to keep struggling for my family and my people- the Uyghurs. The Uyghurs are

C-B4kCbXcAIrmuY
Uyghurs dressed up traditional clothes

one of the most oppressed peoples and have been through many challenges, including discrimination, isolation, concentration camps, and a modern-day cultural genocide. Since 2017, the communist government in China have started a new initiative, sending millions of people into concentrations camps, erasing Uyghur culture, a beautiful culture formed through a long history influenced by East and West, Shamanism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

One of the core values of Uyghur culture is not foreign to Christians, as it is about forgiveness, harmony, caring, being merciful to others and family. A tremendous amount of suffering comes from the inhuman policy of the Chinese communist party, which created and increased hate between two groups, the Chinese Han majority, and the Uyghurs. Hate comes from the evil, which the Good One alerted us about. We learned to fight back, as God teaches us to love each other.

genocide
Concentration Camps

When my parents were in concentration camps, I, of course, questioned my Creator for not immediately answering my prayers. I had more trust in myself but did not give the authority to my Lord.  I tried to save them by my actions, so I used out of all my strength, energy and plans. I was desperate, frustrated and depressed. Then, one day, I humbled myself before my God and gave Him all the authority to guide me.

Psychological, mental and even spiritual sufferings are the results of the current situation. It has eaten my inner peace, I was burned out, suffered from anxiety, anger and at the end hate started to spread seeds in my heart. That was the very last thing I wanted, it could have burned down my entire life. That was the point when I started to be scared, to feel lonely and empty. I started to suspect everyone, felt powerless and hopeless. The only way I could overcome all of these was to place my faith in God, who definitely loves me and would never leave me alone.

good samaritan
Good Samaritan

My parents have been released; it is a relief for me. But there are millions of innocent people who are still suffering in concentration camps. They are forced to denounce their faith, the only thing that keeps them spiritually alive, just like young Daniel and his fellow friends, who were forced to worship pagan gods, which they denied, and as a punishment, they were thrown into a flaming fire. The Uyghur nation is going to undergo a similar fate, and they need help, yes, Uyghurs are a Muslim nation, and they need good Samaritans to show them love and support. I am so blessed by God almighty to have chosen me to be their voice before you. I am not asking you to involve in political affairs, I just want you to spread this information to people around you, organize prayers and rally for Uyghur people, to send letters to the Chinese embassy in your country, to express your concerns and tell them to stop the oppression.

Thank you again for this opportunity, God loves you all, may Him bless you and your community.

Good-Samaritan-2

911: the saddest day for the righteous

by H Uyghur

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Today is sad Memorial Day of one of this century’s sadist tragedy, this is not sad memory of only American people, but also a shocking memory of many of us in this planet, who standing common values of human rights, equality and most importantly, people who promote peace and love. I, as a human rights activist of Uyghur descent, a people who have greatly impacted by this great tragedy, once again express my deepest condolences to victims, their family, and American people. Goher, an Uyghur female was among the victims who were working in twins tower, who has lost her precious life, who has the same name with my mother, my mother Goher’han Tömur is a survivor of China’s concentration camps.

genocideUyghur people are indigenous to central Asia, who has long glorious history, historic Uyghur kings has ruled nation with love, peace and harmony, which created the core of the Uyghur culture. A beautiful culture, communist China now pursuing to destroy with all means. Many Uyghur scholars are detained or prisoned, because of their effort to preserve Uyghur culture. Among them Tashpolat Tayip, principal of Xinjiang University, recently I have heard rumors about he is going to be executed. If it is true, we should stop it is from happening.

Family, love, peace, and mercy are always been as central philosophy of Uyghur life. China has used the global campaign for counter-terrorism, demonized and jeopardized peace-loving innocent Uyghurs for its total discriminatory and assimilation policies. Since 2017 China has started to initiate so-called reeducation system, rounded up millions of innocent people into concentration camps, which caused many family tragedies. I and many other Uyghurs started campaigning for human rights, liberty, justice, and equality of people, a common value created the western democracy, a philosophy actually once made America a great country. Teaching could unite the whole of humanity in peace and harmony.

We promote democracy, human rights and liberty, which is actually the most powerful weapon against extremism and terrorism. Discrimination, unjustness, and ignorance is the source of terrorist ideologies and it created a hotbed for its spreading. We should remember what has happened, most importantly, we should prevent tragedies from happening again. Thank you

human rights

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Uyghur Emancipation

By: M.H Uyghur

 

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We should care for each other, boundaries set up by religion, race, language, nationality, and geography shouldn’t be the border for our humanity. What happens to Uyghurs could happen to Chinese, it could end up become anyone’s fate. I hope it will never happen again. Until you have become the victim it is difficult to shift your point of view to the view opponent to yours. If your sorrow makes you selfish, it is time to update your self-inspection and auto-correction. That is the threshold between hate and salvation, get over it, you are powerful.

urumqi 1
Night view of Urumqi, the capital city of Uyghur Region 

If Uyghur emancipation ends up become an Uyghurist state and will Uyghurs take their retaliation? I don’t think so. As the second republic of East Turkestan was a civilized nation-state, there were Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and others had established the government, none has marginalized. We have a good track record of respecting human rights, tolerance and peace-loving.

Without an independent Uyghur state our rights will not guaranteed, over two years our kin has suffered in concentrations camps. Not a single government or UN was done anything real to stop it. Scholar says it is ethnocide, but who can guarantee it is not genocide?

uyghur emancipation
Uyghurs dancing in front of the Heytgah 

Let’s put aside our history of an independent state, we have a track record of being self-governed as a sovereign state. China is not a multi-ethnic state as it claims, in fact, it is a continuous colonial state. However, unless the world has a functioning system to protect our rights, we do have the right to establish a state to protect us. Nobody should deny our right as people.

We are grateful many righteous had stood with us. Unfortunately, it is a reality that no government or organization managed to stop China from attacking us. Once we have no other state or nation could protect our right, as people, we have undeniable right to establish our own government and establish a new system in our homeland, benefit everyone who lives in there. And I believe it is our God-given right.

My activism

by H.M Uyghur

My name is Halmurat Uyghur, people also call me Murat Harri Uyghur. I am an ethnic Uyghur and a human rights activist now living in Finland. I am also the director of Uyghur Aid, a non-profit organization we established in the summer of 2018.

Over the past couple of years, China has tightened its grip on the Uyghur population. According to the UN 1 million people, The US State Department 2 million and according to Amnesty International 3 million people have been sent to so-called “re-education camps”, for the most trivial of crimes such as having the contact information of people living abroad – or for having a beard, and other things.

Officially, China says it is fighting against terrorism but in reality, it is one of the biggest ongoing ethnic persecutions in the world.

After my mother went missing in 2017 and my father in 2018, I started to campaign against their unlawful detention. I wanted to put pressure on the Chinese authorities to release them. By doing so, I was also hoping to encourage other Uyghurs, who have remained silent, to do the same.

Many feared China’s retaliation. I wanted to up speak up against China’s state brutality and arbitrary mass detention of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. My own parents being detained, I had nothing to lose.

I decided to use social media to my advantage. In the spring of 2018, I posted a public video on Facebook, in which I shaved off my hair, in order to demonstrate against the detention of my parents and demanded their immediate release. The video went viral among the Uyghur community in exile. Later I uploaded many other videos in which I was encouraging other Uyghurs to stand up against China’s unjust and cruel treatment of their relatives in the Uyghur region (Uyghurs prefer to call their homeland as East Turkestan; however, the official term is Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region).

Eventually, other Uyghurs started to speak up for their missing relatives, they too started uploading video testimonials on their social media accounts, mostly on Facebook. Individuals and groups like “Ghulja Meshrep” have been able to persuade people, who have their relatives in China’s concentration camps, to give video testimonies for their relatives. This soon became a wave of hundreds of videos. This campaign has also provided ordinary Uyghurs with a platform to raise their own cases.

I had been hoping, that this could be a shifting point and it did help in many ways. But, somehow the whole issue became politicized and started to go to a different direction from what I had anticipated. I had hoped, that people could speak out but leave their political and religious views aside. I thought this way the testimonies could reach a wider audience. Things went differently and Uyghurs are now advocating for many different causes: Some for the freedom of their relatives, some for an independent East Turkestan and some for more religious causes.

In the summer of 2018, I embarked on a two-week Freedom tour, which in fact was a serial demonstration in major European capitals. This way I was able to connect with many other activists in Europe and later was able to join them in many other demonstrations in their countries.

In December last year, as I was visiting Turkey, my heart skipped a beat, when I received a photo of my parents on my mobile phone. In the photo, they looked fine. They had had a haircut and their clothes were new. They must have been released from the camp, I thought.

Of course, I immediately sent a message and asked if I could call. When I got in touch with them, I soon understood that they were in some sort of an office somewhere, under surveillance.

In the Uighur culture, the relationship between the parents and the child is very close and important. I hadn’t talked to my parents for two years. A normal reaction for all of us would have been to start crying and ask how we all have been doing.

However, the conversation over Skype went quite differently. At first, my mother said that I should not worry about them, that they were doing just fine. They said their time at the camp had been “a great educational opportunity that they were grateful for”. The whole conversation took place over 14 minutes.

It was made clear, that in the future I would not be able to contact my parents without arranging it in advance. Calls could only be made under the surveillance of the Chinese authorities.

I don’t want any harm to come to my parents, that’s why I have not called them again.

I asked a foreign journalist, whom I know, to secretly check that my parents really are at home. Seems like they are under house arrest, but it is also a relief to know they are not in a camp anymore.

However, I still feel China has kidnapped my family.

Was it also a coincidence, that my parents were released just a couple of weeks before our President’s visit to China in January 2019? My wife’s parents were also released at about the same time. My wife has talked to them a few times over the phone.

I have talked to a friend, who provide me information about what is going on. However, communication is always cautious, and things have to be said in between the lines, in code so to speak.

For example, when my friend says that “your grandfather came to visit us today, and was quite angry about the fact that my wife had not returned to the home,” it does not refer to the real grandfather, but rather to the “Chinese authorities”. Being sent to a camp or being arrested are referred to as ‘being ill’. By the way, my grandfather passed away years ago, and my grandmother passed away right after my father was detained. Both my parents weren’t allowed to attend the funeral, they both were in a concentration camp when she was passed away.

Last time my friend said that “the weather has been getting colder, that my parents may get sick again.”

I always have the feeling, that my next event or campaign might just go too far.

My trip to Turkey last December was unforgettable for another reason, too. In Turkey, I finally understood what my campaigning meant for other Uyghurs.

I was eating at an Uyghur restaurant in Istanbul when someone sitting at a table next to me had discreetly taken a photo of me and posted it on Facebook.

It was accompanied by something like “hey look who is here: It’s Halmurat”. Then the person came and thanked me for everything I’ve done. When we left the restaurant in an hour, a crowd of close to a hundred people had gathered outside. Many women were weeping.”

How did I feel?

Difficult, I must say. There is this feeling that I haven’t done anything, and these people were hoping for something, that I was not able to give to them. But on the other hand, I strongly feel that the Uyghur community needs encouragement and if I have been giving this platform of influence, I’ll need to do, what I can to encourage others.

After my parents’ release, I had a bit of a dilemma. Should I continue with my activism, and risk them being sent back to a camp. I soon decided, I will have to lend my voice to those, whose families are still missing.

As a matter of fact, less than two months after my parents’ release a great opportunity presented itself. After the presumed death of “Abdurehim Heyit” in February this year, and Turkey’s open condemnation of China, the CCP quickly released a video proof of Mr. Heyit being alive.

The following morning, I felt an urge to make a video clip, and challenge all my fellow Uyghurs to post a video demanding proof of the wellbeing of their parents. I named the campaign #MeTooUyghur. To my surprise, the video went viral within 24 hours.

Uyghurs from all walks of life started posting videos about their loved ones. The campaign even forced the Chinese government spokesperson to answer the question of the Associated Press journalist, about the #MeTooUyghur campaign. As you can imagine, her reply was pretty evasive. The campaign has been a major breakthrough, as the situation of the Uyghurs has since gained more publicity on mainstream media.

My current and future plans are as follows; to show the world what the Uyghur people are going through, and also working towards becoming experts in this field. Therefore, we are aiming to set-up “human-rights activism” courses, connecting and building relationships with various international organizations, that stands for basic human rights, freedom, and liberty, in order to bring in non-Uyghur activists to help join our cause.

Through this, we try to show that, the Uyghur’s plight should not just be led by the Uyghurs themselves, but all of humanity should play a role, because a country, who is on its way to becoming the ultimate superpower, its crimes against basic human rights, freedom and democracy, this super-powers current and future threats to humanity as a whole, is not only the responsibility of the Uyghur people, this will not just affect Uyghurs, on the contrary, it will affect the today and tomorrow of mankind as a whole.

After the tragedies of the 20th century, the world said and had promised: “Never Again”. Unfortunately, this horror is most likely to happen or is already happening. A Super-power that does not tolerate other civilisations or cultures, one that is destroying a civilisation, a government which is rounding up millions of innocent people into Concentration Camps, for this power to end up being the number 1 super-power in the world, will mean, that a power against the common human values, that we hold here, will come under serious threat, and could eventually disappear. The world has to keep its own promise, because today’s Uyghur tragedy, could possibly end up as the tragedy of others.

The Uyghurs, historically one of the most cultured people on Earth, with a rich history. Historically, the Uyghurs have been tolerant of other peoples, and have accepted the good parts of other cultures into their own, which today make up the Uyghur culture itself.

This beautiful culture is currently being erased, we need to save this rich civilization from being exterminated, where hundreds of our intellectuals are in the camps, and even some of them have received death sentences, for example, “Halmurat Ghupur, he is a Medical science doctor and the head of the Medical University.

The ethnic cleansing of the Uyghur people, through forced marriages of our women, our children forcefully taken from their parents, to be taken into the so-called “mother” houses, essentially orphanages, where they are taught everything and anything besides Uyghur-culture, language, lifestyle, and ideology.

For now, the best and the most realist thing we can hope for is to close the camps, to stop this oppression, for the Uyghurs to be treated in a just way, for there to be an environment where they can freely speak.

Let us not stand by, because as I mentioned before, this is not just an Uyghur issue, it is possibly an issue that the whole world will eventually have to deal with, if we do not “nip it in the bud” as they say. International organizations and activists to wholly take part in the Uyghurs plight, gives hope for this matter, to be resolved in a peaceful way.

Even though small actions we can do big things. Our small actions can cause the Chinese government to correct its incorrect policies, to see the Uyghur people as a real society and culture that deserves to be respected, we need to protect the Uyghur people and give them a chance to live with the basic human rights of freedom and liberty, that each person on the planet is either currently living, or is on the pursuit of, we should even respect the decision of the Uyghur people to become an independent state, if they so desire to do so, see this is the root to all the problems to being solved eventually.

The Uyghur people do eventually want an Independent state; however, its fruition will be and should be determined by the Uyghur people themselves, but this can only happen if the things that I have mentioned above are supported by the powers that be.

I think, that the situation of the Uyghurs should be solved peacefully, through negotiations, and I would gladly be part of these negotiations. That is why I have recently, among other things, contact with Finnish politicians and other politicians across Europe.

Social, political, economic or environmental reforms can be obtained in various ways, forms and methods.

Anyway, we have come this far, and a lot has happened during the last twelve months, and I believe many good things are lying ahead, as well as challenges. There is still much work that needs to be done.

Emptiness and reality

 

M.H Uyghur

Fairfax, Virginia, USA

4 March 2019

 

I have been working as a full-time activist since 2017 April, after my beloved mother has detained into one of the concentration camps in Turpan. A city located in the east part of the Uyghur autonomous region. My mother Guherhan Tomur, journalist, have retired from Turpan Daily News agency, a beautiful Uyghur mother. I am her only child. After her detention, I have suffered from mental and psychological challenges. In the very beginning, I have tried to do advocacy for her release, but it wasn’t going well. January 2018, as retaliation, my father Seyitniyaz Ghupur, too, detained into one of the camps in Turpan. February, grandmother has passed away, which, I believe because of her only son, my father’s arbitrarily detention. My father wasn’t able to attend her funeral, so do I and many other relatives. So far, I don’t know where and how she has been buried.

 

0DDB4917-A2B5-4DD1-A45C-2677944AF8A5Spring 2018, I have openly started my activism. Made a video of me cutting my hairs off, for demonstrating against the Chinese government’s unlawful, unbearable, unjust treatment of my parents. Which went viral, RFA has interviewed me and made a report. That was the first time I was on media with my own name. I have contacted human rights organizations, but nobody believes what I am telling, because I was one of few, who claim China have detained family members into so-called re-education camps. I think I am the first person on social media, who made this on the public. I was upset and disappointed, but have not given up. I have made a video, call upon my fellow Uyghurs to stand up for their family member, to give witness for their loved people. I may not the very first person, who have this idea. But I was definitely the most outspoken, later more people start to give witnesses on their social media, some of them became an influencer, start to encourage others.

 

I have spent a good amount of my time in 2018, for my activism and advocacy. I have run a few successful campaigns, one of them was FreedomTour, a serial demonstration, aim to create and promote awareness of my parent’s tragedy and the current situation of Uyghurs. During the campaign, I have visited 9 different European countries, have a chance to meet and listen to hundreds of sad stories from the Uyghur diaspora community. Gradually, I am tired, or depressed. I was about to burn out. Thanks to Lord almighty, my parents have been released 24th December 2018.

 

I am continuing my activism, now I have more experience and network. After I have started the MetTooUyghur movement, it got viral, within a week, I have been interviewed over thirty different media, over 120 articles and reports have published about the campaign. I was on CNN, BBC, TRT, Polish TV, i24News, Austrians TV, France 24 and DW. Now, my schedule is full until May, since January, I have traveled 6 different countries, as scheduled I will be going to another three.

 

I have to be honest to myself, I feel so tired. Ì don’t want to be arrogant, but I have to be realistic, I have offered and sacrificed enough to my people, I am about to burn out. I know there are many other Uyghur activists are doing more sacrifice, offering way more than I did. As a father of two beautiful daughters, I have to be realistic, I can no longer continue my activism with my own finance and a good amount of my time as a full-time activist. Maybe it is too selfish to make such a decision, after this summer, I really need to stop my activism. I already fall into psychological and financial problems.

 

I am really tired. Every time I see other people could spend their time with their children, I feel so sorry for my daughters, I love them so much, but I am missing their childhood. In the future, I don’t want to be regret for this. Before I am leaving to the USA, my eldest daughter has hugged me from my neck, and told me “dear father, I love you, please don’t leave”, but I have no other choice, I have left her behind, flight to the USA for a great chance to do advocacy for my people. In this very moment, I really miss her, I hope she will forgive me. I have spent almost all of our family saving for my activism, and a good amount of my time. Now, I feel so empty.

I have made up my mind, from this summer, I will going back to my family, I want to have a normal life like others have. All that I have done, I have never done only for my people, I did it because I have strong faith to my Lord, the God who created me. If I am not a believer, I would not continue my struggle so far. I hope the Lord Almighty will forgive me, I am not strong enough for this.

I am glad I have written this, express my struggle, my pain, and my depression. I know many Uyghurs have hope on me and they are expecting unrealistically. Maybe I have read them wrong, but I have done enough in my power.

I have written this in English because I don’t want most of my people to understand, and disappointed.  Many things made me very disappointed, but I don’t blame anyone, I know, I need to learn how to be realistic, so do they.

I feel so tired and empty, I am so sorry…