Posts in "Uyghur World"

Response to the Chinese Global Times & CGTN

Aziz Isa Elkun
Research affiliate, SOAS, University of London
ai18@soas.ac.uk  |  www.azizisa.org/en

After my recent interview with CNN about the destruction of my father’s tomb, Chinese Global Times and China Global Television Network specifically responded spreading fault information about the destruction of my father’s tomb by forcing my 78 years old mother to give an interview. The GT and CGTN claim that they respect Uyghur and other Muslim nationalities graveyards and burial traditions in East Turkistan (Xinjiang), but the claims made about me in the article are not correct.

They said: “Aziz Isa Elkun claimed he could not find his father’s grave, which was located in Xayar county in Aksu Prefecture, from a satellite image on Google. However, instead of checking with his family in Xinjiang, the Uygur poet opted to tell the media of his discovery.”

Let me clarify this:

My father worked for 40 years as a medical doctor for Shayar County, Toyboldi town hospital. He died on 4th November 2017. I heard about his death four days later through a friend. Soon before the end of 2017, all my telephone communication with my mother was cut off. I had no news about my mother and other relatives from our village for more than two years, when I learned from friends living outside the region that my mother was alive and that my sister had been detained in an interment camp for more than a year and a half. I still have no news of my other relatives. Thanks to this Global Times TV Network report I have now heard my mother’s voice for the first time since February 2017.

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Aziz’s name

Yangisar Yadykar

Aziz is now thirty years old, my old friend, I keep thinking about the story he once told me, the story of how he got his name.  “My grandmother was not yet thirty when she and my grandfather firmly decided that to continue to stay in Urumchi for them was a tantamount to death and the only solution for them was to move to the Soviet Union. At that time they already had three children, two five-year-old daughters, twins -my aunts- and a thirteen-year-old son, my uncle, Aziz.


Grandfather was part of the national army. In the Union he had some connections, in Kazan and Alma-Ata. In Kazan he had friends from the Polytechnic Institute, and some of his relatives were in Alma-Ata. As a child I remember always inquiring my grandma of how she got here, she would always look somewhere to the distance and say that she sailed to Almaty on a steamboat, that would always surprised me and I did not believe. How do you come to a landlocked Alma-Ata on a steamboat? But then it turned out that there was a real shipping link across the Ili River.


The East Turkestan Republic was nearly abolished, but the bursts of fighting were still ongoing. Waiting for the necessary documents, grandmother with her children was in one of the villages near Ghulja. The river port was nearby. One of the summer days, the package arrived with documents and a letter from grandfather, where he said that they should immediately be floated on the first ferry without waiting for him. So they did. Only women and children were on the ferry, even the captain was a young girl in her early twenties. Of the male, the oldest were Aziz and a few other twelve and thirteen year olds.

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Before – ئالدىدا

Nimshehit
نىمشېھىت  Nimshehit
Translated by Aziz Isa Elkun


ۋەسلىدىن ئۆزگە كېرەكمەس ماڭا جانان ئالدىدا 
ئارزۇيۇم سەن ئېرۇرسەن تەن بىلەن جان ئالدىدا 
بىرگۈلى رەنا ئېرۇرسەن باغۇ بوستان ئالدىدا 
تا زىيارەت قىلـمىسام مەن سېنى ئىمكان ئالدىدا 
يۈزلۈرۈم شەرمەندە بولسۇن تاڭلا سۇبھان ئالدىدا

I need nothing except only the love of my beloved
You are the greatest hope of my soul and body
You are the finest rose in a land of gardens
I would visit you if only I had the chance
Let my face be shamed before the glory of the dawn

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