Posts in "Elkun poems"

The road of no return

by Flo Marks

A road through the Taklamakan Desert along the Tarim Basin region. In Uyghur, ‘takla makan’ means ‘you can get into it but can never get out’. CREDIT: Michal Sikorski / Alamy Stock Photo

THE POEM ROSES is dedicated to the Uyghurs arrested and detained in the Chinese Communist Party’s 21st-century concentration camps in what is officially called the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Its author, Uyghur poet, writer and academic Aziz Isa Elkun, grew up in Shahyar county, close to the Tarim river, and did not experience the freedom promised in the region’s colonial name.

Now 51, he was first arrested as a 16-year-old schoolboy in 1986 when his activism led to him being informally detained and interrogated. His home was ransacked and his earliest journals taken away. He was released after two days, but his parents’ defence of young naivety was unlikely to save him from a prison sentence in the future.

As the political climate worsened, with increasing government surveillance and censorship, it became increasingly certain that Aziz, as a young adult who favoured freedom of expression and association, would keep getting into trouble.

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A blossoming thought

The morning filled is with blossom
but my soul is worrisome
something is missing in this world
is there anyone to be there for the Uyghurs?

Even the corners of these streets
are cold like a city of graveyards
I can’t feel my Uyghurness anymore
my tongue stutters.

It’s difficult to differentiate the seasons
knowing only the falling of leaves
and the growing of blossom
in nights of solitude I mourn,
there is no dawn star I can greet.

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Happy Birthday to you, Ilham !

On this day he was born
Today his fiftieth golden leaf falls
He is in prison …
Because he fought for our freedom
His sacrifice for us all.

Today is the 51st Birthday of Ilham Tohti, a Uyghur Professor, winner of the Sakharov Prize, and twice Noble Peace Prize nominee. Through his writing, academic research and activities, he has campaigned for the rights of Uyghur people and challenged the Chinese authorities oppressive and apartheid policies which have developed nowadays to “China’s Uyghur Genocide”, The Chinese regime arrested him 6 years ago and jailed him for life.

Ilham, you are the Ilham (the inspiration) of Uyghur people and for everyone in the world who stands for freedom, free speech and dignity!

We will never forget you. In every breath we feel your suffering inside the dark Chinese prison.

We are fighting for your release and we pray for you, you will see the sun shine soon. You were born free, you don’t deserve to be imprisoned! The free world will stand with you always!

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