Let’s not blame life for being meaningless
One day loneliness will reach its peak
Even if we can’t find a way to achieve our desire
We can still shed silent tears.
Let’s cry, maybe our tears will be beautiful
If they are shed silently for love
Even if we’re always looking for bad luck
We’re lucky when every night turns into a dream.
Let’s not seek beauty only in the rose
The trace of blood left on the thorn is also beautiful
When we think of the heart pumping blood
Its beating is just like a sweet song.
A Poem For My Father Who Stayed In His Grave Only 623 Days
Aziz Isa Elkun
Research affiliate, SOAS, University of London
The Chinese government said this was done in order to modernize us, but their true aim was to destroy Uyghur ethnic, cultural and religious identities. I felt as if my father’s body had been brutally torn out of its resting place in our ancestors’ land.
Over the past century, countries have used the tool of nationalism to pursue their own interests. Nationalism is about people, land and the relationship between them. Nationalist propaganda creates a special relationship between a unique people and a particular territory.
The Uyghurs are one of the many peoples who have been left out of this tidy calculation. We are labelled as an “ethnic minority” that suits Chinese version of statehood. China’s policies aim to cut our ties to our land. Uyghur pilgrims are cut off from their places of worship; villages are uprooted from their fields, and families are torn apart. Islam and Uyghur culture are none separated identities of the Uyghurs, therefor they regard the burial place – gravy yard as a holy place that connects the sprits of the generation past and today. Plus, Uyghur graveyard is a symbol of belonging to each other in the Uyghur community that keep connects Uyghurs spiritually, culturally and politically.
THE GENOCIDE OF THE UYGHUR MUSLIMS IN EAST TUKESTAN (CHINA)
Aziz Isa Elkun was born in East Turkistan (Uyghur Autonomous Region, China). He spent his childhood in Shahyar county which is located close to the Tarim River on the northern edge of the world’s second largest desert, the Taklamakan Desert. He graduated from Xinjiang University majoring in Chinese and Russian and languages. He has been living in London since 2001. He studied at Birkbeck University in London. He has published many poems, stories, and research articles in both Uyghur language and English. He has co-authored English language articles in Inner Asia and Central Asian Survey. He worked as Research Assistant on the “Sounding Islam China”, project based in SOAS, University of London, and conducted collaborative fieldwork in Central Asia for the project. In 2017, he published a Uyghur language research article arising from this fieldwork, titled “The Uyghurs are known in Central Asia for their laghmen”. He is an active member of the exile Uyghur Community and founder of a Uyghur music group – the London Uyghur Ensemble. Since September 2017, he has served as Secretary of the International PEN Uyghur Centre. From September 2018, he is working as a researcher on a British Academy Sustainable Development project “Uyghur Meshrep in Kazakhstan” based at SOAS, University of London.
*Webinar about “The genocide of the Uyghur Muslims in East Turkistan (China)” – organised by the UK Shia Ithna’ashari Community of Middlesex (SICM) & The Salaam Centre at 20:15 hrs London time on 29 January 2021. https://sicm.org.uk
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