Before Anar Sabit’s story became public, I had read her poems online. They are full of poignant and vivid details perceived from inside the camp and personal experiences such as being on night guard duty, taking yard time, and witnessing the arbitrary detention and suffering of others with her own eyes. When I reached out to Anar to discuss the inspiration for these poems she told me that after what she had experienced in the camp and returning to the free world she had nightmares for an entire year. She has suffered from depression, fear, and low self-esteem. There was a time when she didn’t know if she could go on. Then one day she was advised to channel these traumas through writing. Anar humbly said that she is not really a writer or a poet type, but simply wanted to document what had happened to her and not forget them.
Tag: political indoctrination
“Our days became dark, and the nights even darker.” — Kazakh lyrical poem condemning state violence in Xinjiang
Written by Yi Xiaocuo This is a Kazakh song by an anonymous singer. It is in a traditional oral art … More
By an anonymous singer friend. Shared with artist’s permission on Sep 17, 2019. Featured image is credited to photographer Theo Paul. Quite a self-explanatory video telling the lived experience of Turkic speaking peoples in Xinjiang at the moment: family separation, cultural genocide, surveillance, forced inter-ethnic marriage, home invasion and spying, forced wage labor, state orphanage/residential school…
I know that the world will say “never again” when the last Uyghur is killed
The term “genocide” began to be used by more and more scholars and activists to describe the situation in Xinjiang. In her essay, “‘Never again?’ It’s already happening,” Anne Applebaum compared global indifference to the Xinjiang atrocities today to indifference toward the famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1933, which was widely covered in western media at the time like Xinjiang today. Fred Hiatt used “Kristallnacht” (Night of Broken Glass) — the destruction of synagogues, cemeteries, and Jewish businesses — to describe the mass demolition of Mosques and Muslim cemeteries in Xinjiang today.
Shimizu Tomomi’s Art Testimony
Artist Shimizu Tomomi (清水ともみ) rendered Mihrigul Tursun‘s testimony given at US Congressional hearing in Manga form. Mihrigul’s testimony gave accounts of various torture and gender based violence inside one of the ‘re-education camps’ in Xinjiang. It is never easy to gather the courage to speak on the trauma and inhumane treatment from an unjust system, especially for Uyghurs; this could mean retaliation to their families from the Chinese government.
Kazakhstan Art Group Shapalaque
Kazakhstan is facing Chinese expansion and surveillance directly across the border. At the same time, the youths there are fighting against their government’s corruption and autocracy. Bravo to these young artists’ creative initiative to reflect the truth behind the government orchestrated tour of the Xinjiang ‘re-education camps’!
Badiucao’s Chilling Images of Xinjiang Camps
Badiucao created the work titled “Xinjiang Auschwitz” on the 10th anniversary of the “7.5 Incident” which happened in Xinjiang in 2009—a violent clash broke out after long-term ethnic tensions came to a head, and was also a turning point for massive police surveillance and securitization of Xinjiang. The other work, “China’s Doctor of Death,” is inspired by an actual leaked photo from a concentration camp in Xinjiang. His work is an excellent visualization of how government policy aims to re-engineer Uyghur minds.
The Simpsons in Xinjiang
by Yi Xiaocuo, Oct 14, 2019 In light of the PRC government’s overreach and censorship in the US today, this comic visualizes a thought experiment in which the American pop culture icons—The Simpsons—stand in the shoes of the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic people in Xinjiang.