A Twitter thread by Babur Ilchi (of Campaign for Uyghurs)
I went through every photograph of the Xinjiang Police Files. It was this weird mix of gut-wrenching anxiety that I might see a relative of mine & hoping that I wouldn't. I know we're all doing the same.
That's how starved for information our diaspora is - that we're willing to go through thousands of photographs that we start feeling sick and angry. We hope, but we don't hope. At the same time, we already know. Even if their photos aren't there, we see them anyway.
We see their faces in every Uyghur. We see them in the photo of the 15-year-old Rahile Dawut. We see them in 73-year-old Anihan Hamit. In Hawagul Tewekkul's eyes, brimming with tears. We see their faces and we understand what they're going through, and we can't help but wonder.
Reading about shoot-to-kill orders and seeing the drills where riot police pin down a man with a bag on their head on the ground, we wonder if that happened to our fathers, mothers, aunts, and uncles. If they had a bag on their head and a knee on their back. A gun to their head.
It is almost surreal to be behind a computer screen looking at all this. It's wretched and angering. It makes me want to scream. In a lot of ways, it makes me feel powerless. This has all already happened. These photos are from 2018. What more has happened since?
I felt the same way in February last year when the BBC article on sexual violence against camp detainees was released. And again in June last year, when Uyghurs testified at the Uyghur Tribunal. And again in September.
How many more times will we have to feel this way? How many more times will we see new evidence piling on to what is irrefutably and incontrovertibly a genocide? How many more Uyghurs need to be detained, imprisoned, forced into labor, and sterilized? How many more need to die? (7/9)
With Michelle Bachelet, the UN Human Rights Chief set to visit our homeland, I wonder what good will come from it. Will she do the right thing? She's already said this is not an "investigation", and that she's there to promote, protect, and respect human rights. She can start with here if she means it. (8/9)
The UN Human Rights Commission has a report on Uyghurs sitting there, waiting. Waiting for what? How much longer do we wait? We're already five years in. We'll keep fighting for justice, for truth, and for an end to this genocide. It would be nice for the rest of the world to catch up.