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Who is there for the millions of Uyghurs currently imprisoned and tortured by expansionist China in literal concentration camps?

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Brainwashing, separation of children from parents, and forced marriages to Han Chinese men are all imposed by the government of China to destroy the cultural identity and dilute the Uyghur population | Photo: Recep Sakar/Yeni Safak

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Tragically, we have learned throughout history that people only relate to tragedy if it directly impacts or affects them. Whenever world catastrophes have occurred, events of unfathomable evil like mass genocides — the Holocaust for the Jews, Mao’s murder of tens of millions of Chinese, Stalin’s massacres of even more Russians, the Armenian Genocide, Rwanda and more — are testimony as to how humankind has the capacity to look away; how the rest of the world, those not involved, can close their eyes, ears, and hearts to the pain and suffering of the persecuted, the hunted, the hated — the “other.”  

What is the “Other?” In the dictionary, it is defined as “to view or treat (a person or a group) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself.” Furthermore, the concept of “not belonging, as being different in some fundamental way” has potentially very serious implications and repercussions. 

The commonality for those who endure persecution, who are vilified and discriminated against, demonized, and dehumanized (leading possibly to their attempted genocide), is that they are always made to be the “other.”

Inevitably, the world, with impotent institutions like the U.N., is unable to implement preventive measures, remaining nothing more than disapproving bystanders while the slaughters, the mass murders, the genocides continue.  

Why is this? In a word — Politics.

These institutions are controlled by powerful countries with enormous power —some using that power to suppress, control, and ultimately murder their perceived enemy, whichever ethnic, religious or political minority it might be at that moment.

Horribly, these regimes often perpetrate these atrocities without any response or pushback; but at times, intervention can – and does work. Sometimes, in the face of brutality and repression, a small fissure can open, and change can be affected. 

A case in point occurred in the 1970’s, when world Jewry began demanding freedom for Russian Jews to emigrate to Israel, at a time when the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain still had closed borders and while a widespread cultural genocide was taking place against Russian Jews. It took years to happen, years of concentrated, determined and unrelenting activism by the Jewish community, but ultimately, the result was success. 

Again, in the 1980s, Israel — the homeland of the Jewish people — undertook to bring thousands of Ethiopian Jews home to Israel, going so far as to infiltrate enemy countries, even using fake scuba diving clubs as their cover!  

What was the vital ingredient that motivated and energized the Jewish people to help the Russian Jews, to help the Ethiopian Jews?  

It is kinship; the bonding that creates a sense of family, a sense of belonging, a sense of communal responsibility.

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If that is the case, who will be there for the Uyghurs? The Euro-Asian peoples of Xinjiang (the Chinese/Han name for Uyghuristan) are currently imprisoned by the millions in literal concentration camps by expansionist China, which ruthlessly wants to eradicate this unique culture, this language, these people themselves.

China monitors the Uyghurs 24/7 in concentration camps, even while they sleep, even on the toilet. China relentlessly and methodically brainwashes the Uyghurs with Han culture, forbidding them their own language and culture, exploiting them for slave labour, harvesting their organs, threatening their families overseas, raping their abundant natural resources, and killing their leaders. They further humiliate and demoralize Uyghur women by cutting and selling their hair

Who will be there for the Uyghurs?

I will. Me.

You see, the Uyghurs and I are related.

The Muslim Uyghurs of China are being summarily rounded up and persecuted | Photo: Nextshark.com

At the end of the 19th century, at the height of colonization, expansionism and empire-building throughout Europe, the discovery of new worlds and exotic cultures fascinated Europeans and therefore, many new studies began as to the origins of these newly discovered civilizations. One area of intense study was the origins of language. When linguists suggested a strong connection between the completely unique Hungarian language sharing its Finno-Ugric base with the Uyghur language (the language of the Uyghurs who lived far away in the “exotic” East), a new phenomenon was born.  

A romantic nationalist movement began in Hungary in the late 19th century called “Turanism.” It glorified this newly discovered connection as support for the Hungarian mythos of their ancestors, the Hun hordes, sweeping down the plains from the East, spectacularly conquering the territory of Hungary. This romantic mythos was the basis of a growing Pan-Hungarian mythology, unifying the Uyghurs and Hungarians, as well as a few other minority groups. 

As this movement began during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it became a strategically important means of combating the growing Pan-Germanism movement that was emanating from Austria, not to mention Pan-Slavism which was rapidly developing amongst the Slavic countries within the Empire. 

The connection between Hungary and the Uyghurs remained close from the late 19th into the early 20th century and then lay dormant from World War II until after the fall of Communism in Hungary in 1989. Thereafter, the mythos of the mighty Hungarian Empire was resurrected once again with the reconnection with the Uyghurs until 2013, when the current prime minister, Viktor Orbán was seeking stronger ties with China and scuttled a meeting between the World Uyghur Congress and youth from the World Federation of Hungarians. 

Orbán, as well as many other leaders, chose lucrative business dealings with the Central Committee of the Communist Party (China) over traditional relationships. That year was the beginning of the targeted, systematic persecution of the Uyghurs by the CCCP, leading up to their enforced confinement in “re-education” camps. They are now undergoing not only cultural genocide, but murder as well. 

So how do I, as the descendant of Hungarian Jews, come to claim my kinship with the Uyghurs?

Who will be there for the Uyghurs, the Euro-Asian peoples of Xinjiang currently imprisoned by the millions in concentration camps by expansionist China | Photo: europeaninterest.eu

In 1849, during the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph, the Austro-Hungarian Empire offered Hungarian Jews the opportunity of being recognized as “ethnically” Hungarian. It was the same right that was extended to 14 different ethnic groups within the Empire, so that the Slavs, the Slovenians, and others were all considered as “ethnically” Magyar/Hungarian too.

The Jews of Budapest gratefully accepted the conditions presented to them by the Empire. Many acquiesced to no longer wearing distinctively Jewish garb. Women and men no longer covered their hair or heads. They agreed to no longer adhere to Saturday Sabbath obligations, and they agreed to start eating “Hungarian” food.

These Budapest Jews, by distancing themselves from classical Judaic practices and becoming “Neolog” Jews (a form of Reform/Conservative Judaism exclusive to Hungary) were now considered “ethnically” Magyar.

I am descended from those Budapest Jews; my family were considered “ethnic” Magyars; therefore, I am related to the Uyghurs.

On a larger, more universal understanding, I believe that my relationship with the Uyghurs underscores my belief that we are all related by six degrees of separation and we are, by extension, all our brother’s keeper.  

We cannot remain silent as atrocities, like the Uyghur genocide, are perpetuated, no matter where and no matter by whom. We must all give voice; we must all stand up and shout out against the horrors of this cultural and human genocide being perpetuated by China (the CCCP) against the Uyghur people.

This is how to begin.

The famous, respected and effective activist, Maajid Nawaz, has highlighted the plight of the Uyghurs. Maajid has revealed the following merchandising brands that have been using the slave labour of Uyghurs.   

The bottom line is this: Never Again is not selective. Never Again must be a universal, non partisan concept for all oppressed peoples.

You can start right now by helping the Uyghurs.

After all, they are my relatives.

This is Part 1 of a two part series on the Uyghurs; Part 2 will be presented by my dear sister and activist, Raheel Raza, in the coming weeks. Raheel has an intimate knowledge of the crisis facing the Uyghurs.

Vivienne Grace Ziner is a real estate developer, human rights activist,entrepreneur, writer, speaker and educator. She has been described as “the iron fist in the velvet glove” as well as a “pitbull with lipstick”. She loves both descriptions.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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