By Sophia Falbo
Boston University News Service
“3 Uyghur Women” is a short documentary by Avanti N. about three Uyghur women – Adila Sadir, Shayida Ali and Gülnar Aziz – who live in Massachusetts. Despite the genocide being carried out by the Chinese government on their people, the women hold on to their culture.
Since 2017 the Chinese Communist Party has enacted policies to incarcerate Turkic Muslims in “re-education camps.” The Xinjiang region is home to a wide variety of ethnic groups including the Turkic Uyghurs. According to internal Chinese documents analyzed by the New York Times in 2019, inmates at these internment camps face punishment and “re-education.”
Sadir and Ali have fathers that were arrested by Chinese officials. They express how even if they wanted to, they can’t return to their home region of Xinjiang now because of how different it is, coupled with the fear and psychological damage the Chinese government has imposed on the people there.
“Losing language is losing culture,” said Aziz. They’re keeping their culture alive through faith and religion, traditional Uyghur foods and practicing their native language. No matter how dangerous it may be for these women to speak out against the Chinese government, they believe they can’t hide from politics or be silent. Sadir said if they stay quiet, other girls will stay quiet too and then how would people know what is going on in Xinjiang?