Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Uighur PR

Since in my last post I made the quasi-assertion that I thought that Uighur culture was probably not the most redeeming culture that ever existed on the basis of its probable similarity to surrounding Muslim cultures and its perennial impoverishment, I decided to search the web for supporting details. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot out there on the matter, as you might imagine. I did manage to find this, however:
EurasiaNet: It sounds like you’re describing a decline in Uighur culture. Is that accurate? Kadeer: A lot of Uighurs are confused; this is a time of confusion for us. We live in fear, we can’t speak what is in our hearts, moral values have changed and that’s why we can’t see things clearly. We’re not the Uighurs of before. Poverty, repression and fear have pushed us into a corner where we don’t know what’s in front of us and what’s behind us. We just live in total darkness. It’s made everyone selfish and self-centered, concerned only about their own personal survival.
(emphasis mine)
Note to self: never, ever hire this Kadeer person as my PR agent. These are the actual words of an advocate for Uighur rights, spoken not in response to the recent violence, but last year! According to the article she was even up for the Nobel Prize, for crying out loud! The "concern for personal survival" excuse for otherwise repugnant behavior is one that I've heard all too often, and it is generally applied to situations that are far from actual life-and-death. Usually, it winds up applying not to the particular act itself, but to the general mentality that one ought to put basic ethical considerations of behavior ahead of personal gain. You see, such a mindset is simply suicidal here in the "real world." You will never "survive" with such a mentality. It is not hard to see where this all-too-common train of thought tends to lead, and the societies it tends to produce. And it is precisely this reasoning, the despair and the lack of hope that it reflects, that leads to most of the horror we see that emmanates from the Orient, not to mention many other corners of the world. Even our own, for that matter. At least, that's my opinion. I would not leap to the conclusion that the Uighurs are a bunch of blood-sucking demons, not by a long shot. They are human beings, with their own problems, tragedies and triumphs, just like all the rest of us. We all have our failings; we all need God's help. I'm not going to bash them (or poor Kadeer) over the head with this quote, or use it as some kind of smoking gun for making my particular point. That really wouldn't be fair. It is still entirely possible that I am completely wrong, that Uighur culture is fundamentally committed to respect for individual rights and rule of law but through some overwhelming misfortune has managed to stay utterly impoverished for all these centuries. Specific information on the topic appears to be rather scarce. But I do find it a bit telling that I was able to find such a statement at all. And it would defy my understanding of economic causation to learn that that was the case. My point being: folks who would rather not wind up in similar dire straights had better get their acts together, pronto! Are you listening, America?!

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