By Eliana Cohen and Lizabeth Davis
As a society, we say “never again,” almost flippantly. We believe that the Holocaust, could never occur again.
However, genocides have happened again, and will in the future if we remain unaware of the conflicts in both other countries and our own.
We do not have the luxury anymore, to just stop reading an article or turn off the television, and forget about the tragedies of others. It may be easier to forget or ignore the bad news we hear, but this indifference only allows the continuation of conflict.
Right now, there is a cultural genocide of the predominantly Muslim Uyghur people in China, mainly in Xinjiang. Their culture, including all beliefs and their language are banned, and those who protest or defy this in another manner get arrested. The people themselves are demonized, being called a cancerous tumor that must be cut off and destroyed.
The government has forced about one million known people into indoctrination camps, called “vocational training centers”, drawing a chilling parallel to the so-called “work” camps of the Holocaust. The conditions of these camps are, unsurprisingly, inhumane.
Not much is known about what transpires in these camps, since there are not available reports, but it is certain that there is a heavy indoctrination process involved, tailored to force Uyghurs to give up their cultural identities. It is certain that some people die within these camps, and those who make it out are often completely broken and despairing.
These first steps mirror the beginning of the Holocaust, and as such, the situation is on genocide watch. If we ignore this crisis, then it is quite likely that this will develop into a full-fledged ethnic-cleansing. It is our duty, as citizens of America, and citizens of this world, to prevent the suffering of others.
In order to raise awareness, we have created a petition in order to raise awareness on this subject.
It is not for money, though any donations will go to the Uyghur American Association charity, to provide further help.
We aim to get at least 100 signatures – we know it is not many, but it at least displays that some people know what is happening.
This is clearly not a solution to the crisis, but is a start to spreading awareness; if enough people know about the situation, it could be enough to cause a lasting change, and prevent both current and future horrors.
Eliana Cohen and Lizabeth Davis are two students at Framingham High School.
To help them achieve their goal, sign their petition “Stop the Cultural Genocide of the Uyghurs” by clicking here.