More From Alder's Ledge

August 29, 2013

The Forgotten Righteous

Muslim Heroism During The Holocaust

I have often said that the Holocaust stole from me a heritage, a story, and an identity that I have had to fight to restore. From an early age I felt a pull to recover what was lost. It was a hunger for the stories that my ancestors had left in the past that reached out into the present. From those early years to this very day that hunger has only grown. It has shaped me, it has molded me, and it has brought a sense of reconciliation to a broken family tree. 

When I was in high school the subject of the holocaust was something I didn't want to talk about. Countless classes focused upon the subject with such intensity that it made it almost unbearable. At that time I was learning in my own research what had become of those who came before me. I was reading names of people my family had forgotten. I was reading how they had been abused, neglected, and sent to die at the hands of heartless governments and societies that hated them. For me, the class room was an uncomfortable battle field with the images and stories I was starting to believe were best forgotten. 

But you don't get to look away when this sort of awakening is taking place. You don't get to block out the emotions that claw at your heart and rip at your soul. The faces of the betrayed are constantly there to remind you that their story cannot be forgotten. The realization they bring is that if we forget, if we choose to forget, it will always come back in one way or another to remind us. 

When I was barely old enough to understand what war was I watched the news footage of Rwanda. I remember seeing people being hacked to death in the streets as they screamed for mercy that would never be given to them. The sounds of their tormented cries echo constantly in my mind. And then came Bosnia...

Genocide has a way of showing us the worst aspects of what we are as human beings. It takes from us the hope for humanity as it blinds us the few good aspects of mankind we have left. In that tortuous state it drags us to a point where we must deal with the sins of our collective past. It demands that we pay for our indifference to the suffering of others, our inaction in its presence, and the complicity with its very existence. 

So when Bosnia plunged into the hellish depths of "ethnic cleansing", genocide by another name, I attempted to check out. I didn't want to see it anymore. For a short time I didn't want to believe it could happen. And at that age I couldn't understand all of what was happening to the Bosnian people. 

That was until years later when I read about Jews who helped save Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian Genocide. For the first time I had found an aspect of this wretched crime that I could study without losing a part of my sanity. For the first time I could see a small glimmer of hope.

Over the years of reading stories like the one in the picture above the ability to look past the seemingly endless darkness of this horrific crime grew. I began reading stories about Rwanda. Then I found stories about Cambodia. And next came stories about the Holocaust. I was slowly learning that even in the nightmare of genocide there are still people who manage to maintain their humanity. That even while the world was burning around them, and even though they had nothing to gain, these people showed all of us what it was to be human. 

For the Jewish people these stories offered a sense of hope. They showed us that even in times of utter despair there were still people that cared enough to help us survive the pogroms and Holocaust. However for all these "righteous among the nations" that I came across there was one group that was missing. 

The Muslims

There aren't many stories that show up when one starts to research the Holocaust in the Arab world. At least not ones that speak of heroism that is. Yet when you start to dig a little it isn't hard to find such stories these days. The accounts of Muslims saving Jewish lives are prolific. And they aren't simply confined to North Africa and the Middle East either.

Here are just a few...

Saide Arifova 

Saide Arifova was a Crimean Tartar who managed to save the lives of 88 Crimean Jews in the Ukraine from 1942-43. She was a mere kindergarten director when the Nazi's rolled into the Ukraine. Yet she knew from the start of Nazi occupation that the children in her care were in danger. And from that realization came a hero that even the Nazi's could not manage to break. 

After forging documents and switching the ethnicity of the Jewish children in her care through tampering with state documents, Saide Arifova's luck ran out. The Nazi's took Saide Arifova in for questioning where they beat her severely. Yet this Muslim woman did not turn her back on the Jewish children she had risked her life to save. She kept to her word and managed to withstand all the abuse the Nazi's had for her. 

This woman survived Nazi torture for children of a religion that was under threat of annihilation in her homeland. She had shown a courage that others had forsaken. And in the face of all this torment, Saide Arifova managed to even keep her life. 

When the Nazi's were pushed out the Crimean Tartars faced their own persecution. Stalin ordered the Sürgünlik, the forced deportation of Crimean Tartars to Uzbekistan, in fear that the Tartars had aided the Nazis during occupation. Saide Arifova, despite all her bravery in resisting the Nazis, was deported to Uzbekistan. 45 percent of the Tartars deported would die in Uzbekistan and yet Saide Arifova survived. 

Only after the Perestroika (reform of the Soviet Party during the 1980s) did Saide Arifova get to return to Crimea where she had so bravely saved those 88 Jewish children. On August 9th, 2007 Saide Arifova passed away. 

Necdet Kent

Necdet Kent was a Turkish Muslim who had been born in Istanbul, Turkey. During years of study and building a career as a Turkish Foreign Diplomat Mr Kent had managed to end up in Marseilles, France. There Mr Kent watched as the Germans entered France and installed the Vichy French regime. He bore witness to the horrific implementation of the Nazi race laws. 

In 1943 Mr Kent was given his first real challenge when faced with Germany's genocide of the Jewish people. Having been informed that the Gestapo had loaded 80 Turkish Jews onto a cattle car for deportation, Mr Kent went down to the station. He would later recall that the cattle car bore an inscription that stated "this wagon may be loaded with 20 heads of cattle and 500kgs of grass". Yet here he stood in front of a Gestapo commandant with a cattle car loaded with Jewish prisoners. 

Mr Kent ordered that the cattle car be emptied on the basis that the Jews inside were Turkish citizens and Turkey had declared neutrality in this conflict. On all legal grounds the Turkish diplomat was correct in his assumption that neutrality should be extended to the the Jews on-board. However the Germans laughed in his face and told Mr Kent that the Jews were nothing but worthless Jews. Their fate was sealed not because their nationality but rather their religion and ethnicity. 

Furious, Mr Kent and his assistant boarded the train and refused to get off. The Gestapo ordered the train to continue to it's next destination. Mr Kent and his assistant stayed on-board as the train of deportees barreled onward. All the while the Germans prepared a car at the next stop and a plan to get Mr Kent off the train. 

Once at the next stop the Gestapo boarded the train and demanded that Mr Kent get off and go back to Marseilles where he belonged. Yet Mr Kent replied that he was a representative of a government that did not believe in such abuses let alone on the basis of religious beliefs. For that reason Mr Kent could not leave the Jewish prisoners on that train in that condition. 

Unable to get Mr Kent off the train and realizing that the Turkish diplomat was bound to remain uncompromising in his stance, the Gestapo allowed the 80 Jewish prisoners to get off as well. Mr Kent would later state:

"I would never forget those embraces around our necks and hands ... the expressions of gratitude in the eyes of the people we rescued ... the inner peace I felt when I reached my bed towards morning."

Yet Mr Kent's bravery and heroism was not limited to this one day or this one action. Necdet Kent would continue to reach out to the Turkish Jews and other Jews who had fled to southern France prior to Nazi invasion. Mr Kent continuously offered the Jews he helped forged documents and passports that could help them get to Turkey or unoccupied lands. He also was recorded to have gone to the Gestapo and petitioned for better treatment of Jews on sever occasions... including after Marseilles Gestapo had begun stripping men in the streets to identify circumcised Jews publicly. 

However when honored for his acts of heroism Mr Kent did not take the opportunity to gloat. Instead Necdet Kent plainly stated that he had a duty to defend and save the lives of all Turkish citizens in France, especially Jews. Necdet Kent died at the age of 91 on September 20th, 2002.

Abdol Hossein Sardari

Abdol Hossein Sardari has become known as the "Schindler of Iran" amongst those who study the Holocaust. Yet for Mr Sardari this title was never one he boasted about. And despite this it is one that he rightfully earned in countless acts of selflessness and heroism. 

Mr Sardari was a very intelligent man who had been given leadership of the Iranian Consular office in Paris, France. He was there as the Germans began their march across Europe and thus overrunning Paris. It was from the very moment that Germans arrived that Mr Sardari began exploiting the agreements that Iran had made with Germany for protection of their citizens across Europe. These were agreements that Germany would violate regularly across Europe and yet Mr Sardari managed to hold Paris's Gestapo to the letter of the law. 

An ever vigilant defender of Iranian Jews, of which there were a sizable amount in Paris, Mr Sardari insured that every Persian Jew he could contact had a viable Iranian passport. For the Persian Jews that did not, Mr Sardari readily forged documents and passports for them. Violating laws and international agreements, Mr Sardari managed to save Persian Jews while holding Germany to it's word. 

As the occupation dragged on Abdol Hossein Sardari began to realize the complete picture of what Germany had in store for Europe's Jews. Slowly he began issuing Iranian passports and documents to non-Persian Jews across Paris. To make sure that his actions were not exposed Mr Sardari did not ask for permission to issue such documents. Instead, with a sense of bravery, Mr Sardari went about his work right under the eyes of the Gestapo. Iran would later applaud Abdol Sardari for his courage and efforts. 

Much like Necdet Kent, Abdol Hossein Sardari did not attempt to make light of his own actions in saving countless Jewish lives in Nazi occupied France. When honored for his actions, Mr Sardari clearly stated that he had a duty to save Persians from German aggression, regardless of religion. Almost forgotten, Abdol Hossein Sardari died in 1981 in Nottingham, England. 

Never Forget

The history of genocide is not filled with very many glimmering lights of hope. For this reason it is vital that history not forget those who bravely stood up to the persecution of others. When all the world would tell them to stand down and ignore the savagery placed at their feet, these brave souls showed us... reminded us... of what we should all strive for. 

These are just three stories of many. They are lives that were lived in defense of others. Their actions according to them were not heroic... they simply did what they saw as being morally correct. And it is for this reason that they are in fact heroes. In the darkness of the Holocaust they chose to shine like candles in our darkest hour. 

We should never forget these stories. We should let them live in our hearts, our minds, and in our words when dealing with such adversity. The legacy they have handed to us must never be allowed to be lost. For there is no guarantee that once lost, once forgotten, that we will ever get it back.

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August 28, 2013

Behind The Pink Triangle

Lessons For Russia


In a society based on the rigid moral standards of a maniacal leader almost everything is considered deviant. The simple act of thinking for yourself, deciding for yourself between right and wrong, is considered an act of deviancy. There is no room for free thinkers once a society decides to conform to the obdurate views of the unstable leadership it allows to take control. Every sense of freedom becomes hidebound to the dim reality fascism brings onto it's citizenry. Once in place, there are no cracks through which it's victims can escape. 

For the homosexual population of Nazi occupied Europe this rigid conformity of the masses began the slow walk into darkness. Neighbors, relatives, old coworkers... anyone and everyone could trade their gay acquaintances in for even the smallest token of favor from the new masters of Europe. The jackboots were now marching in the streets and the gestapo was out for the "sexual deviants" of Europe. 

Over the course of the Third Reich an estimated 100,000+ gay men and women were imprisoned and persecuted for their sexuality. They were put into work camps designed to bring about a slow and painful death. Around 15,000 were sent to death camps were they were adorned with a pink triangle and the number that replaced their identity, their name, and their previous life. Around 60 percent of those who were imprisoned and/or sent away to concentration camps would not survive the Holocaust. For these unfortunate souls their only crime for which they would die would be that of who they loved.

But who was the deviant in all reality? Was it the man or woman who was born different from the others? Was it the homosexual who found love in a way different than the prescribed method of society? Or was it the society which turned upon their own and sacrificed those they deemed different to the flames?

In the end, for that 60 percent that fell to the sins of conformity, it didn't matter exactly who was the deviant and who wasn't. The price they paid was greater than any that society would pay during or after the war. For the sin of silence, for the sin of complacency, for the sin of hate... those who were sacrificed to the insanity of one man's delusions and the hate of a complacent country could not, nor can not today, be brought back. They paid with their lives for a crime they did not commit. 

Behind The Pink Triangle

The crimes that were committed during the Holocaust against the homosexual community in Europe didn't occur overnight. Long held political and religious beliefs had paved the way for Hitler's orders to execute the gay citizenry of Europe. A German public had lived with and supported laws that had long oppressed the sexuality of their neighbors. 

In 1871 The Penal code is established in Germany and it's occupied territories. This harsh set of laws dictated most any moral codes of conduct that society could imagine. However it is paragraph 175 that would establish a legal precedent in Germany for the legal persecution of homosexuals. In no uncertain terms the paragraph made all sexual acts between males illegal and punishable in Germany's courts. The legal framework for governmental persecution of homosexuality was established in the Second Reich. 

From this point forward the homosexuals of Germany would enjoy only brief moments of "lesser" persecution as the German society pushed it's heel on their backs. Though gay members of society could find some places in Germany to meet and enjoy the facade of liberty in the early 1900s the storm clouds were gathering. The "Great War" saw Germany entering a hellish depression and a renewed religious fervency. Like the Jews and Roma, gays were targeted for persecution with every downturn in German society. 

With the rise of Nazism the roadwork for Hitler's persecution began to be relayed. During this time the government of Germany dug back to down to the Kaiser's sins and breathed new life into perverse laws. In 1932 Berlin began to crackdown on gays in the city. A new fervor was seen in Berlin as police and city leaders sought out gay bars and meeting places. The old morality laws were back in affect as the year came to a close. 

As 1933 opens the German people are introduced to their new leader, their fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. The Nazi party is declared the only legal party and is thus in complete control of the country. German society has surrendered it's freedoms, its liberties, and it's minorities to the insanity of a madman and his henchmen. For those trapped inside the country there is no end to the downward spiral their country is now taking. Yet the devil in charge has promised them the world. And for a short period of time, it almost appears that Hitler can give it to them. 

For the homosexuals the reality of what awaits them in Germany is made clear on May 10th, 1933. A collection of books and documents stolen from the ransacked offices of the Institute for Sexual Science are burned by the SA and Nazi supporters in Berlin. The reason for this book burning isn't that the books are Jewish or Communist. The reason these books are being burnt is because they are deemed unclean due to the "sexually deviant" nature of the institute from which they came. Though the doctor who ran the Institute for Sexual Science was a gay Jew, the homosexual threat was the main reason for their burning. For the homosexuals of Berlin, this book burning was their first warning... Hitler was coming for them. 

Less than a month later, June 8th, two homosexual rights organizations are outlawed. Their members and leaders are recorded as the Gestapo takes the names off any and all collected documents. Gays in Berlin rapidly respond by simply disappearing into the masses. However the hope of hiding and waiting out the Nazi government are short lived. 

During the "Night of the Long Knives" Hitler takes the opportunity to not only destroy the SA and replace it with the SS but also orders all homosexuals to be thrown out of the military. Several SA officers and members are charged with being homosexuals when nothing else can be found to charge them with. Though these charges were most likely false, these members of the SA are not imprisoned but rather are shot. Hitler's message to the gay community in Germany is now perfectly clear to all... they are not going to be simply jailed, they are to be killed. 

As for Ernst Roehm, the SA chief, the charges of homosexuality are not false. From 1930 the position of SA Chief Roehm in the Nazi party had been a signal of false hope to the gay community in Germany. Though the homosexual community could still expect plenty of harassment and even jail terms they had not expected what would happen next. Roehm was charged with plots to overthrow Hitler along with homosexuality. On June 30th Roehm becomes a victim of the party he had fought to help establish. SS members execute Ernst Roehm for sedition and homosexuality. 

On July 13th Hitler declares himself the sole judge in Germany and that the SS would from that point forward act as his personal police force. With this the message is sent out across the country that a gay member of the SA had been executed. There would be no quarter given to the homosexuals that were now locked inside German borders. 

By the time October rolled around the SS were actively seeking out homosexuals across Germany. Himmler ordered large roundups of gays regardless of gender under the morality laws, paragraph 175. Those who were caught up in Himmler's dragnet were imprisoned, tortured, and interrogated in hopes of getting more homosexuals' names.

For the next two years mass roundups continued without relent. What had started out as a couple hundred arrests rapidly grew into the thousands. Hitler and Himmler were on a quest to rid Germany of the "sexual deviants" and preserve the "sexual purity" of the German race. For those caught in their scheme there was no hope in sight. 

In 1935 Himmler sent out an order that promised freedom to all homosexual males who would willingly subject themselves to castration as a "cure" for their  "degenerate sexual drive". Sadly for the homosexuals who had been in inhumane jail conditions (for some, years) this promise was too good to pass up. Having been brutally operated on by Nazi doctors the victims subjected themselves to experimental surgeries. Those who did not die from the neglectful treatment of the Nazi doctors and castration itself were given a mock release. Once given the hope of freedom, the castrated victims were rearrested and thrown back into the prisons from which they had been released. 

This sadistic treatment of homosexuals in Germany's new legal system would continue as the homosexuals in SS custody continued to be held without any sign of true release. For years their lives would hang in the balance as the German people ignored the plight of gay men and women across their country. Those who did speak out often faced false charges of homosexuality and were therefore thrown into the same jails where gays died from sustained abuses and neglect to their well-being.

On October 10th, 1936 just two years after Himmler took control of the Nazi roundups of gay men and women, the leader of the SS forms the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion. This central office will allow the SS and Gestapo to compile complete lists of gays in cities and villages across Germany. From Berlin the Gestapo can monitor the arrests of gays throughout Nazi controlled Europe. They can send out demands for increased pressure on gays in any area at any time as the Nazi leaders envision threats under every rock. 

During July of 1940 Himmler cleans out the German jails of homosexual prisoners by declaring that all gays in Germany and occupied lands can be sent directly to concentration camps. In true bureaucratic fashion, the SS develop the pink triangle to fit into their numerical death machine. The homosexual community across Europe are now set to join the ranks of the Holocaust victims. 

"Work Will Set You Free"

Throughout the Holocaust homosexual prisoners were often targeted for extremely brutal punishment by camp leaders and SS camp guards. Abuses were numerous and often left up to the camp leaders themselves. The one thing every camp had in common was the use of force labor designed to bring about death through exhaustion. 

Gay camp prisoners were made to work some of the most brutal and barbaric camp task. They were made to haul stones, carry boulders, and do meaningless task designed to weaken the victims. To the SS this was meant to break the "homosexual spirit" by applying the "extermination through work program". 

Failing to do a task, no matter how menial the task might be, often led to sadistic punishments. SS leaders often enjoyed taking gay prisoners to the "singing forests" in large camps. There, on tall poles, the homosexual victim bound with their hands and feet chained behind their body. Suspended in the air from the tall pole the victim's arms would be pulled upward and behind their torso. This would cause serious injuries to the joints and shoulders of the prisoner as they screamed out in torment... thus giving the name to this form of torture. 

Other gay victims would be subjected to barbaric castrations as a "cure" for their "sexual disease". Nazi doctors and SS soldiers used knives, scissors, and veterinary tools to remove the testicles of their victim. Without medicine for the pain or impending infections, the victim was at risk or bleeding to death and/or succumbing to deadly infections from the sadistic genital mutilation.

More serious forms of punishment for homosexual prisoners were often performed in front of the rest of the camp inhabitants. Roll call would often be called when a homosexual prisoner/s would face execution. These brutal acts of violence were used to deter any and all acts of defiance by the gay prisoners. These executions were also used to punish homosexuals after one of their fellow prisoners had run into the electrical wire to commit suicide. In this aspect executions of homosexuals could be seen at times as collective punishment for both their mere existence and their persistent will to live.

In addition to work, beatings, torture, harassment by fellow inmates, degradation of all forms, and outright slaughter; many homosexual prisoners also had to face twisted medical experiments. SS doctors were given full reign in their quest to find a cure for the homosexual in German society. These experiments included the usual castrations and genital mutilations. However they also included lobotomies, shock therapy, chemical injections, and hormone injections. Prisoners who were experimented on clearly had no hope of ever being cured. And therefore once they were found to be incurable they were executed. 

Free At Last?

The German people were slow at recognizing the sins they had committed against the Jews... the Roma... the Poles. A generation of Germans would pass away without ever really having to face the crimes they forced upon the world around them. Their hands had forged the worst atrocities that Europe had ever seen. Their hatred had destroyed the lives of millions upon millions. And yet the German people were allowed to remain silent for far too long. 

For the gay victims of the Holocaust this silence felt like it could not be broken. For all the screams that had been released in those dark hellish camps, for all the suffering that had been brought upon them... the silence threatened to mask their pain. For nearly 60 years the homosexual victims of the Holocaust watched as the world ignored their stories. 

Many of those who survived decided to go back into hiding. The same method that had failed them during Hitler's reign now showed to be their only hope. The laws that had sent them to the camps were still in place when the Third Reich collapsed. Paragraph 175 clung to the books as the victims of its existence stepped out from behind prison gates. 

In December of 2000 the German government finally admitted that it had continued to use Paragraph 175 even after 1949. It was the first time that Germany had admitted that homosexuals had been victims of the Third Reich. However it wasn't until May of 2002 that the German government decided to finally pardon all homosexuals who had been convicted, tortured, and/or killed by the Nazis and German government. 

But what were they pardoned for? Who in this long history of horrific human rights abuses and genocide was the deviant? The man/woman who simply loved differently than the rest or the state and society which bore the ability to hate those they didn't understand or care to love? 

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August 20, 2013

Stealing Their Heritage

Myanmar's Slow Genocide
(The Darkness Visible series)

When a tyrant finds that they can no longer effectively kill off a targeted community the endgame scenario they often turn to is no less atrocious then the original sin. It is an option for genocidal regimes that has been a persistent fix all throughout the history of genocide. For the Germans it was the cattle car solution to the "Jewish Question". In Armenia it was defined by death marches into the wilderness where the victims were made to suffer a slow death if not immediately executed. And in Myanmar it is expressed clearly in the eyes of every "refugee" created through the government's barbarism.

Slow Genocide

"We will take responsibility for our ethnic people but it is impossible to accept the illegally entered Rohingyas, who are not our ethnicity," ~Thein Sein

Genocide is defined as the deliberate killing of members of an ethnic, religious, or national group with intent to destroy the group in part or in whole. It can include the imposing of living conditions meant to bring about the death or deterioration of the group in any capacity. This means that the deportations of members of the group can be interpreted as intent to impose living conditions that would destroy the group in part or in whole. For this reason the use of deportations on any scale is a tactic of savagery by a state that can legally be defined as genocide. However slow it might be... it is still genocide. 

In previous post we have explored the intent on Myanmar's part to create refugees of it's minority populations with intent of "ethnically cleansing" it's lands of said groups. Though there are arguments amongst some about the supposed difference between ethnic cleansing and outright genocide, it is the opinion of this blog that the two are the same crime regardless. For that reason the use of such tactics on the part of Myanmar constitute a history of genocide and the continuation of it when dealing with all it's minority groups. 

For the Rohingya this slow bleed has been up to this point has been a genocide characterized by pogroms designed to look like "flash point" events of ethnic unrest. These supposed spontaneous attacks have been accompanied by military action that rapidly follows up behind state supported Rakhine mobs. Where the civilian attackers cannot finish the job the Burmese military picks up the slack. This cooperation shows that despite the appearance of spontaneity, the attacks are often organized and carried out in the same military fashion Myanmar has displayed in the Shan and Kachin states. 

The initial blitz approach to genocide lost steam as the world turned it's eyes upon the newly "democratic" Myanmar. Feeling the pressure to maintain appearances, Burma turned away from outright slaughter and moved toward a slower version of death. Rohingya were rapidly placed into concentration camps without regard to living conditions for the Rohingya themselves. This aspect of organizing IDP camps that would bring about disease, starvation, and eventual death should had shown the intent of genocide on Myanmar's part. But the world looked the other way as Burma sealed off Rohingya villages and created the ghettos that Poland once endured. 

During this entire campaign of slowing down the death toll in the Arakan state the government of Burma expressed a desire to begin deportations. Under the Nasaka small scale deportations did exist. Yet with the old SA gone and the new SS building up it's numbers, the deportations have all but ended. Border security in Myanmar still utilizes human traffickers to deport the Rohingya in boats and along dangerous paths into neighboring countries. This turns a profit for the corrupt Myanmar regime while at the same time fulfilling the government's desire to ethnically cleanse the Arakan. 


"We will send them away if any third country would accept them," Thein Sein. "This is what we are thinking is the solution to the issue."

When Hitler laid out his 'Final Solution' to the 'Jewish Question' he did so with the same vitriol that can be heard in Thein Sein's voice when talking about Myanmar's Rohingya question. The hatred that spewed forth in Mein Kamph can be read in every sentence that has come forth from Thein Sein when addressing the "issue" of Rohingya in Myanmar. It isn't enough that the man calls an entire ethnic group and "issue" but that he feels a need to find a "solution" to them. This is the nature of Burma's endgame.

It is not beyond reason to imagine that if Myanmar cannot deport enough Rohingya fast enough (before the next elections) that Thein Sein could look toward more "spontaneous" actions to reduce the Rohingya population. But for now the endgame solution that Burma has chosen to move forward with is that of deportations and concentration camps. The relationship between the two methods is vital to the endgame that Thein Sein's regime (note that Thein Sein is a puppet to a military backed government) has chosen for the genocide of the Rohingya people.

Deportations are a complex operation when carried out by the state. It has historically been shown that the leaders of such crimes feel a compulsion to document the events a dozen different ways. States compelled to expel ethnic groups in mass seems to need such documents to prove the enemy is really gone. But for whatever reason, the removal is always capable of being proven through the perpetrators' own accounts.

One way to organize these crimes has been to first create ghettos, concentration camps, or detention centers of some sort. These facilities, no matter how inhumanely constructed, are vital to the efforts by states to expel any portion of their population. It helps to confine the members of a targeted group so as to prevent people from escaping what they might rightfully perceive as a slow form of death. It also frees up land and property that was owned or occupied by the targeted group.

Once the ghettos are created the state can take an inventory of their victims. The Germans used tattooing to identify victims as they were deported to death camps outside the view of the rest of society. The Ottomans used decapitations and kill houses to count off the dead so as to keep track of how many Armenians they had removed from the empire. Yet in every case the use of some form of confinement has offered the state an opportunity to commit even more atrocities then before.

For the Rohingya the inhumane confinement of Burmese concentration camps and ghettoized villages has offered the state the chance to extort money, carry out sexualized violence, and other depravities. These crimes have all been forms of torment that have kept the Rohingya under living conditions that are meant to kill. And yet these forms of torture are not the endgame for the Rohingya as far as the Burmese regime is concerned.

In the camps there is a stalwart that the government of Myanmar cannot kill through starvation, with bullets, or through disease. It is the most basic refuge of what makes a human a human. It is the deeply planted seed of hope. It is the basic desire for life that keeps even the most anguish ridden soul alive beyond the point of rationality. In the camps there is this clinging to life that Burma's leaders have not yet been able to trample.

For this reason the government has turned to deportations. If they cannot outright kill the entire population with impunity, and death has not yet set in through mass neglect, the final solution comes in the form of removal. That is why Thein Sein, the puppet with whom the world is met, turns to propositioning the world to take the Rohingya away.

In the words of this tyrannical government rest a message that the world will be fullish to so passively overlook. In the offers to deport the Rohingya lay the warning of what awaits those who remain. Though there is no date given in those few words, there is the intent to end this slow genocide once and for all. If the Rohingya are not allowed to be removed they will face death one way or another.

This is an ultimatum that cannot be ignored. And yet it is the rational of an unsound mind that cannot be reasoned with. We cannot accept the deportations of a people and thus end a genocide through a slightly better means then death itself. Yet the leaders of Myanmar are hinting that they will find a way to force the worlds' hand.

Deportations are already underway. Rohingya are pushed out to sea every day. They are bought and sold like cattle and sent off to lives that barely can be called living. These small scale deportations are Burma's way of testing the waters (so to speak). Our tolerance of them only emboldens the perpetrators of these crimes. Our silence helps drive the nail into their coffins.

A Plea... A Scream.

I will close this post in a way that many of Alder's Ledge's contributors have heard time and time again. It is a story that has tainted post after post here on this blog. And though I don't talk about it near as often as some might want... it is a story that best sums up why Alder's Ledge has kept it's voice raised for so long.

I have said before that I can see the faces of my ancestors in the stories that come out of Burma. Time and time again I have faced a part of my own past in a land I knew nothing about just a couple years ago. It has bonded me to a people that I may never get the chance to meet in person. It has connected me to a struggle that many have never heard about. For this reason I scream.

When the Germans entered Croatia they stole from me something that I hadn't even been given yet, my heritage. The holocaust of my ancestors took from my family the will to identify with their past. It stole from them their name, their lineage, their history. For that reason I lost entire portions of a history that I have fought to restore my entire life. It is a battle that led to Alder's Ledge's creation in the first place. It is the heart and soul of why this blog exist. And it is the blood in our cracked voices as we scream for those suffering that same fate. 

I know that many who read this blog don't have that scar to keep them entangled in what can be easily written off as "someone else's fight". It isn't easy to deal with genocide no matter what you own history with it might be. And it certainly isn't a topic that we often think about bringing up, let alone as often as this blog does. 

But I would like to make this plea once again. 

When I look at Burma I see entire masses of people being forced into the struggle I have faced since my eyes were first opened. What is being stolen from them isn't something that they will ever be able to restore to the way it was prior to all this. Many of them are already a generation or two into this battle to hold onto their heritage. Their mothers, their fathers, and for some their grandparents... all watch as their children are robbed of their culture, their history, their family. 

There is no good way to describe the suffering that comes along with this. Anger, hatred... both taint the soul as a person fights to take back what they were denied so violently. For some, those emotions never succumb to the love for life that they feel was crushed beneath the heels of their assailants. 

For me this is just a little of why I fight. It is what motivates these post. And hopefully, the heart of this has been seen in every word. 

Now I would like to ask that those reading this put these post into their own words... with your own heart. Take everything you can from these articles and utilize them to get the message out. Don't let your voice be silent as the Rohingya people are robbed of their humanity. Scream with us. Join us. Fight with us.

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Some Sources Used:


Bangkok Post


August 19, 2013

The Dragon, Tiger, And Elephant

Land Of The Lost 

When my family first came to America they settled in the warmth of the Virginia mountains. In those calm mountains they made a better life for their future generations. The love for those beautiful mountains flows in my veins. It is a desire for their presence that never leaves my soul as I wander the world in search of a peace I will not find out from beneath their shadows. In the hills, among the trees and cool night air, my mind finds itself a sense of being at home.

The picture above reminded me of those Virginian mountains to which I'm so often drawn. In those old forest I see the warmth that first welcomed my ancestors to this land of the free. In those blue shadows I see the gentle peace that brought my family out of Europe's callousness. But I can't help but realize that despite the beauty of that picture there is something far different than freedom nestled in those mountains above.

The picture above is of the mountains in Azad Kashmir. Just to the east of those peaks lay the line of control... a demarcation between Indian and Pakistan. It is one of the world's most militarized zones. It is a place on the planet that two armies stand and stare at one another as a war that officially ended decades ago waits for the spark to reignite it. Millions of men wait to die on both sides of the wire. Millions of innocent souls wait to be caught up in the crossfire.

Kashmir is a land of lost beauty. Despite all the wonders it has to offer the world it is caught between three nations that make life impossible. Everything and everyone that remains between the three beasts does so with the constant reminder that death isn't far away. Every flower that blooms risk being savagely crushed beneath the heels of jackboots on their way to the next massacre. This is the irony of one of the world's most neglected lands... a paradise lost.

The Dragon

China is in Kashmir as it is in Tibet, an opportunistic savage. There is no better way to describe the persistent pain that China has created in the eastern portion of Kashmir. Through aggression and refusal to cede land it never really had claim to, China has injected itself into India and Pakistan's war. 

The area of Aksai Chin was forcibly annexed when in 1956-7 the Chinese military moved their forces into Ladakh to build a road capable of moving military equipment south from Xinjiang province. The excuse that the world has accepted is that China wanted to provide better communication between Xinjiang and Tibet. However this is hard to explain outside the realization that China occupies both Tibet and Xinjiang through military might and has no real claim to either. 

The desire to annex Aksai Chin led to a short but nasty little war in which India's line of control was shifted. This once again divided up the Kashmir and placed yet again more families on opposite sides of the fence. Pakistan took the opportunity to antagonize it's rival to the south by handing over even more land claimed by India at the end of the war. This once again added another layer to the conflict ridden area. 

As for China the move to invade the region was something of an effort to create a buffer zone between it's Muslim population in Xinjiang and the Muslims of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This show of unpunished aggression allowed China the ability to make it's presence felt in the Muslim world. It showed the Uyghur Muslims that the state could and would use force to keep Xinjiang... and every last inch of it. 

This use of force is still reflected upon today as China pumps Xinjiang and Tibet full of military and security personnel. The road that launched the conflict is still utilized to maintain the buffer zone between Islamic ethnic minorities in China and the rest of the Muslim world. Even with the Internet and television weakening that physical barrier, China still maintains it's presence in Aksai Chin. 

The Tiger

Pakistan is often accused of inflaming the Muslim population of Kashmir with propaganda and anti-Indian messages. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the Pakistani government was accused of providing Afghan Mujahadeen with passage into the Kashmir. This claim, mainly by India, was used to explain the influx of Kashmiri nationalism as the youth of the region became increasingly disenfranchised. Though there is a little truth to the allegations that Pakistan has provided some assistance to militant groups operating on the opposite side of the wire the reality of brutal Indian policies should be first blamed. Yet the claims still persist to this day. 

The desire to absorb the Kashmir in it's entirety and the refuse to allow the Kashmir to express it's right to self-determination has been Pakistan's main failure. Unlike China, Pakistan does not appear to want any such buffer zone left between their country and India. The desire to claim the land is further expressed through Pakistan's constant highlighting of the reality that the Kashmir is predominately Muslim. This shows Pakistan's desire to finish the bloody mess the British left behind when the Sikhs, Muslims, and Hindus were left to race toward their respective homelands (in which the Sikhs were left empty handed).

This desire to force the Kashmir into Pakistan rule is not a new one. In 1947 the hellish fighting that ensued was a direct result of Pakistan's willingness to push it's will upon the Kashmiri people. The land had been left in a standstill as the rulers decided which country they wanted to join at the end of British rule. Pakistan sent in it's guerrillas to rush along the decision making process while India offered it's military to push back the Pashtuns. The war that followed was the exact reason that India now maintains a line of control and divides the Kashmir region with it's presence. 

Another result of the war is the Azad Kashmir district on the western edge of Kashmir. This strip of land is all that the Kashmir region has to show for it's first attempt at self-determination after the fall of British occupation. A sliver of land that echoes the mistakes of long dead men. 

Pakistan continues to antagonize the Kashmir people with promises of freedom. It shows the world one face while creating excuses for India's overreactions along the militarized line of control. Playing the victim, Pakistan attempts frequently to fly one flag while preparing to run up another. 

This toying with the fate of the Kashmiri people serves only to satisfy Pakistan's desire to rule the Kashmir region. It serves to keep the region in chaos as the Indian government shifts it's weight to maintain control. In this aspect the government of Pakistan seeks to inflict a death of a thousand cuts... biting the elephant ever so often just to keep it bleeding. As a result the Kashmiri people themselves pay for the callousness of Pakistan's actions. 

The Elephant

India's presence in the Kashmir region has little to do with protecting it's territory or the Hindu minority in the Kashmir state. It has mainly to do with taking what India views is rightfully it's own. When the British left the Indian government that took over was less than willing to recognize the right of Pakistan to exist. This meant that Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) was just as much a nuisance as Pakistan was to the newly founded India. These were all areas that the new nationalist felt rightfully belonged to the Indians themselves. After all, these were all lands that had historically been included in the Hindu realm of influence. 

Kashmir fell into the conflict that originated out of Britain's two state solution through the desire of India and Pakistan to segregate the states by religion. So despite India having no real reason to claim an area that was predominately Muslim, the new government took the opportunity to do just that. Disregarding the initial reason for two states, India took the first excuse that came along. 

When the Maharaja signed over their right to self-determination the Indian military flooded the Kashmir. In a war that threatened to engulf the entire region, the Indian pushed the Pakistani guerrillas out of the Kashmir. Then in a sign of things to come, India turned their guns on the Muslim civilians who they had been asked to protect. This was the initial excuse India used to invade the Kashmir. This was the first sign that India wanted to fulfill the promise of two states for two peoples of two different religions.

An often hidden aspect of India's occupation of the Kashmir are the abuses that the Indian government inflicts upon the Kashmiri people themselves. This was best illustrated during Ramadan when the Indian government violently responded to what began as peaceful anti-Indian protest. This once again highlighted the tension felt by Kashmiri people as they coup with the back and forth between India and Pakistan. It also however demonstrated the methods used by India as it shifts it's weight to crush any opposition to it's dominance in Kashmir. 

(Indian Police Fire Tear Gas At Protesters)

On Eid (the end of Ramadan) tensions flared between Hindus and Muslims as India began to crackdown on demonstrations against the government of India. In Jammu the violence became so incredibly dramatic that it overshadowed the Indian government's abuses across the Kashmir state. Curfews came into affect as the Indian security forces rounded up Muslims for what the state officially labelled "questioning". Those who continued to show passive resistance to the police state tactics were brought "under control" with violent force by the Indian military and police forces. 

What has followed can only be described as a blood bath.

This heavy-handed response to Kashmiri challenges to Indian rule shows the world that India has no intention of allowing a peaceful path forward for Kashmiri peoples seeking independence. Though the original British mandate had indicated the right of the Kashmiri people to choose for themselves to which (if either) government they wanted to belong, India claims they made their choice. There is no room in India's resolve to admit that the Kashmiri people were forced into submission. There is no room for admitting that a bribe was all it took to crush the soul of a people.

Without a peaceful path to change...
violence devours all.

Just as with the Uyghur, whom China attempts to subdue through ethnic cleansing, the Kashmiri people will continue to seek a path toward self-determination. Without the right to decide their own fate as a people, as a nation, they will strive toward that end goal relentlessly. It is a condition in the human spirit that is undeniable and cannot be withheld from any people. It is the part of a nation's spirit that gave rise to countries such as India in the first place. And yet it is the portion of the Kashmiri story that has been withheld from the start. 

Britain, in all its mistakes, realized that it could no longer control the destiny of modern nations through military dominance. The empire that never saw the sun set fell because it refused to allow ethnic, religious, and cultural groups the right to determine their own path forward. It was for this reason that many of the areas that the Brits left behind are still in turmoil today.

For Kashmir this hunger has devoured the beauty the land has to offer the world. The culture, the food, the knowledge; all are lost to war and greed. The beauty of it's mountains, it's people, and it's heritage; all are withheld as three beasts of nations continue to rip it's people apart.

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Some of the Source Documents used:

New York Times

Huffington Post 

Channel News Asia

Gulf Times

Voice Of America 

August 16, 2013

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

China's Silent Crackdown

China has decided to increase it's heavily armed police presence across the Xinjiang region. Locals of both the Uyghur and Han ethnic groups have reported that there are more Chinese troops in the region than in any year since 2009. Riot police routinely block access to mosque and patrol Uyghur villages and neighborhoods. Freedoms that are taken for granted in the West are now alien to the oppressed peoples of Xinjiang

The official excuse for the sudden tidal wave of Chinese police in the province is the June 2009 ethnic violence in Urumqi. Yet this year things seem to have gotten out of control. While small shows of dissent around the morbid anniversary are just as much a tradition now as the increased police presence has become, this year is worse. This year is a turn for the worse.

Peaceful displays of contempt were replaced by a violent attack on police by knife wielding civilians. This violent spark was all it took to bring down the heel of the Chinese jackboots. With the excuse secured, the Chinese government decided to show it's muscle by bringing in combat ready police units. Security forces bristled as Ramadan approached. The dogs of war had come to Xinjiang over what could had been handled by local police forces.

This over reaction by China has become typical as the communist leaders continue to push a narrative of "jihad and a "war on terror" in it's far western province. The opportunistic politicians in Beijing have utilized the "unrest" of their own making to push economic growth at the expense of local citizens. This over development of Xinjiang has allowed the Chinese to shift it's growing economy off the eastern shores and out onto the mineral rich lands of Xinjiang. It has also allowed however the racism of the ruling political class to disrupt the social structure that previously existed in Xinjiang.

For decades this tinge of racism has inundated Xinjiang as government schools have pushed the idea that Han Chinese are superior to the Uyghur minorities. This is highlighted by the continued segregation of Uyghur children from Han children. Those who are placed in the same classes with Han students far too often suffer abuse at the hands of teachers and pupils alike. Yet the state does nothing to correct either the abuse or the segregation the abuse is used to justify.

Then there are the state programs that offer Han benefits for moving to Xinjiang while the state simultaneously attempts to push Uyghur citizens out. Taking Uyghur females to the East to work in what amounts to forced labor has been a long running trait of the Chinese government. This practice alone could push any good intentioned individual to the point of questioning the state's motives. It not only acts as a state sponsored method of deportations but threatens the ethnic group as a whole.

All of this has been done this year under the weight of a massive police buildup. A buildup that has allowed China to begin what some speculate is a "silent crackdown". This means that China is sweeping through Uyghur neighborhoods and mosque making mass arrest. Only this time they aren't chasing the Uyghur around the city beating their victims where everyone can see. This time China is collecting their victims in night raids and door to door arrests.

Since August 8th Uyghur have reported that the attendance at mosque has been down at least by three quarters what it was prior. This is in part due to unreasonable bans on prayer times and travel for Uyghur Muslims. It also is believed to be in part due to the silent crackdown that has been occurring for over around a week now.

Imams have reported that Uyghur youth are not able or do not dare show up for prayers after the August 7th police violence (in which the Chinese police shot a four year old girl). Some have pointed to the conclusion that many of the youth may be among the "detained". This would mean that the Chinese are collecting the youth of the Uyghur community just as they did prior to Ramadan in areas of Xinjiang.

Aykol Uyghur Suffer Mass Arrests 
After Eid Massacre

The main reason for the mass arrest in Aykol has been the police violence that occurred on August 7th. The incident began with what China's police viewed as a "routine arrest". The state official had directed police to gather two individuals on the charges of "unlawful religious practices". When the crowd at the mosque gathered to watch the arrests the inevitable happened. The police decided to antagonize the onlookers with their usual displays of force.

When the situation began to deteriorate it wasn't from lack of the officers' best efforts. The Uyghur crowd asked why the two men were not allowed to enter in and pray and simply be arrested afterward. That is when the police decided to show their force in a more profound manner... live ammunition. 

Civilians report that around one third of the crowd began to retaliate with rocks as the police popped off shot after shot. Another third of the crowd offered moral support as they backed off the battle lines that promptly formed. While the remaining third began to break and run. 

This wasn't the fire fight that China has reported. It wasn't a running battle either. This was the result of rabid police who had been encouraged to use deadly force at the drop of a hat. This was a small group of Uyghur civilians who had been pushed too far and had decided to defend themselves by any means. No, this wasn't the shoot out that the police told state media. This was savagery... state sponsored savagery. 

A young girl, only four years of age, paid in blood for the lack of self-control that the police showed that day. From their lack of integrity this young girl learned a lesson, for right or for wrong, that police in her country can't be trusted. That lesson, learned from the sting of a bullet, isn't one that goes way simply because the state tells you it is wrong either. That is a lesson that will forever be remembered in the scar it left behind. 

As for the Uyghur community in Aykol and the surrounding area, this tragic attack left at least four dead and around 50 (updated from 21) injured. It was not only a stain upon the community's Eid celebrations but was the start of a police siege of the village and surrounding area. This blood bath brought the Uyghur community only more suffering in the week that has followed it.

Sweeping through the area the police collected around 300 to 400 Uyghurs. Officially the victims of this roundup are just in for questioning. However many of the family members believe that their imprisoned relatives are on their way to long term detention. This fear is accompanied by the reality that China has recently sentenced Uyghur to death for similar alleged offenses. And since China executes (at times publicly) more civilians than any other country in the world, this fear is very real to the hundreds of Uyghur the Chinese have arrested over the past week. 

Time To Scream

In response to China's heightened police presence in Xinjiang province we would like to invite all those who read this to "scream" with Alder's Ledge. We understand that this tragedy is not as dramatic as those occurring in Syria, Egypt, and other war torn areas of the world. Yet it is our duty and the mission of Alder's Ledge to scream for all oppressed and suffering peoples of our sad little world. And for this reason we have decided to relentlessly cover the suffering of the Uyghur people. We want to bring a light into the dark reality that is the plight of the Uyghur community. And to do this we need you... we need your voice. 

Screaming is easy in this modern world. Almost too easy, yet it is essential. 

All you have to do is put your voice out there and tell the stories of the Uyghur who are suffering under China's oppressive system. You can do this by sharing articles like this one on your social media outlets. You can do this by starting the conversation in your own way on Twitter, Facebook, or better yet... in person. 

Your voice can break the silence that surrounds these tragic events. All you have to do is use it. All you have to do is scream.

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August 13, 2013

These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends

"And In Their Triumph Die, Like Fire And Powder
Which, As They Kiss, Consume."

Innocent Blood

China has taken to a policy of exploitation and dehumanization of it's Uyghur Muslim population in the troubled Xinjiang province. Through the oppressive tactics of exploiting Uyghur as a supply of cheap labor through legislative processes the Chinese have locked the Uyghur people into the role of a permanent underclass. The government routinely looks the other ways as members of the Han majority ethnic group use mob violence to put Uyghur back beneath the heel of People's Republic. When Uyghur dare to fight back against savage attacks they are quickly put down by Chinese security forces.

This is exactly what happened as Uyghur Muslims gathered at the Peyshenbe Bazaar Mosque in Aykol, Xinjiang. According to the official state report the police were supposedly unarmed and simply attempting to arrest a couple worshipers who had been reported to have violated the strict religious laws of China. However if this is to be believed one would have to wonder how the incident quickly spiraled out of control leaving at least four dead and around 20 more wounded. Not a single security officer was injured.

Upon arrival at the Mosque the Chinese police did in fact begin their roundups of Uyghur men they claimed had violated laws restricting religious practices within China. But the security personnel were far from unarmed and simply acting out of legal precedent. The moment the Uyghur showed any resistance to the police officers' displays of force the Chinese security radioed in for backup and commenced to firing live ammunition in amongst the gathered Uyghur civilians. As the bullets began to fly the police's violent tendencies led to a violent tragedy.

Several reports vary on where and how severely Subhinur Memet, a four year old girl, was injured after being struck by police bullets. Some indicate that the little girl took a bullet to the chest while others say that she had been struck in the leg. On any account the young girl collapsed as the police continued to pour bullets into the area where she had fell. As of now the young girl is believed to be alive at least.

Everyone who has reported on the barbaric actions of the police in Aykol agree that tensions between the Uyghur and Chinese authorities flared immensely when the four year old girl was struck down. The Uyghur worshipers apparently ceased from fleeing the fight and turned to attack the police with sticks and stones. With this the police showed more force and more barbarism in their attack by firing even more rounds at closer range.

The result was devastating in a town where relations between the Uyghur population and the Chinese authorities were already strained. With four confirmed dead civilians (some indicate the casualties could be much higher) and a low estimate of at least 20 wounded the town was turned into a miniature police state. After the blood bath was over the Chinese flooded Aykol with every type of police unit they could find.

In response to the resistance that the Uyghur had shown at the Mosque the Chinese officials ordered raids upon Uyghur homes. List of Uyghurs who had been at the Mosque were checked off almost in order as Chinese police took to busting in doors and arresting any Uyghur man or boy who had been present earlier that day. At least three Uyghur women were also arrested by Chinese police as they cast a wide net over Aykol on the night of the Eid massacre. 

Officially only 90 people have been arrested in connection to the violence instigated by Chinese police. However some estimate that the arrest could be well over one to two hundred people as Chinese police raided neighboring villages and towns from where some worshipers had traveled from. On the following day these suspicions were only stoked even more as Aykol citizens reported gunshots from Chinese police positions around the city.

So Why This Attack? Why On Eid? 

China has long restricted the rights of it's Muslim minorities across the country. For the Uyghur this had been a sore spot in the relationship Xinjiang has had with Beijing. It was further stressed as Chinese authorities began to crackdown on prayer violations and religious gatherings amongst Uyghur Muslims. Local mosque have often been kept under police surveillance as the state continues to impose restrictions on prayer times and the length of religious observances. Ramadan has thus turned into a time of tribulation for the Uyghur as they struggle to observe the holy month under increased state sponsored oppression. 

With increased violence, often instigated by Chinese Han and/or police, the Uyghur have found themselves facing travel restrictions that keep them confined in smaller and smaller areas. Farmers are often kept from selling their goods as they wish so that the state's low offer is the only income they can find. Workers are restricted to certain levels of employment and kept from any entrepreneurial ventures. Religious clothing and hair styles are treated as a threat by the state, thus Uyghurs are forced to dress and look like Han Chinese. 

All of this state sponsored repression has led to an Uyghur population that is growing ever desperate for some small taste of freedom and the right to enjoy their own culture. Where they have sought compromise they have been told they must accept the Chinese customs and practices. Where they have attempted to make peace the state has only offered them suffering. 

Uyghur youth who take advantage of educational opportunities often denied to their fellow Uyghur students are turned back once they are done with academia. As their Han classmates move onto careers that fit their level of education, the Uyghur are returned to manual labor for below sustainable incomes. This desire to keep the Uyghur below the Han majority has added yet more stress on the ethnic relations between the two groups. 

So it is no surprise that with all this repression that harsh prayer restrictions and restrictions on religious gatherings would bring relations between Xinjiang and Beijing to a crashing halt. There is no more room for compromise on the Uyghur peoples' part. When it comes to the basic human rights (religion being one) they Uyghur cannot surrender to the will of the atheist state. And that is why incidents like this Eid massacre have taken place and will continue to occur.

These Are Not Polite Suggestions

If China is to maintain it's oppressive presence, at the very least, in Xinjiang it will have to either spill more and more blood or it will have to compromise it's communist and racial ideology. Xenophobic Beijing must learn to accept the ethnic diversity that comprises the rest of China. It will have to stop the importation of Han peasantry into Xinjiang and simply permit the wealth of China's economic growth to be granted to the Uyghurs as well. The ethnic cleansing taking place must be ended and the Uyghurs must be allowed to hold onto their homeland and their way of life. 

Senseless slaughter of any ethnic minority in China must be stopped for China to avoid genocide. Uyghurs cannot be targeted due to their ethnicity to be "destroyed in part or in whole" so that China can benefit in any way from their demise. Their memory will live on, there are always survivors. 

Therefore for China to move forward it must ease tensions by allowing religious observances to occur without police brutality, without police surveillance, and without a police presence. State dogs (officials) must be called off as Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Jews observe their given holy days. Religious dress must be tolerated for a society to live in peace and pursue economic, social, and national progress. It is not a platitude for a state to tolerate religion but a necessity for the survival of the state itself. 

Ethnic tolerance must be pursued and the bigotry that has been tolerated must be corroded through state and social policies. An education system based upon the ethnic background of the individual must be rejected and replaced with an educational system that seeks out the natural talents of each individual student. Talents and gifts are not distributed by nature, G-d, or what ever you believe in based upon ethnic heritage. China should ask itself where the world would be today if Hitler had been successful in killing off Albert Einstein and his legacy.

If China does not manage to move away from it's current policies of repression and ethnic cleansing it will face far more than stones down the road. A people who are oppressed in this manner have always shown throughout history that violence... the threat of extinction... is never sufficient at keeping them down forever. The Armenians rose up to meet the Young Turks and fought valiantly even as the Ottomans threatened to kill off every Armenian as a result. The Jewish partisans in Yugoslavia, Russia, Poland, and across Europe took to violent resistance as the threat of Nazism engulfed the world around them. Native Americans time and time again stood between death and the United States and yet they fought more fiercely than anyone could had imagined. 

In the end China will have to remember the words of JFK as they continue to repress the Uyghur people.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." 
~John F. Kennedy

This is not a "jihad" for the unlawful control of their country. This is not a war to take from China land, material wealth, or even souls. This isn't even a war at all in the aspect that one side has nothing with which to fight back. This is a struggle by the Uyghur people to keep their heritage alive, to keep their religious rights from being wiped away. This is the struggle of a people to maintain their cultural identity as the Chinese government attempts to take from them the last hallmarks of their culture... their religion. 

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Source Documents
(Note: not all sources listed)

Radio Free Asia

The Epoch Times

August 8, 2013

Brazil's Battle of Fallen Timbers

Awa Tribe Faces Extinction

(Young Awa boy in front of illegally torched forest. Image property of Peter Frey.)

The Awa people have been described as the world's most endangered ethnic group. For years now they have faced the tribulations of disease and illness that come from initial contact with the outside world. This has been compounded by the illegal logging and torching of their forest in Brazil's portion of the Amazon. When they dare to stand their ground the reality of fighting guns and fire with bows and spears always pits the Awa against annihilation. A simple bow and arrow after all is no match for the modern firearms that the illegal loggers use to push Awa deeper into the forest.

History has shown the Americas how this initial contact drama has played out in the past. When the Europeans came to the Americas the "virgin soil" epidemics spread a weapon far more fatal than their bullets could every be. Diseases, such as small pox, were utilized by Spanish, English, and French explorers who sought out gold, soil, and fame. These epidemics drastically culled the tribes as the white conquers continued to push westward. At times the biological warfare was all the Europeans needed to decimate given tribes.

In the case of the Awa this phenomenon associated with initial contact cannot be documented for sure. We do not know how many Awa are still left uncontacted by the outside world. Therefore we cannot determine just how many will perish as loggers, trains, and oil corporations push their way into the rainforest. Yet if we look at the long and tragic history of tribal extinction in both North and South America we can see that the few who will survive will be a minute percent of how many Awa currently remain alive.

Since the start of massive waves of illegal logging on Awa land the indigenous people have lost at least 30 percent of their forests. The loss of this timber contributes to reported hunger and starvation amongst Awa peoples. Without the cover of the forest the Awa people, who are nomadic and survive upon hunting and gathering, cannot find the game animals they traditionally hunt. If the animals the Awa need to survive are continually killed in massive amounts by outsiders (poachers and loggers alike) the Awa will suffer increased hunger. And with hunger comes desperation that could lead to more Awa being forced into contact with the outside world.

For native peoples in North America hunger was used as a weapon to keep the population of the tribes on the Great Plains under control. Herds of buffalo were slaughtered intentionally as the government and private enterprise offered incentive by buying the hides at inflated prices. Railroads were then pushed out across the plains and as a result the buffalo were killed off at an ever increasing rate. This led to starvation and the displacement of countless tribes. Those who could no longer find food were offered by the United States cultural extinction through the reservation process.

In Brazil the Awa are given limited legal protection. Their right to live in their homeland free and unexploited is left in the hands of a government that has struggled to muster the needed force to protect the Awa. Instead of offering reservations the Brazilian government has decided to attempt to isolate the Awa and keep their land free of invading settlers and outside companies. This however has been a failed policy.

Hunger and disease have been spread rapidly among the Awa people. With the Vale railway company pushing to double it's railway tracks through Awa territory the threat of both hunger and disease increases. Campaigns to protest and block the company from expanding their destructive exploitation of Awa lands have seen no real gains as the Brazilian government looks the other way.

In July of 2013 the Brazilian government did however deploy troops to the Awa lands where they were ordered to defend the rainforest at all cost. They were given permission to arrest loggers, illegal settlers, and poachers without restraint. Yet the campaign showed little effect as Awa were once again put in a position where likely contact with the outside world was drastically increased. The trade off in this push by Brazil was that logging camps, unlawful ranches, and poachers were temporarily pushed out while Awa were exposed to tanks, helicopters, and state troops.

So what is the threat of contact exactly? 

With contact comes the loss of cultural identities that many in the outside world find almost valueless. Like tribes around the world, the Awa stand to lose their traditional way of life, their language, and their social structure. The push with contacted tribes has always been one of forced assimilation and the cultural genocide of native ways of life. This has been evident in contacted native populations across the Amazon. Brazil being no exception to this tragic reality.

Contact with the outside world has also proven to be often more fatal than the world community first admits. From the 1980's, when Brazil first allowed the railway and mine constructions on Awa land, the workers for outside companies have committed countless massacres against Awa families. These atrocities have been committed in both efforts to push Awa out of their homes and to support other heinous crimes. Awa who are spotted by rail workers and loggers are therefore at risk of being shot on sight.

Cattle ranchers have further shown why Awa people cannot trust outside invaders who show up on their lands. When cattle ranchers burn large portions of land they expose Awa to countless risk. Not only are Awa lives put at risk the animals that Awa both keep and hunt are endangered. Any Awa who are spotted during such activities are ran off or shot by ranchers who view the Awa as obstacles and not humans.

Health, food, and freedom are all put at risk through contact. These are all three things that the Awa cannot get back once they adapt to life amongst the outsiders. The health care system that Brazil has put in place for the Awa would be laughable if it wasn't so tragically flawed. The food that Awa have enjoyed for generations cannot be supplemented by the outside world. And the freedom to maintain their way of life as the Awa people see fit is immediately lost when they surrender their lands to the state and corporations.

All of this has left the world with one major question... how much is the preservation of a peoples' culture worth?

Lumber, iron ore, and much coveted land are all on the table as corporations and private enterprise wring their hands while looking at the Awa people's forests. The greed of the developed world cannot be ignored as the world community watches the extinction of a native people. Though we have watched it happen time and time again, we must now ask ourselves if any of these things are worth the value of this priceless treasure... the Awa people and their culture.

If we do nothing to stop the exploitation of the Awa we will watch as a portion of humanity's diversity is driven into history. Once the Awa are gone they will take everything they know with them. Every aspect of their lives, every aspect of their language, every aspect of their society will be lost for the rest of time.

You can learn more about the Awa by visiting Survival International.

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Source Documents
(Note: not all sources listed)

Daily Mail

Huffington Post

Survival International