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Conversations: Rahima Mahmut - "Let Our Dialogue Joyfully Begin"

The Uyghurs are a people in the midst of a catastrophe. The UN has estimated that at least one million Uyghur Muslims have been rounded up and forced into what the Chinese government calls "reeducation" centers, but which, according to a growing body of evidence and testimony, is a euphemism for concentration camps. A place of degradation, brainwashing, forced labor, forced sterilization, and erasure of culture. Why is this being done to the Uyghurs, and do we in the 'West' play a role in their continued suffering?

In this first episode of TheCommonToad Conversations, we talk with Rahima Mahmut, an Uyghur singer, translator, interpreter, and activist.

We discuss her story, the struggle and imprisonment of her people in East Turkestan under the Chinese Communist Party, as well as the resilient culture of the Uyghurs through their ties of music, poetry, and family. It was my great privilege to have this conversation with her.

Audio Only:

Sources mentioned in the conversation: -The Diplomat - Confessions of a Xinjiang Camp Teacher

-ASPI Report on Uyghur camps and forced labor supply chain

-Land Drenched in Tears, by Söyüngül Chanisheff(Author), Rahima Mahmut(Translator)

-Jewish News hosts a discussion with Rahima Mahmut, Maajid Nawaz, Mia Hasenson-Gross from René Cassin and Oliva Marks-Woldman from Holocaust Memorial Day trust

-Rahima's Newsweek Op-Ed


-PBS Frontline: China Undercover documentary

-Vox: 5 real steps the US could take to help Uighurs in China

*The music at the end of this episode features Rahima singing. This beautiful song is called 'Tarim,' about a labor camp on the Tarim river during the Cultural Revolution. She provided this translation for us: ‘Farewell, loved ones -

I have left for the banks of Tarim.

Farewell, roses of my desire that I danced with growing up.

I have left for the banks of Tarim, and tirelessly I shall labour.

If you come to Tarim, with flowers I shall adorn you.’

Follow Rahima Mahmut on Twitter

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