My neighbour is Chinese but I still shovel her snow
A thought came to me as I was shovelling my neighbour’s driveway today.
She’s an elderly Chinese woman. If one was to see us from afar, it would look like we’re having a normal conversation, she speaking and explaining things, and I nodding, responding, smiling, and returning her hand gestures.
In reality, she speaks to me only in Chinese, and I reply in English. It’s interesting, she doesn’t even act like I don’t know her language. She carries on speaking like I’m one of her own.
But I couldn’t help but have this thought – that she’s Chinese, so why should I help her? I dismissed the thought as quick as it came, because I knew it was absurd.
Why would I judge her by the actions of the Chinese government who’ve committed a heinous genocide against the Uighur people?
Sometimes though, you could find yourself applying guilt by association, it might not be accurate, but what if you find out someone supports the actions of some entity? But then again, my neighbour is super elderly and out there like a trooper, shovelling the heavy snow, and I’m not good with anyone close by doing that.
But there are people who clearly support the Chinese government’s actions of genocide. I’ve asked Chinese people in general about Muslims in Xinjiang over the past few years whenever I get a chance to speak to them (Chinese massage, work, supermarkets, etc.), and overwhelmingly, they act afraid or have a bad impression of Xinjiang. “Oh no, I would never go there!” they have said many-a-time. “They are doing bad things,” they say. Where are they getting this impression from if they’ve never been there?
The Chinese government.
And it is a genocide and nothing less: Sterilizing women so they can’t give birth anymore, mass incarceration, concentration camps (they call them “re-education camps”), torture, family separation, rape, Uighur women forced to live with Chinese men, the razing of mosques, some hundreds of years old, and on, and on. Vile, illegal, and beyond cruel. What’s more disgusting is the world response, nothing but lip service, so on it goes…
WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE?
There is nothing human about wiping a people off the face of this earth. But it’s true and it’s evident, some people are treated better than other people. Some people have more privilege than other people. The Uighur people don’t have privilege. They don’t have huge storytelling machines. They don’t have lobbies.
Unfortunately, the soft response from governments like Canada, United States (even though they declared “Genocide” seems retaliatory as one of Trump’s final moves in office literally in his last week! Where was he during his one and only term?), Pakistan (who is one of China’s besties and so deathly and immorally afraid to even utter Uighur for fear of hindered Chinese support and backlash ), and others proves that the Uighur people don’t matter.
What’s the point of diplomacy when people’s histories have and are being actively deleted and all politicians do is gesture “diplomatically”?
There are grand discussions of justice going on around the globe in a post-George Floyd world today. But when it comes down to it, justice is not just, it’s biased, and dripping with the blood of the very victims that seek that justice in the first place.
There is much grandeur around moral courage, right action, and human rights when nations speak of themselves, but when nothing is done to protect the lives of vulnerable people, you can’t help but think that the very institutions that espouse defence, courage, justice, and human rights, are not really interested in You, but interested in themselves.
No one, in their right moral mind, could allow a genocide to happen, not in 2021. They said never again right? After WW2? Yeah right.
But I’m still going to help my Chinese neighbour. I live here and she lives here. Truthfully, she may have a bad impression of Xinjiang, but then it’s language that won’t allow me to know. I’d rather not know her like that, and instead, think about this sweet old lady braving the cold weather alone, shovelling, and I coming in, and giving her a helping hand. She’s always happy I come.