“But the missing from this official story, as it was missing from official reports on the Tibetan riots, is any acknowledgment that Uighurs in general might have legitimate grievances. Grievances about the influx of ethnic Han, the relative lack of economic opportunity, demolition of their traditional cities, limitations on their right to freely practice their religion, or whatever.
That’s a serious omission because, while it is made with an eye on propagating an official story of the spread of development and prosperity, it comes with a long-term price: it inflames the very tensions it attempts to paper over. And it, with marvelous efficiency, it inflames them on both sides. Uighurs are given the impression that their concerns are considered unworthy of acknowledgment by the State, a situation that is a classic recipe for convincing people to take extreme measures. Other Chinese, meanwhile, are deprived of any context for the riots, which feeds into a colonial attitude toward Uighurs that I have experienced firsthand. If you believe that you have given a people nothing but development and progress and economic opportunity, and they rise up against you, then you will come to see them as at best treacherous and untrustworthy and at worst as less than human, with predictable consequences. Legitimate grievances or not, the riots are almost certainly doing terrible damage to the Uighur cause in China.”
“Collective violence is a funny thing. Grievances, hatreds, jealousies, and resentment can linger in the collective consciousness for a long time without being expressed through bloodshed, but the longer it simmers the more extreme the reaction when the barrier is breached and violence enters the repertoire of resistance.
I personally found the wanton violence on the part of the rioters in Urumqi to be abhorrent. But it’s also important to remember, as too many people in the United States failed to do in the aftermath to 9-11, that seeking to understand WHY somebody would commit acts of violence is NOT the same thing as condoning those acts.”
quotes from 2 sensible pieces on the most recent urumqi riots, by Imagethief and Jottings from the Granite Studio, very much worth reading for some context on the situation.
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