Friday 5 March saw the first in a series of webinars organised by student Uyghur solidarity activists in London and California: SOAS Uyghur Society and SoCal Students for Uyghur Justice.
This event focussed on the history of the Uyghur people and included introductions from academic researchers.
The organisers plan to make the recording available online soon — the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign UK will share it. It’s well worth solidarity activists watching to gain some background and context.
Lars Laamann looked back through centuries of the region’s history. Exploring the development of modern Uyghur national identification, David Brophy argued for solidarity campaigners to reassert the democratic principle of national self-determination. Darren Byler traced the development of the “terror capitalist” police state in the region. Rachel Harris drew on family connections and professional expertise to discuss the culture that is being destroyed, and the hollowed-out, Disneyfied performances of it used by the state and capitalists for whitewashing propaganda and tourist industry profit.
Many audience contributors, from several countries and different backgrounds, had clearly encountered Stalinist or pseudo-anti-imperialist denialism, and wanted to discuss confronting these in the context of rising superpower rivalry.
Future webinars will hear from Uyghur and other campaigners and researchers, and discuss the ongoing genocide (7pm UTC 19 March on Zoom), solidarity activism (2 April) and Uyghur arts and culture (16 April).