Uyghurs Stand With Ukrainians

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March 7, 2022 | The Diplomat | By Omer Kanat

I know what it means to be dislocated at the hands of an occupying armed force — the terror and pain over the loss of a homeland, the immediate urgency of staying alive, the uncertain future and the fight ahead. My family left my hometown of Ghulja, East Turkestan, in the 1970s, crossing the short border between China and Afghanistan to seek sanctuary in Kabul. Our story of exile is the story of millions of Uyghurs and the hundreds of millions of displaced people across the globe.

Uyghurs stand with Ukrainians against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on their precious land. We stand with Ukrainians because Uyghurs cherish freedom and understand what it takes to protect it. Uyghurs stand with Ukrainians because our authoritarian oppressor, Xi Jinping, is a key enabler in the tragedy unfolding in eastern Europe. All of us who have our liberty must do better in ending the nightmares of people under assault, wherever they are.

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