Mercifully, none of our family and friends were at the Kunming Railway Station that terrible evening.
Yesterday, I was asked to make a few comments for the Toronto Mandarin TV News. I judge that the questions the reporter asked me shed more light on the issue than my answers. For example, I was asked if I thought that the reason the incident occurred in Kunming is because so many Uyghurs travel to Yunnan to buy drugs. Another was did I think that the reason that the Uyghurs engage in terrorism is because they want are an independent East Turkestan so they can keep all the wealth generated by natural resource extraction in Xinjiang for themselves. So is it about greed? And there was the implication that all Uyghurs, coordinated by Rebiya Kadeer with U.S. support, foment terrorism to further their cause.
But I see the Han-Uyghur conflict as fundamentally a problem of incompatible and evidently irreconcilable narratives of history about the same piece of territory. Unfortunately, the signal importance of language, culture and religion to the Uyghurs largely escapes most Han people. But the fight for recognition of their identity, the symbols of their own flag, a seat for their nation at the U.N., a free media in the Uyghur language that tells their people's story in their own terms, and of course their own schools and political leaders is to many Uyghurs their paramount abiding concern, because it is the stuff of their souls. And for this some will resort to terror and violence and even lay down their lives.
I wish that I could see some path to a resolution of all this. But, regrettably, I cannot.