What good can come out of patriotism? To be a proper patriot, you must overlook the failings of your country for a cause usually created by political or religious figures that draw out borders and colored lines. For some Americans, it’s imbedded in their unconscious—not just because we were raised to recite the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ every morning, but how we’re reminded that America and its government is the best. So much that some will equate patriotism to their identity.
And then there’s nationalism, which is what happens when patriotism gets out of hand. It can be seen in the YouTube videos of people speaking their mother tongue, only to be ridiculed by an American patriot to go back to where you came from. I’m not saying patriotism can’t tie a nation together during times of chaos or promote positive values. I’m saying that more often times than not, patriotism involves propaganda, and a patriot will ultimately trust the propaganda. And that propaganda may have nationalistic values at the expense of immigrants or the minority.
The Clubhouse Room
So that’s my segway into gossiping about a Clubhouse room I modded last night called ‘The Chinese Communist Party’s Genocide Against Uighurs’. I created the room with the intention to discuss the re-education (concentration) camps created by the CCP to stamp out the Uighur minority in China, and perhaps potential ways to support advocacy groups run by Uighurs outside of China.
If my two months on Clubhouse has taught me anything, it’s that if you speak loudly with a passionate tone, you’ll be heard. The room, I believe, could be split into three categories:
Category 1) Uighurs, some who witnessed the horrors of the camps or had family members separated from them. They gave helpful knowledge and perspectives that were unfortunately trampled on by category 2 and 3.
Category 2) CCP Patriots, asking for proof of over a million missing Uighurs that were put into concentration camps. They were also re-defining genocide and comparing the discrepancies with the American government which led to an immediate response from Category 3.
Category 3) American Patriots, assuming that the country China = CCP, and speaking with America is best rhetoric that I may or may not have ‘accidentally’ muted by the third hour.
Interesting dynamic that ended with an overloaded stage, and a lot of triggered patriots. Alas, this is an essay which I can maneuver the topic to my liking (unlike my modding inabilities), so let’s discuss briefly the Uighurs.
The Uighurs, and the camps
The Uighurs are a Turkish speaking Muslim Minority in China, with the majority living in China’s northwestern Shinjang region (size of Germany) and is home to roughly 11-12 million Uighurs. Their Islamic faith has put them at odds with the Chinese Communist Party, which claimed their sporadic “terrorist” attacks in Shinjang and a potential Uighur independence movement is the reasoning behind these re-education camps. But years of state-sponsored oppression and blatant discrimination against the Uighurs are the fuel of anger against the government.
To put it simply: Uighurs don’t like the CCP, so the CCP began seeing Islam as a mental illness. In 2017, Xinjian began a massive ‘re-education’ program, with over a million Uighurs taken into detention centers that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build.
What the Chinese Communist Party is now doing is strategically conducting a cultural genocide with the ultimate goal to stamp out Uighur identity.
There are reports that in the camps, there are daily lessons in patriotism, the Chinese language, and of course, being tortured by guards. It’s like the CCP took notes from George Orwell’s 1984, where you’re taken to be reformatted, reprogrammed, and brainwashed so prisoners can enter back into the world as a more proper citizen. A patriot, if you will.
Having too many children is a major reason why people are sent to detention camps, so parents of three or more children are taken (unless they pay a huge fine), and police routinely raid homes searching for hidden children. And while the CCP encourages the Han majority to have more children, Uighur births are cut with IUDs, abortions, and sterilization to cut the Muslim population.
Many countries have muted their response, since Beijing has warned foreign governments not to interfere with its internal affairs. I suppose a muted response really does mean that money trumps morality, and it is ultimately up to social media apps like Clubhouse to have difficult discussions that may or may not have a resolution. It does, however, give a perspective to a reality that patriots on both ends do not want to hear.