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"One day my father did not reply to any of my messages."

By UyghurTimes

June 20, 2022

Photo: Shayida Ali

By Shayida Ali / End Transplant Abuse

My name is Shayida Ali. I am a mother of a newborn and daughter of a loving father who gave me the best childhood. This makes me the luckiest girl in the world.

Unfortunately, being a Uyghur in this decade doesn’t allow me to be so lucky. My father was abducted by the Chinese government four years ago, and I am longing for him every day.

In order to be a good mother and do my job well at work every day, I kept ignoring my feelings. Sometimes I don’t know what to do to fight for his freedom, and I know this makes me a bad daughter. The guilt keeps filling up my mind and my body, and now I can’t sleep in peace.

I remember being such a busy college student who ran from class to class, always sending long voice messages to my father about my day. I shared with him all the fun and cool stuff that I did at school. He loved to listen because he really supported my education and wanted me to explore the world.

But one day my father did not reply to any of my messages or call me back. So, I waited a day, then a week, then a month... he never got back to me again. The colour of my world started to fade. There was no more joy, no more fun, and no cool stuff. I didn’t step out of my dorm for weeks, and it felt like I was in a prison, and the world had stopped in that dark room.

I then watched leaked videos of the camps and saw pictures of the victims who had shackles on them. They were locked in a small room with almost forty people inside. I had a hard time swallowing my food, and I couldn’t sleep on my soft bed. All I could think about was my father. I don’t know how I got out of that room. I felt numb all over.

I tried to speak to my friends and relatives, including my mom, just to get information about what was going on. All of them were so afraid to talk to me due to the strict surveillance. According to leaked documents, China considered anyone who was in contact with people abroad to be a “criminal” and sent them to one of the concentration camps.

Because there is literally no one who can tell me what has happened or happening to my family, I spend most of my time looking through google maps and searching for news reports. Evidence of forced organ harvesting, forced labour, torture, abuse, brainwashing, and even forced sterilization, have all entered the spotlight, one after the other. Every time I hear about these things I feel like I have been shot, again and again.

I want the world to know that Elijan Mamut is an amazing person who has a dream. He also allowed his daughters to have a dream by working so hard for their education. I want the world to know that Elijan Mamut is not just a number, or “possible danger”, as China (in their statement) has described the concentration camp victims. My father is an innocent Uyghur businessman who deserves to be free and to live a good life.

I want to have a very normal life and to be able to talk to my father about my new life here in America. I couldn’t tell him when I finished school, got my first job, got married, or when I held my baby for the first time. Having him by my side during all the important moments would be a luxury, but not even having the chance to talk to him is misery.

I want the world to know that my father is one of the millions of Uyghurs suffering in concentration camps. All the detained Uyghurs have a beautiful family who is crying for them, and I am just one of them. I want the world to know that Uyghurs long for freedom from the shackles of the Chinese government.

Living in a country people call “Home of the Brave” and “Land of the Free”, I sometimes question if it is fair for us to live and enjoy our life here, while millions of Uyghurs, including my father, face genocide by the Chinese government. How can I stop this? How can I raise my voice loud enough for people to hear and take action? How can I free myself from the invisible shackles of China?

I know that I am just a very simple working mom, but am constantly dealing with anxiety, sadness, and depression, on top of the general challenges in my daily life. I feel lonely and weak because of not being able to know my father’s whereabouts or the current situation of the rest of my family. I sometimes wonder, is it too much to ask for my own father? Why does the Chinese government commit such a heinous crime? We are all human at the end of the day, aren’t we?

The world said, never again. And “never again” should mean NEVER AGAIN! The world is not in peace until everyone lives in peace.

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