"Sunday, Bloody Sunday"

As a Uyghur, an indigenous people of Chinese-occupied East Turkestan, who have a splendid music and song tradition, I just love great music and songs. Not only do I enjoy great music and songs of the classical Uyghur Twelve Mukam, I also enjoy Western classical music and opera. Beethoven is amazing. Mozart is just fantastic. And the voice of Andrea Bocceli is definitely sent from heaven. They give me inner peace, relieve my daily stress and make me feel as if I am in a perfect world where different ethnic, racial, religious, social and cultural groups live in peace, love, justice and harmony, and where death and destruction are alien to all.

I rarely listen to rock music because it tends to give me a headache, disturbs my peace and makes me feel as if I am in a world of turmoil and anarchy. But I confess I do have an exception. It is the Irish rock band U2, the only rock group whose music and lyrics I like because of the political message the band conveys. I purchased one of U2's albums a decade ago and still listen to it when I drive. I listen to the album to put me back to the political reality of this world in which the struggle between good and evil continues with no end in sight and the oppressed peoples' yearning for freedom from their oppressors continues unabated.

One particular song on this album I like very much is "Sunday, Bloody Sunday". I knew this song was about a bloody crackdown on one Sunday in Northern Ireland by the British security forces a long time ago; but, I never came to understand the true meaning of this song until Chinese security forces opened fire and killed an untold number of peaceful Uyghur protestors in Urumchi on Sunday July 5, 2009. After this tragic day, I checked the lyrics and the history of the song. I couldn't help but realize the similarities between the two mass murders both of which occurred on a Sunday.

On their respective Sundays, the Irish and the Uyghurs peacefully took to the streets and demanded freedom and human dignity from their occupiers and oppressors. On both days, the barehanded protestors, risking their lives, courageously faced the security forces of the occupying powers armed to their teeth. On both occasions, they were fired upon indiscriminately and killed in cold blood. On both days, truth was suppressed, voices of change and conscience were silenced, justice was crucified, human dignity was trampled, human rights were denied, human lives were extinguished, and evil triumphed and won the battle of the day. These two infamous days became what is known to the Irish and the Uyghurs as - "Bloody Sunday".

It is undeniable the deaths of both Irish and Uyghurs were tragic on two separate Sundays decades apart but their sacrifices were noble and not in vain. In the case of the Irish killings, the British government twice investigated the situation and finally concluded the killings were both "unjustified and unjustifiable". Though it was late, in the end, justice was done for the lost souls on that Sunday in Northern Ireland.

In the case of Uyghur killings, the Chinese government didn't give a full account of the Uyghurs killed, arrested, detained, and disappeared, and didn't attempt to address the root causes of Uyghur grievances. Instead, the authoritarian government in Beijing promoted the Chinese security chief who ordered soldiers to massacre the unarmed Uyghurs and turned East Turkestan into a police state. Instead of coming to terms with its brutality and finding ways to reconcile with the Uyghur people, the authoritarian regime in Beijing executed 37 more Uyghur youths; some of whom were only teenagers.

The British government was probably compelled by its moral obligation to truly and fully investigate the killings in Northern Ireland and was finally convinced that only a peaceful dialogue with the Irish people in this occupied territory could resolve and end the painful conflict in Northern Ireland. As a result, the British government initiated a dialogue with the opposition groups in Northern Ireland and eventually reached the Good Friday Agreement by means of a referendum of the Irish people, which guaranteed their political, social, civil, religious and cultural rights. This agreement effectively ended the decade-long bloody conflict in Northern Ireland.

However, the Chinese government has never had such a moral obligation to investigate the Uyghur killings or the political will to initiate a peaceful dialogue to finally resolve the East Turkestan Question. It is simply an immoral regime, which rules one of the world's biggest countries with the largest population with an iron fist. It is a government that got power by the barrel of the gun and intends to rule China with that gun as long as its authoritarian rule is secure. The Chinese regime is always ready to kill peaceful protestors and crush their legitimate demands for freedom, human rights and democracy in order to ensure its survival. It was the same when Chinese students peacefully took to streets in Beijing and protested at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. It was the same when Tibetans protested in Lhasa on March 10, 2008. It was the same when Uyghurs protested in Urumchi on July 5, 2009. One massacre after another defines the over sixty years of rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

This July 5 will be the second anniversary of Urumchi Massacre. But how many massacres do we need to face from the Chinese regime in order to live with human dignity, enjoy our basic freedoms and democratic rights? And when will justice be done for the lost souls of Uyghurs on that Bloody Sunday nearly two years ago? When will the CCP come to its senses and rule with the consent of the governed instead of committing mass murder? How long do we need to wait for that day to come? How long must we sing this song - Sunday Bloody Sunday? Another ten years? Another 50 years? Or another 100 years? We don't have 100 years. We don't have 50 years. And we can't wait even for ten years. While the struggle is long and difficult, and many have sacrificed their lives on that Bloody Sunday nearly two years ago, we will continue to struggle until we can proudly say, "We have overcome," just like the Irish and all the oppressed peoples who finally got their freedom.