Thursday, July 9, 2009

Moses in the NYT

Dr. Russell Leigh, that is. My old Professor at the U of M was on CNN last year during the Olympics and now he has an Op-Ed in the NYT clearly and coldly explaining what is really going down.

Check it out.

In my last post i said that the Han arguments of "ingratitude" are laughably weak -- and they are -- but not the force that supports and enforces these arguments. In that same post, in the last paragraph, I share the sentiment that Moses clearly states in his Op Ed: Uighers and Tibetans are doomed.

Here, a relevant quote from Wendell Berry:

"A community, especially a rural community, is understood by its public servants as provincial, backward and benighted, unmodern, unprogressive, unlike 'us,' and therefore in need of whatever changes are proposed for it by outside interests (to the profit of the outside interests). Anyone who thinks of himself or herself as a member of such a community will sooner or later see that the community is under attack morally as well as economically. And this attack masquerades invariably as altruism: the community must be plundered, expropriated, or morally offended for its own good -- but its good is invariably defined by the interest of the invader. The community is not asked whether or not it wishes to be changed, or how it wishes to be changed, or what it wishes to change into. The community is deemed to be backward and provincial, it is taught to believe and to regret that it is backward and provincial, and it is thereby taught to welcome the purposes of its invaders."


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3 comments:

charlie said...

I agree that the ingratitude defense is as laughably weak as claiming that Green Dam was designed to protect citizens from the internet.

This isn't a story of good versus evil but powerful versus weak. As history demonstrates, weak societies in a territorial dispute will be consumed by the powerful. The winner gets to write the history books.

Unlike Native Americans it won't be a violent takeover but a gradual economic and societal breakdown and transplant over a generation. Tibet is obviously in the same boat.

jaylifoto | Wedding Photographer said...

To most Chinese families, the two most important things are having children and kids' education. Preferential treatments for minorities are institutionalized so that any minority group could have more children, and get in colleges/universities much more easily. Most Han Chinese accept this unlevel playing field as good for the whole. This is not to say there are not discrimination in non-government job hiring, as it is legal to discriminate against any group, be it minority, woman, handicap, age, language etc. for private enterprises.

My personal take on the resentments you sensed are frustrations of people who are not able to compete in this new free wheeling economic orders. Han Chinese are more adaptable to new situations, and it is evident from success stories of Chinese immigrants around the world.

sascha matuszak said...

Both of your comments are related. I still believe that ingratitude is weak, because i believe in the Wendell Berry quote cited in the post. I, for better or for worse, am a Westerner who has sympathy for the quaint and dying cultures of the world. But Jay is right, if Tibetans and Uighers were able to adapt better, they could theoretically seize control of their destiny and protect that which is being lost right now.

Two things I saw that show how complicated this story is:

one was a family of Han running a copy shop in Hotan, all of the Uigher woman came to them for photos because there was no where else to go. No Uigher had "mastered" the skill of passport pics in Hotan yet. And this family was surrounded by Han convenience stores and noodle shops. Han are adaptable and business oriented, which makes them well-suited to survive in the modern world.

the other was a local big boss, a huge Uigher, who ran the local market. He sat in the back office behind a huge desk and people waited outside to meet him and do some form of business, which was not always market related, there were also disputes and family issues that he settled. Old world style business, it looked like.

I have mixed views about Progress. I am using a computer, but i dream of living off of the grid. And as confused as I am sometimes, so also is the situation in Xinjiang. Uighers who can make it are happy they did, the rest cling to the old ways for safety and stability.

The same story can be told in Belize of Peru, where Asian businessmen run things and are hated by the locals.