He gazes out the window as he stirs the strong Turkish brew, observing glorious shapes and colors created centuries ago. A vibrant scene displays a masterpiece that has withstood struggle and strife.
The man completed his daily ritual of morning prayers before he entered the cafe. The morning paper awaits his attention as he sips the strong, delicious coffee.
News remains favorable to the current president and will continue without reservation, as he seems to take a dictatorial stance, not what the founder of the modern country intended.
He stirs his coffee again, reflecting on the current state of affairs.
Although he does not like the country’s trajectory, the man prefers religion over the atheism encouraged by the founder.
Chills emerge in his being as he reflects on his birth country’s view of religion, a place he departed from years earlier.
No matter this president’s intentions, the man feels appreciation for the religious freedom this country not only accepts, but encourages.
The man looks up, giving a prayer of thanks. Unlike his brothers, he saw the writing on the wall, but was unaware of how far the iron-clad oppression would unfold.
Tears fill his eyes and begin streaming down his face. He wipes the droplets away with his napkin, looking around to ensure no one was staring.
The man scrunches his napkin and thinks about his family, especially his two brothers.
Once upon a time, the government shined a light on them, celebrating their achievements and contributions to the community.
He and his brothers knew nothing about how far things would go. He shakes his head, reminding himself how frightening the situation has become in that powerful country.
His mind wanders, remembering his concerns as he expressed them to his brothers. Years have passed since the last time they were together. He looks out the window, trying to envision their faces. His imagination springs them to life. The man smiles, feeling a soaring love explode in his heart.
The man muffles a cry, looking around the cafe. Nobody seems to notice his response.
Gulping, he drinks his coffee to redirect his attention.
The man regains his composure and examines his coffee cup. He motions to the server, smiling and gesturing for more. She returns the smile to the familiar, affable gentleman, rimming the coffee. The man laughs as she walks toward another customer. Yes, he acknowledges, she knows my coffee ways, continuing to chuckle.
His focus returns to his brilliant, vivacious brothers, Ruzi and Memet. Their meticulous attention to detail was stellar, with no one remotely at their level. He trusted them with his life and never doubted their ability to manage the family’s massive businesses.
The devastating losses because of the government’s seizures paled compared to the disappearances of his brothers. He has not heard a peep since 2017. Are they alive? He wonders regularly with great sadness.
Generations of family built Korla to the success it has become.
They were a religious minority that seemed to garner respect from the country at large. To his knowledge, no one acted in a way that challenged the laws of the land, unlike their brethren in other parts of the world.
The man looks at his watch and waves to the server. Knowing the cost, he leaves payment with a generous tip, waving goodbye to the friendly staff. He reflects on the debacle as he departs and turns his eyes upward again, thanking Allah for delivering him and his family to Turkey.
Author’s Note: In a September 24, 2021 article, the Wall Street Journal discussed the plight of the Uyghurs. The information highlights the seizure of assets and the persecution and imprisonment of the Uyghurs.
The CCP no longer tolerates the practice of this religion or any.
Uyghur business owners once served as a “bridge between the government and their communities.”
I wove a story around Omerjan Hemdul, a 31-year-old business owner living in Turkey as I imagine he reflects on his brothers, whose massive family holdings in Korla, China, are now properties of the state.
Confiscation of Uyghurs’ properties is a regular occurrence, and mosques and other religious sites are being destroyed, as reported by the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
Image attribution: By SFT HQ (Students for a Free Tibet) – https://www.flickr.com/photos/sfthq/3947356261/in/set-72157622315193655, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35633863