Month: October 2013

The Dreams of Uyghur Kids and the Film On A Tightrope

As the coils of economic development have tightened around the cities of Southern Xinjiang over the past dozen years, many Uyghur parents have increasingly found themselves without land, jobs and stable futures. In many cases the strain of existential insecurity is most sharply expressed in the lives of children. Kids who grow up in extreme poverty, speaking a minor language, are often left to fend for themselves as one or more of their parents leave to find odd and rare jobs in the city. If they are lucky these kids will stay with grandparents or uncles, but in some cases particularly if a father dies or disappears these children end up in orphanages or, per a dominant stereotype regarding Uyghur children born in the “balinghou” generation, they will be forced to join gangs of roving pickpockets. Trinh Min Ha once wrote that a stereotype is an “arrested representation of a changing reality,” that is, they are stories which have an element of truth but don’t necessarily neatly match the lived experience of those they address. …