“The Big City” novel by Farhat Shui is the best example of Uyghur colonial literature” – Uyghur

The novel “The Big City” by the imprisoned Uyghur writer Farhat Sey was published in English under the title “The Backstreets” by Columbia University Press in the United States. The novel was translated into English in the joint effort of American Uyghur cultural researcher and anthropologist Derren Byler and another anonymous translator. In this novel titled “Big City”, the author sheds light on the mental picture of the colonial Uyghur society through the fragmented world of an image in the novel, describing complex and multifaceted feelings.

Although Farhat Shiv wanted to publish this novel in English years ago, translator Derren Byler, considering the situation at the time, and fearing that the author would have a disagreement, decided not to publish the novel for the time being. Thousands of Uyghur elites, including the writer Farhat Seyy, have been abducted in China since the second half of 2016. An unnamed translator involved in the English translation of the novel was also arrested. After that, Derren Bailer decided to publish this novel by Farhat Seyyaw in the United States.

ប្រ្រង្រ្រ្រ្រ្រ្រេ
The novel “The Big City” by the imprisoned Uyghur writer Mr. Farhat Sayy was published in English under the title “Backstreets” by Columbia University Press in the United States.
RFA/Azigh

In this regard, Mr. Derren Byler, an anthropologist and lecturer at Simon Fraser University, accepted our special interview. Speaking about the process of deciding whether to publish a novel, he said:

“It was learned that Parhat and the assistant translator who helped me translate the novel were kidnapped and imprisoned in 2017-2018. After that, I decided that “if I publish the book without revealing the names of the assistant translators, there will be no harm to them.” As a friend of both of them, the biggest thing I could do was support them and spread their “voices” that have been silenced by China to the world. That’s why I decided to publish this book.”

Derren Byler, talking about the novel, added: “In fact, the biggest obstacle was China’s surveillance and control system. The Chinese government has criminalized freedom of expression. The book itself reflects the spirit and styles of colonial and anti-racist literature.”

After the novel was published in English, it had a great impact internationally, and the world’s most famous media such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and The Economist published special news and reviews about the novel.

The tragic life and complex feelings of the main character in the novel “The Big City” by writer Farhat Shui drew the attention of readers to the life of Uyghurs once again.

Turkish writer and founder Abdulahed Handan received our interview and spoke in detail about the international impact of the novel “Big City”.

Derren Bailer, author of Farhat Siwa’s novel “The Big City”, spoke about the relationship between the current situation of the Uyghurs and said: “The Uyghur community is being marginalized and racially segregated by the Chinese colonial system. This apartheid has been forced into the daily life of Uyghurs through institutions such as the government system, the banking system or the education system. In the novel, the author fully reflects the nature of the ruling system in the Chinese region, which has taken entire social structures into its grip, by describing the protagonist’s feelings and emotions in detail.

He added: “This novel also warns of the possibility that Uyghurs will always be killed, and highlights the racism and hatred of Chinese characters. In the novel, the author also describes a place where people who are not considered ‘normal’, who are considered ‘strange or useless’ are sent. This reminds us of the collective kidnapping that started in 2017 in China’s Uyghur region. In the novel, the author also predicts what will happen in the coming years. Surprisingly, the author wrote this novel in the 1990s and revised it again in 2015. During this process, he had carefully observed the direction in which the Uighur situation was changing.

In China’s large-scale abduction of Uyghur people since the second half of 2016, the writer Farhat Shui was sent to internment camps along with hundreds of Uyghur elites. It was later revealed that he had been sentenced to 16 years in prison by the Chinese authorities.

Dr. Jurat Obul, a friend and loyal reader of Farhat Seyyeh who lives in the United States, received our special interview and shared his views on Farhat Seyyeh’s life and works.

During our visit, Ms. Handan said, “The world recognition of the literary talent of writer Farhat Seyyur shows that Uyghurs need to develop in the free world rather than being educated in prisons and camps.”

Farhat Siwa was born in 1969 in Atush, Uyghur County. In 2011, he received a doctorate degree in Chagatai language and Uyghur folklore from the Central National University in Beijing.



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