“The part of the Uighurs is in our part, their struggle is our struggle” – Uighur

Jewish Watch (JWW) is one of the leading organizations in the fight against genocide and violence worldwide. Including the Chinese government’s genocide against the Uyghurs in various forms.

The organization has been awarding the “Global Soul Award” every two years since 2009 to encourage and recognize those who are fighting against genocide around the world. This year’s award was given on September 18. Mr. Nuri Turkel, president of the American Commission on International Religious Freedom, who is on the front line in the fight against the Chinese government’s genocide against the Uyghurs, deserved this award, the 7th “Spirit of the World Award”.

ប្រ្រង្រ្រ្រ្រ្រ្រ្រ្រេ September 2022.
Mr. Nuri Turkel, winner of the 7th “Global Spirit Award” of the World Jewish Observatory (JWO), speaks at the award ceremony. September 2022.

The logo of the “World Spirit Award” is also very meaningful, and it is written in a circle on the top of the logo, “Whoever saves one life, it is equivalent to saving the whole world.” The World Jewish Observatory’s website about the award also states that the award ceremony is dedicated to leadership, legacy and political activism in the fight against genocide and mass atrocities.

At the award ceremony, in addition to Mr. Nuri Turkel receiving the “Global Spirit Award”, Mrs. Jane Cohen and Diana Buckhantz received the “Schulweis Legacy Award”.

Mr. Nuri Turkel received an exclusive interview with our radio about this. He believes that the award was not given to him but to the Uyghur nation; Jewish Observatory emphasized that by awarding the award to a Uyghur, it was intended to focus the world’s attention on the Uyghur genocide.

ប្រ្រង្រ្រ្រ្រ្រ្រ្រ្រេ September 2022.
Mr. Nuri Turkel, winner of the 7th “World Spirit Award” of the World Jewish Observatory (JWO), received the award. September 2022.

It turns out that since 2019, the World Jewish Observatory has started to care about the Uyghur problem. Since then, he has organized various practical activities about Uyghurs. For example, on June 22, the day after the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” passed by the Biden administration, it released a database to check whether companies are involved in forced labor. They hereby call on the United States to fully enforce the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and hold the Chinese government accountable for its crimes against humanity against Uyghurs.

The World Jewish Observatory was founded to be the voice of oppressed nations around the world, and this year marks its 18th year of service. Serena Oberstein, executive director of World Jewish Watch, said that the number 18 is a symbol of life in the Jewish people, so it is very meaningful for the “World Spirit Award” to be held on September 18.

In an interview with our radio station, Ms. Serena Oberstein said about the “Global Spirit Award”: “This year, Jewish Observatory and its 250 members will present the “Global Spirit Award” to Mr. Nuri Turkel, and the “Legacy of Schulweis Award” to Mrs. Jane Cohen and Mrs. Diana Buchhantz. did Our organization was founded in 2004, and this year we are celebrating our 18th year. The number 18 symbolizes life in Judaism. That is why this year is so important and meaningful. We are honored to have such great leaders to celebrate.”

He added: “The reason why we see Mr. Nuri Turkel, the president of the American Commission on International Religious Freedom, as worthy of this award is because he was the voice of millions without fear. As far as I know, “nur” means “light” in Uyghur. Nuri, as his name suggests, was a ‘light’ to those who were in darkness at every opportunity he was given. Although he knew that his family was in danger in eastern Turkistan, he heard the voice of the Uyghurs to the world. “Trying to be the voice of all victims of genocide and mass aggression, not just Uyghurs.”

At a time when democratic countries and various human rights organizations are supporting the Uyghurs, the Turkic ethnic groups in Central Asia, who are brothers to the Uyghurs, welcomed Xi Jinping in their countries with gifts. Mr. Nuri Turkel talked about this and noted that the world community should pay attention to the strengthening of China’s dictatorial ideology. He also asked the Western countries, “Not who did what, but did I do enough?” emphasized that the attitude should be

Ms. Serena Oberstein emphasized that countries and governments that are silent on the Uyghur massacre are complicit in this genocide. “We know what happens when the world is silent,” he said, adding that the Jewish community around the world will not stop fighting against the genocide taking place anywhere in the world. When our organization was founded 18 years ago, we set out with the slogan that when there is a genocide or mass repression in any part of the world, we should help them in the same way that Jews expect others to help them. That’s why in 2019, we took immediate action against the genocide facing Uyghurs. We know what it means for children to be separated from their parents, blindfolded, handcuffed and put on a train. We know all too well what it’s like to be sent to concentration camps and forced labor camps. Therefore, the Uighurs’ part is our part, and the struggle of the Uyghurs is our struggle.

During our visit, Mr. Nuri Turkel said that he was impressed that the people who participated in the award ceremony were sincerely trying to stop the genocide facing the Uyghurs. He also shared with us his analysis of why the Uyghur genocide is still ongoing and how to solve it.

At the end of our interview, Ms. Serena Oberstein said, “It’s not enough to just say it, there has to be action.” The word ‘never repeat’ is an ongoing promise. It’s like love. Saying ‘I love you’ to someone is not enough, there must be an act to say it. Every organization should have the intention to act accordingly, saying “Never Repeat”. World Jewish Watch stands with the Uyghurs at all times and everywhere. We hope that the Uyghur genocide and Uyghur forced labor will end quickly, but even if this struggle lasts a long time, we will try to be wherever Uyghur needs are until the end.

In the end, Mr. Nuri Turkel gave a heartfelt speech to the Uyghurs: “First of all, oppressing regimes usually do not care about the nation being oppressed; Second, it inculcates the concept that you have no human dignity and tries to completely eradicate that nation. The Uyghurs in the camps cannot hear my words. But I recommend that the Uighurs in the diaspora understand these two points and live bravely.”

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