i went to harvard square in the afternoon to pick up the special michael jackson issue of newsweek ($7!) that i never received in the mail. by shear coincidence there happened to be the start of a uyghur genocide protest. i stuck around to see what they had to say. one of the organizers even asked if i was with press because i had my telephoto lens. i felt a little weird being there since it's the chinese that's oppressing the uyghurs, but maybe they figured i was japanese. the uyghur situation is complicated, although there's nothing complex about chinese government repression and the jailing and killing of politically-active uyghurs. the flag they were waving was one for east turkistan AKA the chinese province of xinjiang. though the main message was to protest chinese oppression of uyghurs, the underlining message is also about secession, a far-fetched dream since china would never just abandon 1/6th it's land mass. the uyghurs join other groups like the kurds, palestinians, hmongs - people without a state. it's just a fact of our geopolitical landscape, too many different ethnic groups, not enough countries to go around. there was even a few tibetans waving their own flag in solidarity.
i feel a certain kinship to these ethnic minorities - uyghurs, tibetans - because i've been to their lands and talked with the people. i don't know what's going to happen to them, but i do know that chinese repression is wrong, and many chinese seem to believe the government propaganda. far more insidious though, even if they knew the truth, i get the feeling that many han chinese wouldn't even care, which stems from a particular kind of nationalistic racism and small-minded self-interest. i saw a few other curious chinese onlookers; they seemed nervous, pointing and whispering to each others with hands over their mouths; most likely they wouldn't necessarily agree with the protesters, but maybe they didn't want to get too close and be accidently identified as a uyghur supporter. i was curious why the organizers decided to have the protest in harvard square of all places, and not, say, somewhere in boston like the state house. what does the protest do anyway? if it was to educate people about the plight of the uyghurs, i think most people took just a passing notice of what was happening. at one point one of the organizers was trying to goad the crowd into a chant, "shame on china!" "free the uyghurs!" that seemed to be my cue to leave.
i wandered around harvard square a little bit more, looking for photo opportunities. mostly i just wanted to get out of the house and enjoy the good weather. returning to harvard square via motorcycle, i saw a small vegan protest across the street from the uyghur genocide protest. who had the pressing cause? genocide versus animal rights? i only stopped for the vegan protest because some of them were dressed up as animals. at one point a man walking behind yelled out, "boy, i could really go for some barbecue right now!" i wouldn't expect someone that rude to work harder on improving his weak comedic skills.
i stopped off at the community garden to water my plants before coming home. earlier during the day i ordered some fall bulbs (irises, crocuses, blue alliums, and some shade plants). later in the evening, i bought a few things on amazon (a memory card for my godmother, a neti pot and a book on making transparent soap for myself).