Magazine May 17, 2021, Issue

‘Be a Human’

Gulchehra Hoja at work (l.); Little Gul with her father in the spring of 1974 (Courtesy of Radio Free Asia/Courtesy of Gulchehra Hoja)
A Uyghur-American journalist, working for Radio Free Asia

Gulchehra Hoja is well named. Her first name refers to the face of a flower: warm, smiling, full of hope. Her last name means “teacher,” or “knowledgeable person.” “Gul,” as she is known to family and friends, is indeed smiling. But there is a lot to despair over.

Another linguistic matter: “Uighur” or “Uyghur”? Gul prefers “Uyghur,” and she wishes that our media would unite on this little matter. One people ought to have one spelling, she says, not two.

How about “Xinjiang Province” versus “East Turkestan”? “We all hate that ‘Xinjiang,’” says Gul, with a bite and a laugh. The name

Something to Consider

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