National Geographic : 2009 Dec
EDITOR'S NOTE PHOTO: MATTHEW TEAGUE Writer Matthew Teague photo- graphed these Uygur men, advancing upon Chinese forces, moments before they were shot. Many people carry cameras these days. Some have uncommon courage. On page 36 of this issue, in the story "The Other Tibet," there is a photo- graph taken with a cell phone. The photographer was not a professional. She was a Uygur woman who documented the shooting of a Uygur man by Chinese security forces on a street in Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang region. She later gave the picture to National Geographic's photographer Carolyn Drake. Like their Tibetan neighbors, the Uygurs have a history of struggle, but when Carolyn began covering them more than a year ago, she had no idea that the con- flict would explode into one of China's most deadly uprisings since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. By June of this year, she thought her coverage was finished; she returned home to Istanbul. Then hints of unrest began to filter back to her. "At first I didn't realize the severity of it. I started sending emails to my translator and friends in Kashgar, Hotan, and Urumqi, but no one responded." She anxiously searched news sources, but the picture of what was going on seemed incomplete and unclear. There was only one way to find out: return to China. She did so in July. Carolyn, writer Matthew Teague, and a Uygur woman with a cell phone camera all took great risks to bring us the story of a struggle for human rights. Many people carry cameras these days. Sometimes they help us find the truth.