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Ms. Munira's Wedding Gifts: Trolling Uyghur Elites

by Darren Byler

In April 2016 the daughter of a well-to-do Uyghur border official in Kashgar, a woman known now simply as Ms. Munira, got married. Like many weddings of wealthy Uyghurs, it was an ostentatious affair. Since Uyghur weddings are often seen as the joining of two families, it is important that each family demonstrate their wealth and prestige. One way this happens is during the part of marriage proceedings when the bride wealth which is given to the bride’s family is announced to the attendees of the wedding. In many cases this is a low-key affair. But in some cases, as in Ms. Munira’s case, it takes on the appearance of luxury product exhibition. In these cases, an announcer called a “box opener” (snaduq echish) proclaim to all in attendance what has been given and what makes the quality of the gift extra special while the mother of the bride displays the gifts that have been given to her family. At Ms. Munira’s wedding the gifts were even more exquisite than usual and more over-the-top. Not only was there jewelry and luxury items of all sorts, but as kicker to the performance, there was a bundle of 10,000 dollars in brand-new 100 dollar bills. The wealth of Ms. Munira’s family was on display for everyone to see. As the announcer went down the list, someone filmed the conspicuous theatrics with a cellular phone and shared it on social media. Within days, the Uyghur Internet was filled with responses from Uyghurs across the province mocking the display of wealth. They offered up Disney toys, diapers, German flashlights, French perfume boxes and Amway shampoo citing the European and American origins of the commodities just as the announcer had at Ms. Munira’s wedding. Whatever they had on hand they said they would give to Ms. Munira: toilet paper, a diaper, a pacifier, hair scrunches, slippers, American and Korean sunglasses, a Java textbook, a tiny earwax picker, a football, five kilos of gold, a set of “German” false teeth, a giant stuffed banana.

Ms. Munira's Wedding Gifts: Trolling Uyghur Elites

In April 2016 the daughter of a well-to-do Uyghur border official in Kashgar, a woman known now simply as Ms. Munira, got married. Over the next few months representations of her wedding became a heated topic of public debate among Uyghurs.

from Anonymous Social Media Uploads (2016)
Creator: Anonymous
Posted by Darren Byler
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