As I watched evening news cycles of February 28th, I wondered why in the world CTV went to Shanghai and kept highlighting an interview with some old man living in Shanghai who was reminiscing about the 228 events. Why go all the way to Shanghai, when you have so many people in Taiwan whom you could interview? Now we see the agenda behind it.
China and KMT loyalists cannot seem to bring themselves to directly face the evil of the regimes they followed and profited from. They speak about healing and regret, but all of their comments ring hollow --as if what is really going on in their minds if they dared say it: never bring up the issue again; don't talk about it any more; we don't want it to be used against us or be negative political baggage in our pursuit for power.
In contrast to the distortions in the media, here is an actual perspective representing victims of the KMT regime:
In an interview on February 28, Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) -- someone who along with his family has suffered the most outrageous and grievous injustice perpetrated by the the KMT dictatorship -- said the following:
“It is a great insult to the Taiwanese people when the government employs abundant resources to commemorate a man who is perceived by most historians in other countries as a dictator,” Lin said when asked by reporters for comments on the government's plan to change the name of the hall back to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
“To this day, who should be held accountable for the 228 Incident remains unknown,” he said. “All the memorial services and compensation for the 228 Incident are meaningless if it remains unclear who should be held responsible.”
[and about Ma's comments...]
"...whether or not one apologizes is meaningless to overall social progress."
"...People who have committed mistakes should admit their wrongdoings and make a sincere effort to right their wrongs — not just offer an apology..."
"...to the families of the 228 Incident victims, an apology would not erase the wounds...The key is to set the record straight and let truth about the 228 Incident be known so that future generations can learn from the past."
Taipei Times 2009/3/1
The KMT might not be afraid of the Communists in China anymore, but they certainly seem to be afraid of the truth of their past governance and their self-exalting dictators Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo.
In a letter to the editor, one reader - Kris Liao of San Francisco - comments that "Despite Ma’s gestures of reconciliation toward 228 victims’ families, the wound of the savage incident will never heal because Ma and his KMT followers continue to exonerate the Chiangs’ crimes by saying they did not do the killing themselves and therefore should not be held accountable."
One might add, when such a crucial piece of Taiwan's history and identity is not clearly taught and studied in the schools, then the current Ma government apologies are meaningless.
When the subject in Taiwan is brought up, there is often the response of "let's not talk about that." But actually that is precisely what needs to be done, in the neighborhoods, in the schools, in the work place, in the government, in the public eye. Only after there is genuine truth and reconciliation can the matter be at peace.
So let's talk about it:
• Taipei at National Taiwan Normal University and National Taiwan University
• Yunlin & Nantou book release, individual families