Taipei Times: Culprits behind 228 must be named

2017/02/28 18:10:01 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big

As the nation remembers the brutal Feb. 28, 1947 government crackdown, a local newspaper said on Tuesday "there is now consensus among the pan-green and pan-blue camps that those who bear responsibility [for the tragedy] need to be uncovered."

Taipei Times said in its editorial that if there is no truth, "including official identification of the persons primarily responsible for this abominable crime, talk of implementing transitional justice is disingenuous."

While people will not forget, the English daily urged them to "forgive and move on."

The historical incident also prompted the Liberty Times, a Chinese-language daily, to ponder what kind of a country Taiwan should make itself into after 70 years of people pointing fingers at each other without any real soul searching.

In an editorial, the Liberty Times said Taiwan did not have an effective government until 1895 and was not given the opportunity to "gradually forge a consensus on national identity" until 1996.

Japan began colonizing Taiwan in 1895 and withdrew in 1945, after losing World War II. Taiwan held its first direct election for president in 1996.

Even over the past 21 years, when Taiwan has been supposedly free to pursue its own ideals as a nation, the determination and ability of the Taiwanese people to be masters of their own fate has been hampered by conservative groups in society, the daily said.

It is imperative that Taiwanese form their own independent view of history through an understanding of the past based on which they can proudly say "our motherland is where we stand" and "it is we who decide the fate of this nation," said the editorial.

Meanwhile, another Chinese-language newspaper's editorial urged the Tsai Ing-wen administration to "humbly reflect on its own role" with regard to healing the historical wounds of 1947.

The United Daily News (UDN) reminded the Tsai government, which has vowed to shift the focus of the issue from "victims" to "perpetrators," not to act in such a way that "the victims become the perpetrators."

The government should not shout the slogan of reconciliation and unity on the one hand while doing everything it can to secure retribution and promote the division of society on the other, said the UDN.

Nor should the government wave the flag of democracy and justice while inciting populism and acting unconstitutionally, it said.

"In the face of historical wounds, the ruling elite must be humble and sincere in comforting the victims' families. It must not seek to appropriate the pain of others as a tool to persecute its own rivals," the paper said.

"That is the only way toward real reconciliation and justice," said the editorial.

(Editorial abstracts -- Feb. 28, 2017)

(By S.C. Chang)
Enditem /AW/

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