Taiwan Church News
February 22 – 28, 2016
Here Comes 228 Again
This year, 2015, is the 69th anniversary of 228 event. Too many innocent Taiwan elites, folks or even honest immigrants from other provinces were brutally killed in this mass killings and its aftermath. Following those memorial services or commemorative day held annually for remembering 228 massacre in the past decades, people become no more ignorant and acquire some basic knowledge about this historically tragedy. But, here comes another problem: the serious meaning of making 228 memorial day a national day of rest seems gradually lost in the passage of time, especially when the 228 national day off become so stereo-typed that it is deemed as another celebrating holiday only!
Does transformative justice just evolve into another kind of cliche and degrade into a boring tactics among party politicians? Recently, there is a Holocaust-related news circulated on the internet, reporting a 95-year-old former Nazi sergeant, accused of murdering 58 Jews in the World War II, was finally convicted guilty by German court with 58 murder charges in 2009 after half a century’s escape and anonymous running. This is a real story of transformative justice done by German government. Can Taiwan make it in the same vein?
The horrific Rwandan Genocide costed about 800,000 lives, when a mass man slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Tutu happened from April 7 to mid-July in 1994. Those heinous brutality and tremendous fear shown in the movie of Hotel Rwanda could give us some clues on what this unspeakable genocide is like. So, in the past 20 years, how did the Rwanda government proceed the transformative justice in their society? As the first world court system would be too tedious to deliver a justice in time, Mr Paul Kagame – the Rwanda President then – introduced the traditional tribal court “Gacaca” to speed up the trial on genocide case. The Gacaca court was in charge by the old guards from different local families, encouraging the prosecuted to seek the forgiveness from the victims’ families, in order to find the truth, comfort the suffered and reach a true reconciliation.
Does the transformative justice in Rowanda pass the test? Indeed, there were still some criticisms upon this big-scale legal proceedings, for example the juridical outcomes deemed advantageous for some dominant ethnic tribes. But it’s beyond doubt all legal cases of Rowanda Genocide were totally settled down within 12 years since 2001, when over 10,000 Gacaca courts were set up across Rowanda. It demonstrated at least the Rowandan goverment dare to do the job of transformative justice. Now, it is the 69th anniversary after 228 event. Does Taiwan government has any intention to kick off the engineering of transformative justice?
If we look around the world, the cases of genocide or massacre are actually innumrable. For example, the horrendous Armenian Genocide, happened in Turkey between 1915 to 1917, is bluntly denied by current Turkish government, even though over 20 countries has resoluted to recognize this historical event. Not to mention the Tiananmen Square Massacre, happened on June 4th 1989, is still a forbidden issue to discuss inside China society. No body knows the exact figures of those passionate youth killed by the Chinese army. So, it is obvious not every mass killing event could allow a baptism of tranformative justice. The next question is: do we wish Taiwan to be one of these notorious countries?
Following the success of Taiwan’s democratic process, we become lucky enough to check our past tragic history into details. But we should not too excited to be paralyzed in our ecstatic feelings, as there are still too much jobs to be done. The goals what transformative justice wants to achieve are as follows, making the deceased rest in peace, comforting the survivors and exposing the crimes of those evil-doers. Only thus, the devastatingly inflicted people could walk out of the melancholic past together and march forward to the future!