Mon, Nov 08, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Never again?

By Francisco Carin

With great power comes great responsibility. Even Spiderman, a fictional hero, knew this. But Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) does not. He does not seem to realize the great power he wields as the leader of the opposition party, nor the great responsibility this position implies. Even worse, he considers taking the law into his own hands as the right move. We do not need lawyers, judges, courts and laws -- what for? If you do not agree with someone, just kill him or her and take justice into your hands.

What a pity they do not apply this to the KMT's stolen assets: Dear Taiwan, if you believe that we, the KMT, have stolen something in our 50 years of single-party rule, please come and take it, because (and I am paraphrasing Lien) as long as we see anyone who makes fraud or unlawful actions, everyone can put this guy to death. It seems to me KMT officials are going to need a battalion of security guards to stay alive and keep their stolen assets.

Nevertheless, these kinds of ideas and actions sound familiar to me. Too familiar: they remind me of 1947, the 228 Incident and the White Terror that followed. The KMT's understanding of justice, law and fairness was very simple and very dangerous: Those who are not with us are against us, so we have the right to kill them. Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) apologized for this brutal and cold-blooded aggression against the Taiwan-ese people, but that apology was apparently just his apology. The KMT seems not to really mind what it did back then, and it is continuing in the same track without realizing that society has changed.

More than 50 years later, and it seems that the KMT has not learned any lessons. Violence and aggression are still the answer for the KMT's foes. Law, for the KMT, means "our will," and truth stands for "our version of the story." If judges agree with the pan-blues, the judges are right -- if not, the judges are wrong. So the pan-blues are above the law: this is the message to all of us who live in Taiwan.

When Spain finished its civil war, and in Germany when World War II ended, there was a common feeling in the population summarized by the words "never again." The pan-blue camp seems not to have learned this lesson, and for them power is so addictive that they would kill -- or even worse, they invite others to kill, so they can grasp power and hold it forever. It is not too different from the political methods of their counterparts on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.

Let's hope that a wave of new politicians will soon emerge in the KMT ranks. This country needs a first-rate opposition party so that the much-needed "check and balances" necessary in any true democracy can really be established. Until then, simply brace yourself for the bumpy -- and sometimes hilarious -- road ahead.

Francisco Carin


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