Wed, Mar 02, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Chen trips on the way to the land of promise

By Chen Chien-ming陳建銘

On Feb. 28 last year, over 2 million people formed a human chain across Taiwan in the 228 Hand-in-Hand rally to protest China's military threats.

Many had tears in their eyes when they held each other's hands.

They were touched because they were not only campaigning for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in person, but also demonstrating their affection for Taiwan, like people close together in the same boat.

Such affection was passed on as individuals gathered their power through their hands and hearts.

What it showed was not only a 500km human chain, but also the growing mainstream Taiwan awareness.

When then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) transferred power peacefully to Chen in 2000, Chen also inherited a historic mission.

As the Bible says in Exodus, Joshua led the Jewish people to overcome hardship and build their own country in the promised land.

Taiwan's transformation into a normal country is like this promised land, and making a new constitution and rectifying the nation's name are two milestones on the path to completing that process.

This is also the sacred mission passed on from Lee to Chen. The two have often been portrayed as Moses and Joshua.

Unfortunately, Chen has lost himself in the tides of power since entering the post-Joshua era in his second term.

Obviously, in order to build his historical status, he has attempted to rewrite his version of Exodus.

On the scales of ideals and power, he has chosen to lean toward power.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) "middle way" has been replaced by the "one China" principle, and the party's campaign promises of a new constitution and rectification of the national title are nothing but pie in the sky.

During his meeting with People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) last Thursday, he even presented a calligraphic work bearing the Chinese characters "sincerity" to Soong as a gift.

Now that he's become like Doctor Faustus -- who sold his soul to the devil -- how will he face his voters who supported him wholeheartedly?

Today, the biggest crisis in Taiwan's society is the loss of a clear direction for the country, and it will be a catastrophe if the helmsman of the state loses his direction.

The DPP's flag seems to be prophetic, as the white cross on the flag clearly shows that, from colonial rule to this day, Taiwan has hesitated at the crossroads, without being able to choose a direction and destination.

By hiding behind the stated intent to maintain the status quo in order to find a resting place for the nation, Chen is actually just making an excuse, because he dares not face Taiwan's future.

In fact, the lack of clarity on Taiwan's status is the original sin behind its hesitation at the crossroad.

The Taiwanese people helped Chen win reelection with their precious votes. In the post-Joshua era, it is a great moment for him to build his historical status.

The 228 Incident memorial day was a symbol of Taiwan consciousness.

If the pan-green camp really gives up its insistence on a new constitution and national title rectification, can Chen clearly declare in which direction Taiwan will head?

How can it become a normal country and reach the promised land?

Chen Chien-ming is the secretary-general of the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG

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