Tue, Aug 29, 2006 - Page 8 News List

The country that I want has a vision for all of us

By Lee Min-yung 李敏勇

I do not want a country that has accustomed itself to colonial rule and that can never escape from the shadow of this slavish mentality.

Although Taiwan's transition of political power in 2000 was realized amid shouts of dissent, its democratization process is stuck in the management of a fictional state left by authoritarian leaders of the past, unable to impart and handle transitional justice.

The country is filled with statues of colonial dictators, and these symbols of colonial government can be found at major intersections, on school campuses and in government agencies and military camps in cities and the countryside.

I do not want a country in which politicians battle only for power and benefits in the way one handles a commercial career.

These politicians, who uncritically and without shame accepted colonial rule, now take pride in rationalizing that era.

Those who are former dissidents from the opposition movement have moved from reform to becoming part of the old establishment; some have inherited the behavior of the colonial ruler though they were never subdued by them while others were, and now they are praised for lauding the colonial administration.

I do not want a country whose people have empty, soulless bodies.

I see people locking themselves up behind iron-clad windows, unable to participate in society, focusing instead on making money and worshipping materialism.

In other words, these people are incapable of participating in cultural refinement, in spite of the nation's favorable economic circumstances.

These individuals include the middle class, the wealthy and the educated, who generally lack understanding of their national identity and behave as opportunistic immigrants might, defending the colonial system and resolutely rejecting political reform and the nation's reconstruction.

I do not want a country that does not believe in democracy and progress and that lacks faith in freedom and human rights.

I see that the mutual alienation under colonial rule has led to utilitarianism.

I also see that people attach themselves to a foreign power, disregarding the fact that this power is threatening their country.

These people are constantly deceiving and humiliating themselves.

I see people accepting different colonial models and unable to let the world understand that they really want independence.

I see cultural workers and artists shamelessly shouting slogans to promote a cheap revolution without the slightest feeling of shame.

I want a country that is free, democratic and beautiful.

I want a country in which people advance their civilization, respect human rights and treasure the natural environment.

I want a country whose people can walk out of the dark of their nation's past sufferings and boost justice and build a peace-loving society.

I want a country where people recognize their national identity, work together to protect their homeland and reach out to other nations with dignity and through gestures of goodwill.

I want a country that has the ability to maintain economic prosperity.

And I want a country that is capable of refining culture and voicing a rich national character that can generate a new vision for the nation.

Lee Min-yung is a poet.

Translated by Lin Ya-ti

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