Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - Page 8 News List

[LETTERS]

Guilty until proven innocent

You guys on a daily basis keep pushing the “innocent until proven guilty” thing regarding former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). You even have academics reminding your readers that it’s a basic human right. Correct?

Astonishingly, your same paper on a daily basis keeps pushing the “Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) selling out Taiwan’s sovereignty” thing based on your assumptions that closer ties with China lead to unification with China under China’s terms. Now isn’t this branding the KMT “guilty until proven innocent?”

You guys are the biggest joke. You seem to argue that if a person loves Taiwan, then he or she must consider the actions of anyone in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as innocent until proven guilty, as this is a human right.

Yet a person must also consider anyone who is in the KMT or supports President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) actions as guilty until proven innocent, amazingly denying them the same human rights enjoyed by DPP supporters.

This attitude is why the DPP is no longer in power.

Trace Gomez

Taipei

An oppressive silence

A few days ago, in the UN General Assembly, France put forward an unprecedented declaration condemning human rights violations based on homophobia, or the hatred of and prejudice against gays and lesbians. This unprecedented French declaration states that homophobia is an evil that runs counter to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is an evil akin to racism, anti-Semitism and apartheid.

Although Taiwan has unjustly been excluded from the UN, I believe that Taiwan should do its best to follow international norms and laws, especially in regard to civil and human rights. I believe that Taiwan should implement a strong Gender Equality Law. Not only should discrimination based on gender be forbidden, people should also not be victims of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Women, gays and lesbians should never experience the pain and fear of harassment in the workforce or other places in society.

It is also my hope that the Taiwanese legislature and courts will allow gay marriages, or at least the protection and sanction provided by “civil unions.”

The more human rights are protected in Taiwan, the stronger its society will become.

Homophobia, like racism and anti-Semitism, is hatred born of fear and ignorance. One should never forget that the Nazi ideology called for the extermination of people belonging to “inferior races,” as well as Jews and homosexuals. People belonging to these groups were deemed by the Nazis as “unfit to live.”

To quote Elie Wiesel’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Dec. 10, 1986: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders become irrelevant, Wherever men and women are persecuted ... that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.

“There is so much injustice and suffering crying out for our attention ... Human rights are being violated on every continent. More people are oppressed than free. How can one not be sensitive to their plight? Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere ... There is so much to be done, there is so much that can be done ... We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would be to betray them.”

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