Sun, Jan 04, 2009 - Page 8 News List

[LETTER]

Taiwan’s Dreyfus Affair

Those familiar with French history might know that last century “l’Affaire Dreyfus” split French public opinion down the middle, just as the “l’Affaire Chen Shui-bian [陳水扁]” threa tens to do in Taiwan nowadays.

First of all, whether I regard Chen as guilty or innocent of the charges brought against him is irrelevant right now. It is the procedure followed against Chen that matters.

The procedure that has been used might be normal in countries like China or North Korea, but should have no place in a democratic country like Taiwan claims to be.

I am no legal expert, but I do know that in countries like Ireland, Britain and most other European countries, any action aimed at influencing an upcoming trial is a criminal offense known as “Contempt of Court.”

And if a prosecutor like Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) were to engage in such an offense, aside from being immediately kicked out of the judiciary, he would have certainly been charged, along with Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng (王清峰), Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) and many other Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials for their gross acts of interference in the ongoing proceedings against Chen.

Going back to Captain Dreyfus, thankfully he was eventually found innocent and rightly so. But regarding Chen, despite the numerous “J’accuse [I accuse]” and “Nous accusons [we accuse]” launched by human rights campaigners and legal experts from the world over, I would not hold my breath.

For a start, France at that time was already a country somehow committed to democratic values, while the ruling KMT does not have the foggiest idea what such values are.

The KMT believes that it is not accountable to anyone (except the Chinese Communist Party) and that it can get away with everything.

By now it should be crystal clear that KMT is the cancerous growth that must be eradicated from Taiwanese public life, but how do you achieve this?

I have seen messages on pro-Taiwan discussion boards calling for things like revolution, civil war, and so on, but as an Irishman (whose country has gone through all this before), I don’t agree.

I do believe that the Taiwanese can start their rebellion against the KMT dictatorship with a peaceful Gandhi-style campaign. The campaign would include extremely noisy protests and demonstrations, strikes (especially in companies owned by the KMT or pro-KMT business-folks), boycotts (like postal workers refusing to handle mail directed to the government or KMT offices, dock workers refusing to handle ships coming from or bound for China), blockades, occupations, refusals to pay taxes or fines and many more acts of civil disobedience. The list is endless.

I know that in Taiwan there is not the same militant and rebellious mentality as, say, in Greece, but for the sake of Taiwan’s future, all Taiwanese who care one iota about their country’s future had better learn from the Wild Strawberries, and fairly quickly.

ALAN MULCANY

Swords, County Dublin, Ireland

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