Tue, Nov 16, 2010 - Page 8 News List

The urgent need for a country to call our own

By Yang-Liu Hsiu-Hwa 楊劉秀華

I have been thinking about the future of Taiwan.

First, let me take the story of a house as an example — the ancestral home of the current owner. The story begins not long after the end of World War II when waves of Chinese took refuge in Taiwan. The homeowner, taking pity on a refugee family that couldn’t find shelter, allowed them to stay in the house. Little did he know then that the refugees would live there for more than 60 years. During this period, the guest family, behaving as if they were the new masters, did whatever they pleased in the house. They helped themselves to food, used whatever household items they liked and even slept in the owner’s bed, forcing him to sleep on the floor.

The relationship between the two families was basically confrontational in nature. There were times, of course, when the tension eased. The guests, for instance, occasionally took the owner’s children out for a treat or to play, for which the children were always very grateful. Similarly, the owner himself was always happy when he thought he had won an argument. Essentially, however, the two families under the same roof fought and quarreled incessantly.

Please think about this carefully: Isn’t the only way to solve this problem — and for the owner to regain control of his house — is to remove the refugee family?

The thought of my next true story always makes me terribly sad. It happened in 1968 when my late husband accepted an invitation to work for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which was to dispatch him to Malaysia. He was all ready to go with his passport and letter of appointment in hand, waiting for an airline ticket and a UN-issued transportation expense voucher. After two weeks of waiting, he was surprised to receive a letter from the FAO reassigning him from Malaysia to another country.

The FAO apologized, but I was deeply saddened to learn that the reason behind the reassignment was that Taiwan was not an internationally recognized country — and that is the root cause of the tragedy of the Taiwanese.

I think about the 1994 Qiandao Lake Incident in China, in which 24 Taiwanese were murdered. At that time, the Chinese government dealt with the incident indifferently, and the government in Taiwan did not lift a finger to protect its people, forcing the victims’ families to seek justice themselves.

In 1990, a Japanese student, Iguchi Mariko, went missing in Taiwan. Her countrymen and government demonstrated the utmost concern and provided every possible assistance in helping to search for her. The Japanese girl and the Taiwanese victims were treated very differently by their respective governments. The contrast couldn’t have been more stark.

The status of Taiwan as a nation-state remains undetermined, which is the main reason the international community holds it in disregard. That is a tragedy for Taiwanese. It is imperative that we have a country of our own that is properly recognized by the world. However, is the Republic of China a country? If so, why is it that the international community denies us the right to participate in its activities? Privately, yes, we are allowed space to deal with international friends, but when it comes to official businesses, we are either pushed to one side or excluded altogether.

I’m hopeful that my compatriots will sit down, calmly ponder the future of our beloved land and work together to establish our own country, so that we may have happy days ahead. My concluding thought is this: We urgently need a country to rely on and protect us. This is the voice of the Taiwanese people!

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