Thu, Mar 07, 2013 - Page 8

Time to release Chen

For many months now, I have been closely following reports in the Taipei Times about the health of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). I have felt dismayed by the decline in his health in recent months.

Video released recently provides evidence of the deterioration of Chen’s condition. I was also shocked to read that Chen was unable to attend a court hearing because he could not speak properly (“Church lambasts Ma over treatment of Chen Shui-bian,” March 2, page 3).

An international group of human rights experts has just issued a series of recommendations on improving human rights in Taiwan. These included the recommendation that the government take “appropriate action” concerning the health of Chen Shui-bian. (“Rights experts call for end to death penalty,” March 2, page 1).

The experts did not specifically recommend what action the government should take, but it is clear that they regard Chen’s treatment in prison and current situation in the Taipei Veterans General Hospital as unsatisfactory.

A week earlier, the Control Yuan issued a report recognizing “flaws” and “negligence” in the way in which the Ministry of Justice and Taipei Prison have handled Chen’s health problems (“Control Yuan OKs report on ‘flaws’ in A-bian’s care,” Feb. 23, page 1).

Both the Control Yuan and the group of international experts have made recommendations based on consideration of the available evidence.

It is time that the government acted on this evidence by granting medical parole to Chen.

David Reid


Response to a massacre

Coen Blaauw (Letters, March 4, page 8) makes a good case for describing the “228 Incident” as a massacre. However, Blaauw could have used a better case than the “Boston Massacre,” which hardly meets the definition of “massacre.” The events of Wounded Knee [South Dakota US] in 1890 would have been a far better example.

In addition, if one is to use historical examples, one should get the facts straight.

British soldiers did not fire into a crowd of “US patriots.” First, in 1770, there was no US. Second, these “patriots” were, in the words of John Adams, “a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes and molattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish jack tarrs [sailors].” Again, “three US civilians” were not killed. Two colonists and a runaway slave died at the scene, with two more dying later.

My point is that the Boston incident was skillfully used as propaganda and became a central myth in the formation of the US as the “Boston Massacre.”

This is good example of history being rewritten by the victors.

We call the events of 1947 an “incident” rather than a “massacre” for the same reason — the KMT, having won, can still frame the discussion. When they are forced to confront their wrongdoings, maybe then we will all speak of it as the 228 Massacre.

Ainesley Crabbe

Huwei, Yunlin County