Tue, Feb 22, 2005 - Page 2 News List

228 events to kick off this week

TOLERANCE Exhibitions, workshops and a screening of a documentary will attempt to build ethnic harmony and heal old wounds from the 228 Incident, officials said

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cultural Affairs Bureau under the Taipei City Government announced the kickoff of a series of events to commemorate the upcoming 228 Peace Memorial Day on Thursday, in an attempt to build a peaceful relationship between ethnic groups through culture instead of politics.

"To reconcile the complex differences between ethnic groups, we need to respect each other's emotions toward the incident and go beyond political ideology," said bureau commissioner Liao Hsien-hao (廖咸浩) yesterday in announcing the upcoming activities.

The 228 Peace Memorial Day events, including exhibitions, concerts and forums, start with a documentary shown at 7pm this Thursday at the Red Castle Theater, followed by an open forum with the audience.

The documentary, featuring conversations with members of the public, recorded an activity held by a group called Peace Workshop last year, where 30 people were randomly selected from 400 applicants to join a two-day event.

During the event, participants from various generations and ethnic groups talked about their life stories and displayed personal pictures, debated political beliefs, and attempted to reach a mutual understanding, according to the workshop.

Liao said that the bureau wants to touch upon political and ethnic issues regarding the 228 incident using a soft approach. He hoped that sharing the documentary with the public will generate positive discussions on such issues.

"Seeing how people in the documentary went from being hostile toward those with different political beliefs or ethnic backgrounds, to openly communicating, and then finally respecting each other's experiences, is touching," Liao said.

Chien His-chieh (簡錫土皆), executive director of Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan, one of the organizations funding Peace Workshop, said that politics is not the solution to tensions between ethnic groups.

According to Chien, Northern Ireland, often violent conflicts often occur, promotes its peace movement by encouraging people to communicate with each other through community services and various events.

"Providing opportunities for people to share their thoughts with others is the way to build a peaceful ethnic relationship, and is better than using political language," Chien said.

Workshop staff member Li Kuang-chun (李廣均), a sociology professor at National Central University, said the documentary, unlike political call-in shows, reflects a more diverse range of opinions.

"What political call-in shows represent is a form of pseudo-democracy. Guests of the show try to persuade the other side. Callers are given little time to express their opinions. I don't think these kinds of conversations will help people reach a mutual understanding," Li said.

In addition to the documentary, the series of 228 Peace Memorial Day events will include the publication of 228 victims' autobiographies, and a 228 comic exhibition, starting this Sunday.

On Monday, Feb. 28, there will be a memorial ceremony held in front of the 228 memorial cenotaph near the Executive Yuan at 2pm, followed by a memorial concert in front of the 228 memorial museum at 3:30pm.

For more information on the 228 Peace Memorial Day events, visit the museum's Web site at http://228.culture.gov.tw.

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