Thu, Mar 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

228 Remembered: Peaceful dialogue key to resolving 228 conflict: Ko

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je visits a special exhibition —“228 and I” — at the 228 Memorial Museum in Taipei’s 228 Memorial Park yesterday.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said the harm caused by the 228 Incident to Taiwanese society should be solved through peaceful dialogue, so that transitional justice can be realized.

“It has been 71 years since the 228 Incident, and the impact and pain that the Incident caused victims’ families goes without saying, and I have particular feelings for this painful history,” Ko said in a speech to mark the 71st anniversary of the Incident at the 228 National Memorial Park in Taipei.

Ko’s grandfather, Ko Shih-yuan (柯士元), was a 228 victim.

Ko and his parents were invited to the commemoration event as families of victims of the massacre in 2015, where he also talked about the pain that the Incident caused and how it had haunted his family for decades.

Ko said that at a recent meeting with two Nobel Peace laureates — former Polish president Lech Walesa and Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet member Messaoud Romdhani — he had asked them how to resolve internal conflicts and progress toward democracy and freedom.

They both answered “through peaceful dialogue,” Ko said.

“Many assailants and victims of the 228 Incident have passed away, and while the victims’ offspring still feel the pain, it has also cast a shadow on the assailants’ offspring,” he said.

“Because there was no mechanism for peaceful dialogue, transitional justice could not be realized and the public could not truly face history or the future together,” he added.

The illegal acts perpetrated at the time should be dealt with under the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例), he said, adding that related documents should be publicized for the victims’ families to know the truth, for researchers to study and for the public to understand, thereby allowing the Incident become a profound lesson for Taiwan.

“Only by honestly facing history and having a peaceful dialogue can we avoid the same mistakes, solve current issues and stride toward a common future,” he said.

“We only have one Taiwan, and Taiwan is our only home. Although family members sometimes quarrel and fight, they always help each other through hard times when facing difficulties or challenges,” he said.

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