Thu, Mar 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

228 Remembered: Religion a force for change, German and South African envoys say

By Su Yung-yao and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

South African Representative to Taiwan Robert Seraki Matsebe, right, shares his nation’s experience with transitional justice at a ceremony held yesterday to mark the 71st anniversary of the 228 Incident at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Taipei.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Religion is the greatest force to usher change, the German and South African representatives to Taiwan said yesterday at a prayer meeting to mark the 71st anniversary of the 228 Incident.

The event, held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Taipei, began with a prayer for the 228 Incident, with the organizers saying that the truth about the Incident has yet to be revealed and continues to cast a shadow over the nation.

German Institute Director-General Martin Eberts said that church members played an important role as just and unyielding social figures when Nazis ruled Germany during World War II and Communists ruled East Germany.

It was the church that helped unite people in those societies, Eberts said, adding that the non-violent way in which it conducted itself to achieve social unity won the church greater support.

South African Representative Robert Matsebe talked about the importance of reflecting on history, citing how his nation’s apartheid regime caused many deaths.

History should not be allowed to repeat itself and it is very important to clarify what responsibilities the aggressors should shoulder, Matsebe said.

Victims must be cared for and perpetrators punished, he added.

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) was also at the prayer meeting.

The 228 Incident refers to an uprising that began on Feb. 27, 1947, and was violently suppressed by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime. The resulting brutal crackdown left tens of thousands dead and led to nearly four decades of martial law.

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