Over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling conflicted, as a newly nonimmigrant in the U.S., I found myself torn between my Trump-supporting Taiwanese friends and my friends in the U.S. of different ethnicities.
On one hand, I can see how some Taiwanese people could make the case of supporting Trump on the basis of his stance against the CPC, the forever oppressor of Taiwanese people and many others; on the other hand, I just can’t comprehend how anyone who understands freedom, justice, and equality can in good conscience disregard Trump’s blatant advocacy for violence, sexism, racism, and authoritarianism.
I am referring to the young, woke, activist-minded Taiwanese people, who have seen the harm of colonization, who had taken active parts in Taiwanese social movements in the past 10 years, whose parents lived through 38 years of martial law and white terror, who’ve been deprived of their native tongue and culture, following the massacre of countless Taiwanese activists, as people who should understand freedom, justice, and equality. But it seems like that might not be the case.
我在 Twitter 上透過演算法看到了很多人說「我們受迫害的時候，他們沒為我們發聲，現在他家的事與我何干？」、在暴風雪支持 #BlackLivesMatter 的聲明下留言「香港抗爭的時候你們幹嘛了？」、更用「東突厥斯坦人受苦受難時候你只空講什麼都不做，現在一個黑人死掉有什麼大不了？」來反駁左派媒體聲援 BLM 的報導。
As I’ve seen from Twitter, through algorithms, people have been saying things like “they didn’t care for our sufferings, why should I care about theirs?” and in reply to Blizzard’s #BlackLivesMatter tweets, things like “Where was this support for Hong Kong?”, and remarks against liberal medias like “paying lip services to the Uyghur while inflating one Black life?”
I had wished these comments came from fringe groups, but contrary to what I had hoped, they showed up on my timeline, shared by my immediate friends.
If every oppressed group wants someone else to care for them first, the oppressors will always win. If we can’t empathize with others who’ve been oppressed, who do we expect to be able to understand the struggles and difficulties we all battle against?
This should not, and can not be made to be about what happened to us, or the justice that we want. However, it should be about us using what we know about the past, about the injustice that we/our ancestors have faced, and about the Transitional Justice work that we have to push for continuously within our society, and applying them to the injustice around us and around the world, to empathize with each other.
I understand we all have a limited number of things that we can care for and fight for at any given time, but that should not be an excuse for not making judgments from a place of empathy.
我的亞美尼亞人好朋友 Garen Torikian 跟我分享了這篇文章，讓我有深深的共鳴。我們一樣，長大過程中走過一個又一個立著殺人魔雕像的廣場。我們一樣，在教科書裡只學到他們「光復台灣」的豐功偉業。這一切都不是新事情，歷史早有教訓。有著類似文化背景的我們應該要更能理解、更能付出。
Garen Torikian, my good Armenian friend sent me this article, which resonated with me deeply. We too grew up walking through plazas with giant statues of mass murderers. We too learned only about their “liberation of the Taiwanese people” from the textbook. None of this is new. Having so many similarities in our stories, we should know better, and do better.
最後，讓我偷一句 Garen 說的話，因為他文筆比我好多了：
In closing, allow me to appropriate Garen’s message as I couldn’t phrase it better:
This is what I want to see more of—cross cultural unity.
I wish those who share this belief would also know the importance of speaking up. Public opinions, being public, can only be changed if we also participate, in the public.
Justice is not radical.
- Mu-An @ Brooklyn, NY