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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Taiwan needs a new constitution

Taiwan needs a new constitution

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In the UK and nations of the Commonwealth, Nov. 11 every year is observed as Remembrance Day. On this day every year, the British government organizes solemn ceremonies to commemorate those who died for their kingdom since World War I. People mark the day by wearing a red poppy, strolling to a nearby war memorial to mourn and pay tribute to fallen soldiers.

Young British people sacrificed their lives in two world wars, but the page of history has turned. In Europe, peace has reigned. Nevertheless, we commemorate the past so as not to forget the sacrifices and contributions of our predecessors, and to never forget that one cannot put a price on peace.

Later generations must put their hearts and souls into defending national security and sovereignty, just like their predecessors.

A friend of mine has been advocating for the Kuma Academy and demanding that all candidates in next week’s local elections sign a pledge to “defend Taiwan and never surrender.”

Two months ago, I asked him: “A war will surely lead to sacrifice and death, so what would you do to make our people believe that their effort would be worthwhile and their passing meaningful?”

My friend did not give me an answer, but history always teaches us a lesson.

In North America, George Washington was able to lead the 13 states in the American War of Independence precisely because the representatives of those 13 states had already signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. It was only natural for them to fight for their country.

Eighty years later in the Civil War, Americans were willing to make great sacrifices again. Their purpose was to defend their country in accordance with the constitution, which affirms the rights and equality of people.

What would Taiwanese sacrifice their lives for?

Should our people be asked to sacrifice themselves for our country, a much stronger consensus is needed, and the consensus can only be founded upon a constitution. Therefore, we must establish a new constitution in which Taiwan is the main subject, and Taiwanese would be stakeholders in this constitution, and be given to defend it.

Without this new constitution, how could the sacrifice of our people be considered as a deed for a greater cause, as a glorious act that involves both the living and the dead?

A populace without its own constitution is like a people without a nation. Even if some are willing to sacrifice for their country, they would not be commemorated by the later generations.

Nov. 11 should not be a crass shopping festival. Rather, we should ponder the following question: “When the British people solemnly commemorate their fallen soldiers, how do we remember our predecessors who had sacrificed themselves to safeguard Taiwan’s democracy, freedom, sovereignty and independence?”

A people should understand the meaning of a national remembrance, or they would not be able to protect their own country.

Yao Meng-chang is an assistant professor in Fujen Catholic University’s Department of Postgraduate Legal Studies.

Translated by Liu Yi-hung

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2022/11/16

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