Nearly seventy years ago this week, the Taiwanese rose up against the Nationalist Chinese and were brutally supressed. The 228 uprising is tragic not only for the loss of an entire generation of Taiwanese leaders, but also because it could’ve been so different. What if there had been international support for the Taiwanese? What if the Taiwanese had been able to retain control of the island? What if Chiang Kai Shek made the decision to work with the Taiwanese? Instead, over 20,000 people were executed or they simply vanished. For the next 40 years, Taiwan was blanketed by the White Terror.
I think it’s so beautiful that Taiwan commemorates February 28th as Peace Memorial Day. It’s not a day of mourning or a day of infamy. Instead, it’s a day to remember why we need to work towards peace in the world. The past happened and somehow, we all have to live with what occurred. But there’s no way to live with a past that is buried. Anything suppressed rankles and burns and seethes. This is part of why I made Almost Home: Taiwan. And of course, without understanding the history of Taiwan, there’s no way to understand the present.
So to commemorate 228, here’s the history animation that’s in the film. Taiwan’s entire history in 3 minutes! With sound effects! Including everything up to the recent election! The animation is under creative commons license so feel free to spread it around. Just credit me, the fabulous animator Raj Kottamasu and brilliant vocal cartoonist Zero Boy.
Happy Peace Memorial Day! ❤