Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We Still Need Taiwanese Literature!

...Call for Taiwanese Literature

It is sad, very sad, that, with the Republic of China (Taiwan) no longer maintaining diplomatic relations with Malawi, that country's literature is also gone from the book shelves in Malawi.
Of course, the good people of Taiwan never committed any wrong to warrant such a harsh exit; it is the President of the Republic of Malawi Ngwazi Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, supposedly making the 'right' decision on behalf of the people of Malawi, who elected him on 'trust', who effected that decision.
That remains a sad day for Malawi.
Sad because Malawi-Taiwan relations started in the morning of Malawi's development, and survived storms and quakes. The Republic of China, or Taiwan, was such a good friend to the people of Malawi, such a nice friend.
Together, the two nations beat the foes of ill-health and economic malaise.
The people of Taiwan constructed Malawi's major hospital in the Northern region, the Mzuzu Central Hospital. With it, the people of the Northern region earned access to the card of good health. The region now enjoyed medical services that were, hither to, an exclusive of the people of the Central region (who had Kamuzu Central Central Hospital) and Southern region (with Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital) as the main referral hospital.
But the Southern region had, and still have Zomba Central Hospital, too. Zomba, Malawi's former Capital City, has enjoyed good health and medical facilities for a while now, starting with the time the it was declared a Capital city, to the time it lost that status to Lilongwe (Malawi's current centre of government activity), and got some honour again by becoming a city under the Mutharika administration.
And, it seems, Zomba is still to benefit from a more, bigger national cake following Mutharika's announcement that he will turn one of his State Residences (The State House in Zomba) into a modern hospital.
Mutharika's wife, First Lady Calista Mutharika, comes from Zomba.
So, it can be safely said that the Taiwanese people set the pace for equality in health, helping Malawi achieve one of its long-time goals: To have an up-market hospital for the good people of Northern Malawi.
For a long time, this region has been neglected. That is why Chitipa still has no tarmac road. That is why thge people of Karonga still travel five, six hours over a distance of 100 kilometres to Chitipa. It is a case of being so close, yet so far away for the people of Karonga and Chitipa.
The good people of Taiwan saw this 'distance' between these 'lose' people, and promised to construct a modern tarmac road from Karonga to Chitipa. It was them, the Taiwanese (and not Mainland China) who saw this need.
For once, the people of Chitipa were happy.
The Taiwanese also saw the need for a modern Parliament House. The good people of Taiwan observed that it was a shame for a country like Malawi, in these modern times, to be using the New State House (the house of the Malawi President) as Parliament. That is orphanhood.
A whole nation can not be an orphan. after all.
So, the People of the Republic of China promised a new Parliament for Malawi. They also promised so many development projects, apart from sending missions to Malawi every year to help in the areas of health, education, agriculture,among others.
Credit for these development will never be taken away from the good people of Taiwan.
Then, from nowhere- some say from the blues- came Mainland China, the armed China; a China that has his war-arsenal pointed towards the innocent people of Taiwan, a people who have been surpressed by the so-called United Nations (United Nations in shame?) for over 47 years (47 years because 47 years ago, or slightly within the past 47 years, most African nations became independent) now.
The crime committed by these innocent, innovative, industrious people of Taiwan is to seek independence. The people of Taiwan want to free themselves from the psychological chain of belonging to a nation (Mainland China) in the fear that, if not, then they may perish. The One-China Policy is a fallacy.
It is unfortunate that this policy is shamelessly supported by the United Nations. And unfortunate that Malawi's president, Mutharika, who, not long ago (less than six years ago) was up in arms advocating for the recognition of the Republic of China as an independent state at United Nations fora, could one day change his tune and support the oppressive Mainland China, a China that cannot live side by side with another China- a more innocent China.
It is the shame of our times.
But the people of Malawi will never forget the Taiwanese people. Never.
Only Mutharika, perhaps, will.
Yet, in the face of all this oppression endured by the People of Taiwan, another form of oppression is taking root in Malawi: The suppression of Taiwanese literature in Malawi.
Not long ago, (three years ago, to be precise) Malawi was full of Taiwanese literature. I remember that I used to go to bookshops, or the Taiwanese Embassy, and buy or get these materials, respectively.
No more.
It is understandable for the second case. Because Taiwan no longer has an embassy in Malawi, Taiwanese literature cannot be found at a Taiwanese-Malawi Embassy that does not exist. Granted.
That lives us with the option of book shops.
It is here where this new form of suppression is taking place. No Taiwanese literature books. Nothing.
It seems like, having 'deleted' Taiwan's physical presence in our midst (embassy), the authorities want to 'delete' Taiwan from our heads, too.
This will be more difficult than getting rid of the Taiwanese Ambassador from Malawi.
For one, there is the internet.
For a second, we have Malawians still studying in Taiwan.
Thirdly, we have the 'goodness' of the Taiwanese people in our midst: the hospitals, schools, among others.
So, this suppression may be there, but for a while. A day is coming when Taiwanese literature will flourish in Malawi, again.
After all, some opposition parties were campaigning during the 2009 Presidential Elections, and used the Taiwanese issue as one of their campaign tools.
For instance, former President Bakili Muluzi (who was trying his luck at the Presidency for the third time in 2009, before being stopped by the Courts on the ground that he had already served two consecutive terms in office) promised that he woiuld bring Taiwan back and dump the People's Republic of China.

By the way, our Taiwanese friends can send me Taiwanese Literature (which I want badly, to use in a special book project) through the following address:

Richard Chirombo
P.O. Box 545

Alternatively, you can call me on: 265 (0) 888 644 826

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