And after a lot of though, I decided that I do. I do still support them.
For a few reasons:
1.) I don't think breaking into the Executive Yuan was a good idea tactically or PR-wise, or at all really. Escalating was not the right move and it only served the most tenuous of symbolic purposes.
Just because one student faction or some KMT agent provocateur thugs (this is a popular theory now) did something stupid, it doesn't discredit the whole movement. I still believe in what they stand for.
2.) Even if it was the student activists themselves (and not some gangsters sent to discredit them), I have sympathy. They occupied the legislature for a symbolic purpose that was highly effective. When the executive branch either ignored their demands or talked down to them, I could see how they would think "you think you can ignore us? We'll show you that you can't. You WILL respect the system of democracy or the people WILL literally break in and screw your stuff up."
3.) Perhaps, in order to push for real change, it had to eventually come to this sort of civil disobedience. I would hope not, but I can see how when it got to the point that the government was simply not listening to the people anymore, that there had to be a bigger push. I can live with that.
So I still support them, and I hope the Sunflower movement will blossom (pun intended) into real political change.
A few other thoughts:
- The Taiwanese people have really shown that while they can "take" a lot and stay peaceful, that there is a line, and if you push them over that line, they WILL push back. Hard. They've made it quite clear where that line is, and the government would be wise to heed it. It also roundly discredits expats who whine about how "passive" and "chicken" the Taiwanese are. If history hadn't already debunked this, recent events surely have.
- This really goes to show how dearly most Taiwanese treasure their democracy. That they will be herded like sheep into non-democratic annexation by China is an insult that has now been thoroughly debunked.
- Let's welcome the new generation of political luminaries, forged in the fires of civil disobedience. May they be less of a disappointment than the last batch of sad-sacks and tinpot mafiosos with huge China boners.
- The PR war here seems not to have been entirely lost, which I was worried would happen. I don't know about you all but my Facebook feed is darkened with black squares and pictures of sunflowers in support of the activists. The only people who seem to have been taken in by biased media reports are some of the old folks around my neighborhood.
- No matter what happens, at least the entire country is now fully aware of Fu Mao and the undemocratic way it was passed.