Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ideas for Commemorating 228

Everyone has their own ways of celebrating Christmas or Lunar New Year. You might not be a certain how to commemorate 228. The following are some ideas:

• If you have relatives who were murdered or imprisoned during the 228 Massacre or the White Terror period, please click on the comments section below this post and write a brief paragraph with details. It always helps to make historical events real to a new generation when there are specific people testifying their own or their relative's experience with it.

• Some will fast and pray for Taiwan.

• Buy white lilies and place them in your home. Give white lily bouquets to your neighbors and friends with a simple card attached -- "Remembering our loved ones February 28, 1947" or simply write "228." (Please note that the Wild Lily Student Movement was a push democratic reform in Taiwan.) Taiwan's Formosan White Lily, Lilium formosanum, is a species endemic to Taiwan that has come to represent freedom, democracy and the hopes of Taiwan's people for a sovereign democratic future free and independent of colonialism or annexation by another country.

• Put up white lights at night remind people that 228 is a special significant day.

• Wear T-shirts with a logo of Taiwan or 228, or wear green. Again, this will begin to be noticed and people will realize that 228 is a special day.

• Remember by reading history: e.g. eyewitness accounts like Formosa Betrayed by George Kerr of the United States, Formosa Calling by Allan Shackleton of New Zealand

• Taiwan Publishing Company has republished both of these books and you can purchase them and give them to your friends.

• Purchase copies of the Mandarin-language translation of Formosa Betrayed 被出賣的台灣 and give these copies to your Taiwanese or Chinese friends. You can find it in the Taiwan Shop and also I have seen it in Eslite Bookstores. Many Taiwanese have no idea about their own history because information negative about the KMT was omitted or suppressed from the education system.

• Buy Taiwan Tug-of-War a PBS documentary and give it to your English-speaking friends.

• Go with family and friends to visit historic sites in Taiwan related to the 228 Massacre. There are some all over Taiwan.

• In Taipei you can visit two places in particular, (1) the 228 Peace Park and 228 Memorial Museum, and

• (2) The site of the February 28, 1980 assassination of Lin I-hsiung's family members which is now a church. They hold a memorial service every February 28th at 9 A.M. in the morning. Then at 10 A.M. everyone heads into the mountains to go to the grave site of the murder victims at a memorial park 慈林紀念林園 maintained by the Chilin Foundation. That is a beautiful place to visit up in the mountains about an hour away. It is on highway 9 just over the border into I-Lan County from Taipei county. Also, the foundation arranges many cultural activities that day including poem recitations, music performances, etc. Though memorializing a sad part of Taiwan's past under authoritarian oppression, the event is also a joyful celebration of Taiwan and its present culture and people.

• Identify with other countries that have faced similar situations. You can rent and watch at home that evening movies like "Braveheart" (Scotland), "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" 吹動大麥的風 and "Michael Collins" 邁克爾Collins (Ireland), Katyn (Poland). You can also rent the Korean miniseries 모래시개 The Sandglass about the May 1980 Kwangju Indicident where many students and taxi drivers were murdered by the Korean dictator's troops. And who can forget the shrill Communist propagandized female voice over the radio announcing the Chinese would "liberate" Tibet from the foreigners in the 1997 movie, "Seven Years in Tibet" 七年在西藏 ?

• Go with your friends to watch movies opening in theaters in Taiwan this weekend that portray fights against tyranny and oppression: "Gran Torino" Gran 托裡諾 and "Defiance" 聖戰家園. As your Taiwanese friends walk out of the theater with you after the movie ask them one simple question, "If these kinds of things happened to you in Taiwan, would you be able to stand up against them?"

• Visit the Taiwan Democracy Movement Museum 台灣民主運動館 at the Chilin Foundation Building in I-Lan County. There is also a research library there with original source material on democracy and social movements in Taiwan.

• Learn the (unofficial) Taiwan National Anthem, Verdant Taiwan. You have a choice of Amis, Hakka, or Taiwanese.

• Fly an (unofficial) flag of Taiwan (hint -- flags other than the R.O.C. flag)

1 comment:

Cecilia Ou said...

My prayers are with with all others whose lives were changed by 228.

My husband's grandfather was also a victim. He refused to tell the police where he had hidden the men they wanted, and was taken, tortured, and shot. But, because of his courageous sacrifice, his descendants are able to continue the brave fight against injustice and to live out the love and mercy of God.

Let us all do our best to commemorate our family and to carry out our reponsibilities to fellow-men.