The son of a White Terror-era victim, speaking at a memorial event yesterday, said he hoped that Taiwanese would speak up about the era and not forget the previous generation’s sacrifices.
The annual event — which normally takes place the day before the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday and commemorates victims of political persecution — was delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Liao Chih-ping (廖至平), said he was only four years old when his father, Liao Jui-fa (廖瑞發), was arrested during the White Terror era.
Photo provided by the National Human Rights Museum via CNA
“The only image of my father I have in my mind is that of his picture, which was next to his urn in our family living room,” he said.
His family were affected by the accusations leveled against his father even after his father’s death, Liao said, adding that he and other family members were never permitted to talk about his father.
The first time he heard his father being discussed was when his older sister was interviewed last month about the events surrounding their father’s death, he said.
During the interview, his sister talked about going with their mother to identify their father’s body, he said.
Taipei’s National Human Rights Museum invited members of the Taiwan Association for the Care of the Victims of Political Persecution during the Martial Law Period and other non-profit groups yesterday to commemorate family members who were victims of political persecution, and to share their families’ experiences.
Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得) was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict with the memorial service of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), but met with the group’s members on Friday and offered his condolences.
Lee said he hoped that the museum would continue its work of uncovering facts about the authoritarian era, and teaching the public about what it finds, so that the era would not be forgotten and history would not be repeated.
Deputy Minister of Culture Kevin Peng (彭俊亨) yesterday said the White Terror era had not only made victims of the roughly 7,000 people whose names are inscribed on the plaque at Taipei’s Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park; it also resulted in the destruction of many households.
“Nobody who lived through this history can count themselves as unaffected by it,” he said.
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