Linda Arrigo writes:

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Green Island 2006 Trip

October 20-22 (Friday through Sunday)

Dear Taiwan History Friends,

This is a note to let you know that there will be a cultural activity on Green Island, October 20-22, 2006 (Friday through Sunday morning), for which a large number of former political prisoners will be invited to travel back to Green Island. This is the third or fourth time that this has been held.

Others may participate at their own expense. This is a good opportunity for those interested in Taiwan history to get an insight on Green Island from the point of view of those who were previously incarcerated. The former prisoners who can still travel are in their late 60s and 70s now, so don’t pass up this occasion (which after 2007 may well not be held again).

From my experience in past years, the political prisoners coming from Taipei will take the train at about 9 am and arrive in Taidong about 3-4 pm. There will be bus transport to the wharf at Taidong, and the hydrofoil to Green Island takes about 45 minutes; but it may take more than one boatload to transport everybody. The train is about NT$700 and the boat is NT$400.

The program this year is rather innovative. It starts at 7 pm Friday (October 20) on Green Island and continues through the whole night till morning, symbolizing waiting for the dawn of democracy. The performances will be at the open amphitheatre of the Human Rights Memorial near the political prison that is now turned into a museum.

It continues at 2 pm on Saturday, allowing a breather for sleep or for exploring the island. Don’t forget that there is a hot springs in the surf on the other side of the island, one of only two in Asia, and some nice facilities have been built up around it (about NT$200 entrance fee; the natural pools down near the ocean’s edge are my favorites). There is also a hiking trail over the island. Although Human Rights Day is December 10, winter is not the best time to go to Green Island because of the strong cold winds, so hopefully October is still pleasant enough for the hot springs.

The Saturday program is 2-9:30 pm, with probably a big feast somewhere in the middle, and then Sunday 9 am to 1 pm. Of course talking with the former political prisoners is more useful than the cultural performances, and the trip down on the train is the best time. Also very enlightening is a walk with them through the museum and to the graveyard and huge cave which was their auditorium in the 1950s.

The contact for reservations for this event is the East Coast Tourist Bureau, Miss Lee Chia-yen, 089-671095, E-mail: cad650@cro.cca.gov.tw.

However, I (Linda Arrigo, (02) 2662-3677, 0928899931, linda.arrigo@msa.hinet.net ) will try to help coordinate for foreigners who wish to go, e.g. making joint travel arrangements with the political prisoners who are going by train. I’ve gone three times before myself, so I won’t go this time. But I’ll be happy to e-mail you my report and pictures from May 2005. Please get in contact with me asap. The main expense may be NT$1-2,000 for hotel in Green Island , but that could be decreased for shared rooms; Miss Lee will try to find less expensive hostels near where the political prisoners will be put up at government expense.

Linda Gail Arrigo, Ph.D. Sociology
Green Party Taiwan, International Officer