What is this all about?!

Saving Siraya is a blog dedicated to the protection of a Taiwanese indigenous tribe that is not officially recognized by the government and therefore denied of basic human rights.

Due to the demands of Zhong Xing University and the Taiwanese national government, starting JUNE 29th, 2011 Siraya homes will be demolished and families already suffering from poverty will become homeless. After demolition the university intends to use the land for its agricultural department.

Approximately 20 Siraya families will be affected, some of which have lived on this ancestral land for up to 150 years.

See "Saving Siraya" for a detailed post on the Siraya's situation.

** UPDATE: A recent meeting between Zhong Xin University representatives, the Tainan City mayor, city councillors, and Siraya representatives has resulted in an agreement. The city government has been granted three months to prepare documents proving that Siraya settlements predate 1920. These documents will be signed by the mayor and will thereby protect ancestral land from further disruption. The university agrees to cooperate once these documents have been approved by the Tainan City mayor! Court hearings and demolitions have been postponed three months accordingly.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why Come to Taiwan?

When I tell people I’m in Taiwan for the summer volunteering the most common question that I am asked is “Why Taiwan?” Well, I’ll tell you why—because in January 2011 I came to study politics with classmates from Austin College, but one of the highlights of the trip was meeting the Siraya at the Presbyterian Church. They were so welcoming, so enthusiastic, they served us one of the best meals of the trip, and I told my friends later that day that the Siraya already felt like family. Family is so important because everybody needs a sense of unity to feel safe and loved. Yet family is not only the people we live with or the people we are related to, family is the networks we create around us and the friendships we establish that last a lifetime and bring unending joy and happiness. When I visited this Siraya village I saw a family, I felt the warmth of family and I witnessed the love of a family. What can be found in this village is so special and so precious, and forces in Taiwan are trying to tear it apart. But these forces are not beyond our control. The Siraya must stand together in this time of sorrow because a united front is the strongest weapon against any enemy. A people united rise and a people divided fall, so remember your family, remember your people, remember your ancestors and your heritage. Most of all remember God and his love for this family of Siraya that he has created. God gave the world the gift of the Siraya people, and it is time for the Siraya to show God how much they are willing to sacrifice to keep this family together. “Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Winston Churchill

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