Stood in front of "The 3rd of May 1808: The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid", I trembled. Lotus asked "What's
wrong, Dad？" I couldn't utter a word. Tears free flew down to my chin and on to the marble floor.
It is a humongous oil painting on the wall of the Fine Art Museum of Madrid, painted by Francisco Goya.
Napoleon's armies entered Spain. On his balcony, Goya witnessed the brutal slaughter of innocent citizens in the
street. Next day, he went out and found piles of bodies by the wall of a ruin. In pain, he reconstructed the last moment
of these fallen citizens of his.
Those astonishing, despairing, and agonizing eyes! Those fallen, twitching, and curved bodies! They are so real and
so close to me. I could smell the smoke from the muskets of French invaders. I could hear the groan. And I was
standing right in front of this tragedy in progress!
Everything was just like Father taught me 42 years ago. Father taught me this story from this painting on a foreign
calendar. He pointed to the eyes of the victims and told me how scared they must have been. And I was standing right
in front of this original masterpiece in Madrid.
It stroke me hard that it was the time Father was frequently arrested by the Taiwanese KMT secret police when he
taught me about this oil painting and how to appreciate humanity and human suffering. I had never thought of Father
was telling me from his own experience before.
Father was brutalized and even mock executed in the dark cell in those days. He witnessed the real execution of
innocent people. But, he had never told me what happened to him. His interrogator, who sought Father's help for a job
after retiring from the secret police force, told Mother what his colleagues did to Father and apologized.
It was May 3 yesterday. My heart is very heavy. 5/4/2000
大土佬兒於 03/03/2006 記於阿帕拉契山中
The 3rd of May 1808