Blogiversary: 10/2/2013

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Death of Cha Seung Yul, 성길 차

Today, I asked my mother about the death of her father, why exactly he died and what she remembered about the death.  My maternal grandfather's name was Seung Yul Cha (or by Korean tradition of surname first- Cha Seung Yul, 성길 차).  He was a journalist and a politician of the Democratic party in South Korea, and in the middle of a campaign to become one of the leaders of his town (a mayor, a governor, councilman, we're unsure).  An article was written by my grandfather and was printed in the Chosun Ilbo that basically brought his life to an end.

Apparently, he knew too much about something he wrote and men came to my mother's home in the middle of the night while everyone was asleep, and dragged him out.  My mom said she was told that her father was tortured for days regarding this article, and was interrogated to which he could not give a sufficient enough answer as to why he knew what he knew.

My grandmother called upon one of her nephews (her sister's son), a high ranking officer in the Korean army, by the name of "Oh" (phonetic spelling) to help her find Cha Seung Yul.  He knew exactly where to go.  When he found my grandfather, my grandfather was on the floor, still being electrocuted and begging to be shot to end the torture and interrogation. Oh stopped the men from the attacks and scooped my grandfather up and put him on his shoulder and carried him home.

He made it to a hospital and my grandmother was pregnant with my uncle at the same time.  They laid side-by-side in the hospital.  My grandfather called my mother's name, asking for water.  He was breathing hard.  The last thing he said was my mother's name when he passed away.  My grandfather was still in the midst of his campaign and needed only 6 more votes when he passed.

Against Korean tradition of the eldest son to be the role of Sangju (master of ceremonies), my mother, the second born between her father and mother (her father had children from a different relationship), got the role.  She attended his funeral for the duration of 3 days up until the burial.  My mother doesn't know the official "cause of death" but she said he was bleeding internally.  He was buried on a mountain (possibly Surak mountain) near a tree.

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