Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NIU to Receive Donation of Rizal Manuscripts

Dr. Jose P. Rizal
In celebration of the sesquicentennial of Dr. Jose P. Rizal's birth, Consul General Leo M. Herrera-Lim of the Consulate General of the Philippines Chicago will donate copies of the original manuscripts of two of Dr. Rizal's famous novels to Northern Illinois University on Friday, May 6, 2011.  The novels Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed), published by the National Historical Institute of the Philippines, will be dedicated as tokens for the Chicago celebration of Dr. Rizal's 150th birth in an effort to propagate, enlighten, and increase the awareness of the public about Rizal's literature, not only to the Filipino American community, but also to the broader American audience.  The Consulate will also be holding yearlong activities, including art exhibits, workshops, cultural presentations, film showings, storytelling sessions, lectures series, and book discussions about Dr. Rizal's life, work, and famous novels in different venues around Chicagoland. 

NIU was chosen for this honor for various reasons, including being the home of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, one of only seven Title VI Southeast Asian National Resource Centers in the United States.  Additionally, the NIU University Libraries are home to the Don V. Hart Southeast Asia Collection, an impressive collection of Southeast Asia related materials, such as original manuscripts, field notes, photo albums, original art work, rare books, large and expensive folios, and palm-leaf manuscripts. "NIU has a thriving Asian community, which is vital to the university's global initiatives," said Lina Ong, Director of the International Training Office at NIU. NIU has also hosted the Philippine Youth Leadership Program, sponsored by the U.S State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, for the last eight years.  "The generous donation from the Philippine Consulate General of copies of the original manuscripts of the famous novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo will further boost the rich resources available to NIU's Southeast Asian, and in particular, Philippine, programs, " said Ong.

Original Cover of Noli Me Tangere
Jose Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines and is considered the greatest symbol of Filipino nationalism. With hopes of securing political and social reforms for his country and to educate his countrymen, he published several works with highly nationalistic and revolutionary tendencies.  Two of those works are being donated to NIU.  In March 1887, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not), a satirical novel exposing the arrogance and despotism of the Spanish clergy, was published in Berlin, and on September 18, 1891, El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed), a more revolutionary and tragic sequel to Noli Me Tange, was printed in Ghent. Because of his fearless exposures of the injustices committed by the civil and clerical officials, Rizal provoked the animosity of those in power. This made him troublesome to the Spanish officials of the Philippines.

When the Philippine Revolution started on August 26, 1896, he became a target of those in power.  He was arrested and charged with rebellion, sedition, and illegal organization.  He was convicted of all three after a mock trial during which he was not allowed to confront any witnesses. He was imprisoned in Fort Santiago in Manila from November 3, 1896, until his death on December 30, 1896, via gunshot at Bagumbayan Field.

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