jose rizal

Sprogkamp

Vi havde engang en kemilærere på besøg, der var en kende irriteret over, at kemikere når de underviste selv på begynder niveau havde det med, at pladre selv forholdvis enkle sammenhæng ind i fagjagong, hvad hun mente skadede fagets omdømme i almindelighed og i særdeleshed, at det forhindrede folk i have et fornuftigt forhold til faget. Som hun sagde: Man kan bruge sproget til så meget og ikke al brug er nødvendigvis konstruktiv. Og det er ganske vidst: nogle mennesker ser et lighedstegn mellem kemi og gift.

Tilbagebage i 2009 havde hædersmanden, og en passant ikke-tilhænger af dødsstraf og vold som middel i opdragelsen af børn, Søren Krarup en kronik i Pravda i Pilestræde, hvor han præsenterede argumenterne for en lov, der skulle sikre det danske sprog. Vi lader ligge, at vi her i huset ikke mener lovgivning eller anden politisk indgriben er egnet til den slags. Fra kronikken:

Jeg fandt dette meget groft, og i anledning af en tilsvarende holdning på Landbohøjskolen, der offentligt bekendtgjorde, at »inden år 2010 skal engelsk være det primære undervisningssprog for alle kandidatuddannelser«, besluttede vi at råbe vagt i gevær. Det handler om det danske sprogs overlevelse, i hvert fald inden for de videregående uddannelser. »Det er ikke meningen med dette forslag, at vi her i landet skal afskære os fra udlandet og lukke os hermetisk inde i vort eget sprogområde. Det drejer sig om at sikre det danske sprogs fremtidige eksistens. Forudsætningen for det internationale er som bekendt det nationale«.

Beslutningsforslaget kom til første behandling i Folketinget 30.januar 2007, hvor jeg begyndte med at understrege, at der her ikke var tale om politik, endsige partipolitik. »Det danske sprogs skæbne er et fælles dansk anliggende, og det er i bekymring for det danske sprogs eksistens i fremtiden, at vi i dag fremkommer med dette beslutningsforslag om forberedelse af en dansk sproglov. Vi er bange for, at dansk er ved at forsvinde.

Vi er bange for, at dansk efterhånden synker ned til at være et almuesprog, som ikke kan benyttes af alle i landet i alle sammenhænge.«

Til min store glæde blev forslaget venligt og positivt modtaget af alle partier, og der var enighed om, at noget måtte gøres for at hævde det danske sprog. Men vi lod det ikke komme til afstemning ved en anden behandling, hvor resultatet alligevel ville være tvivlsomt, men vi accepterede, at det mundede ud i nedsættelse af et sprogudvalg, som efter en grundig behandling af problemet skulle komme med forslag til styrkelse af det danske sprog.

I april 2008 offentliggjorde sprogudvalget sin rapport, »Sprog til Tiden«, som fremkom med mange anbefalinger til at hævde det danske sprog i en truet situation – men det blev ved anbefalingerne. »Hvor det drejer sig om forslag om at udmønte udvalgets anbefalinger i bindende bestemmelser eller lovgivning, har der ikke kunnet opnås en fælles forståelse«, hed det i rapporten.

Jose Rizal, som vi just var i venlig kommentar udveksling med Black Watch på Uriasposten vedrørende er citeret for den her:

While a people preserves its language; it preserves the marks of liberty.
Og noget strammere den her:
He who does not love his own language is worse than an animal and smelly fish.
En drøj omgang fra en mand, der beherskede flere sprog.
I Rizals Noli me Tangera (The Social Cancer) , som kan læses her, finder man følgende om det med sprog i kapitlet om Doña Consolacion:

When Sisa was brought in she came calmly, showing neither wonder nor fear. She seemed to see no lady or mistress, and this wounded the vanity of the Muse, who endeavored to inspire respect and fear. She coughed, made a sign to the soldiers to leave her, and taking down her husband’s whip, said to the crazy woman in a sinister tone, “Come on, magcantar icau!2

Naturally, Sisa did not understand such Tagalog, and this ignorance calmed the Medusa’s wrath, for one of the beautiful qualities of this lady was to try not to know Tagalog, or at least to appear not to know it. Speaking it the worst possible, she would thus give herself the air of a genuine orofea,3 as she was accustomed to say. But she did well, for if she martyrized Tagalog, Spanish fared no better with her, either in regard to grammar or pronunciation, in spite of her husband, the chairs and the shoes, all of which had done what they could to teach her.

One of the words that had cost her more effort than the hieroglyphics cost Champollion was the name Filipinas. The story goes that on the day after her wedding, when she was talking with her husband, who was then a corporal, she had said Pilipinas. The corporal thought it his duty to correct her, so he said, slapping her on the head, “Say Felipinas, woman! Don’t be stupid! Don’t you know that’s what your damned country is called, from Felipe?

The woman, dreaming through her honeymoon, wished to obey and said Felepinas. To the corporal it seemed that she was getting nearer to it, so he increased the slaps and reprimanded her thus: “But, woman, can’t you pronounce Felipe? Don’t forget it; you know the king, Don Felipe—the fifth—. Say Felipe, and add to it nas, which in Latin means ‘islands of Indians,’ and you have the name of your damned country!”

[304]Consolacion, at that time a washerwoman, patted her bruises and repeated with symptoms of losing her patience, “Fe-li-pe, Felipe—nas, Fe-li-pe-nas, Felipinas, so?”

The corporal saw visions. How could it be Felipenas instead of Felipinas? One of two things: either it was Felipenas or it was necessary to say Felipi! So that day he very prudently dropped the subject. Leaving his wife, he went to consult the books. Here his astonishment reached a climax: he rubbed his eyes—let’s see—slowly, now! F-i-l-i-p-i-n-a-s, Filipinas! So all the well-printed books gave it—neither he nor his wife was right!

“How’s this?” he murmured. “Can history lie? Doesn’t this book say that Alonso Saavedra gave the country that name in honor of the prince, Don Felipe? How was that name corrupted? Can it be that this Alonso Saavedra was an Indian?”4

With these doubts he went to consult the sergeant Gomez, who, as a youth, had wanted to be a curate. Without deigning to look at the corporal the sergeant blew out a mouthful of smoke and answered with great pompousness, “In ancient times it was pronounced Filipi instead of Felipe. But since we moderns have become Frenchified we can’t endure two i’s in succession, so cultured people, especially in Madrid—you’ve never been in Madrid?—cultured people, as I say, have begun to change the first i to e in many words. This is called modernizing yourself.”

The poor corporal had never been in Madrid—here was the cause of his failure to understand the riddle: what things are learned in Madrid! “So now it’s proper to say—”

“In the ancient style, man! This country’s not yet cultured! [305]In the ancient style, Filipinas!” exclaimed Gomez disdainfully.

The corporal, even if he was a bad philologist, was yet a good husband. What he had just learned his spouse must also know, so he proceeded with her education: “Consola, what do you call your damned country?”

“What should I call it? Just what you taught me: Felifinas!

“I’ll throw a chair at you, you ———! Yesterday you pronounced it even better in the modern style, but now it’s proper to pronounce it like an ancient: Feli, I mean, Filipinas!

“Remember that I’m no ancient! What are you thinking about?”

“Never mind! Say Filipinas!

“I don’t want to. I’m no ancient baggage, scarcely thirty years old!” she replied, rolling up her sleeves and preparing herself for the fray.

“Say it, you ———, or I’ll throw this chair at you!”

Consolacion saw the movement, reflected, then began to stammer with heavy breaths, “Feli-, Fele-, File—

Pum! Crack! The chair finished the word. So the lesson ended in fisticuffs, scratchings, slaps. The corporal caught her by the hair; she grabbed his goatee, but was unable to bite because of her loose teeth. He let out a yell, released her and begged her pardon. Blood began to flow, one eye got redder than the other, a camisa was torn into shreds, many things came to light, but not Filipinas.

Similar incidents occurred every time the question of language came up. The corporal, watching her linguistic progress, sorrowfully calculated that in ten years his mate would have completely forgotten how to talk, and this was about what really came to pass. When they were married she still knew Tagalog and could make herself understood in Spanish, but now, at the time of our story, she no longer spoke any language. She had become so addicted to expressing herself by means of signs—and of these she chose [306]the loudest and most impressive—that she could have given odds to the inventor of Volapuk.

Sisa, therefore, had the good fortune not to understand her, so the Medusa smoothed out her eyebrows a little, while a smile of satisfaction lighted up her face; undoubtedly she did not know Tagalog, she was an orofea!

“Boy, tell her in Tagalog to sing! She doesn’t understand me, she doesn’t understand Spanish!”

Rizal day

30 december 1896 blev José Rizal henrettet efter en tvivlsom retsag gående på, at han skulle have anstiftet oprør lokalt mod det spanske imperium. Tvivlsomt fordi han propaganderede for det modsatte, bl.a. udfra den betragtning at et oprør ikke kunne vindes med de til rådighed stående midler overfor et regulært politi og militær, og der hverken ved retsagen eller sidenhen er kommet noget frem, der bare antyder han blot skulle have båret det synspunkt som et dække for andre aktiviteter.

30. december er philippinsk nationaldag, Rizal Day, kaldet.

Venstreekstremister er sidenhen ankommet på den konklussion, under dække af at arbejde “historisk/akademisk”, at Rizal blot var en figur som “amerikanerne” lod udnævne til nationalhelt som led i kolonialt “brød & skuespil”. Det er naturligvis forkert allerede fordi han var velkendt og vellidt mens han levede. Personer som Bennedict Anderson og Ian Buruma er proponenter for en sådan udlægning b.a.. YEN MAKABENTA tager i Manila Times i anledning af årets Rizal Day fat i den historie og skriver bl.a.:

In his fine book, A Nation Aborted: Rizal, American hegemony and Philippine Nationalism (Ateneo University Press, 2008), Floro C. Quibuyen discusses at length the fruits of his research on the issue.

First Philippine Republic started Rizal Day   
His first entry is reassuring:
“Rizal Day was actually started not by the Americans but by the Filipinos. The first commemoration was held on 30 December 1898, when General Aguinaldo, on behalf of the revolutionary government at Malolos, Bulacan, officially declared that day as a national day of mourning in solemn observance of the second anniversary of Rizal’s execution.

Quibuyen cites the work of an Englishwoman to show how veneration of Rizal had spread as far as the Visayas. The lady is Mrs. Campbell Dauncey, who wrote an account of her visit to the archipelago, an Englishwoman in the Philippines….

In a letter dated Dec. 31, 1904, she wrote an interesting account of Rizal Day in the town of Iloilo. In this brief epistle, she strikes at the heart of the political problem then facing the American regime.

She wrote:
“I think you may be amused to hear about a Filipino fiesta, which took place yesterday, called Rizal Day – the anniversary of the death of the national hero, a Filipino of the name of Doctor Rizal. He was the William Tell of the Philippines, except that his existence was a reality, not a myth, for he died only eight years ago.”

Further on, she reported:
“I have met people who were present at the execution of Rizal, and they tell me that the crowds were vast, and relate how Rizal faced a line of soldiers bravely and was shot. Rizal had a nice, clever face of a refined Filipino type, if one can trust the portraits on the Conant bank notes, and the Filipinos simply adore his memory.”

It’s striking from this account that Philippine bank notes carried the portrait of Rizal barely two years after the Revolution was declared over, and the American civil government installed.

Dauncey made one final comment on Rizal Day when she said that Filipinos would seize on the anniversary “to give relief to some of their patriotic emotions.”

Sammenligningen med Wilhelm Tell kan virke opstyltet, men er relevant nok, for udover at Rizal oversatte H. C. Andersen så oversatte han også Wilhelm Tell (o.a.) til tagalog, hvad vor englænderinde jo nok har været klar over.

A pro pos: Rizal Day 2000 udførte muhammedanske terrorister et koordineret bombeangreb i Manila; wiki., hvad vel nu kan ses som en slags generalprøve på senere angreb af den type.

Kronologi omkring angrebet, her.

Før henrettelsens digte

I just foregående postering havde vi fat i poeten Thomas Bobergs bagvaskelse af Martin Kasler (den der gode tone, man høre og læser så meget om) og temmelig håbløse forsvar af løgnhalsen Jacob Holdts meritter. Der findes dog poeter, der kan udtrykke sig klart, selv i situationer, hvor det handler om det ultimative farvel.

Først danske Marius Fiil

Kære elskede Gudrun,
Bitten, Tulle, Gerda, Ritha og Otto og Stumpen!

Nu har Klokken slaget 11 og snart 12, og vi skal væk herfra, Vorherre kalder os hjem til sig, og vi får det godt alle hjemme hos ham, så godt, som et Menneske kan få det, vi er ved godt Mod allesammen, for vi ved jo, at vi går hjem til den evige Hvile i Herrens Arme.

Og når alle I kære derhjemme holder sammen om vores kære Hjem og arbejder for det, da mødes vi engang i Herrens Hus, hvor der er Fred og ingen Krig, og til den Tid må I stå sammen og holde sammen og arbejde for Hjem og Danmarks Sag, så den Slægt, som skal bære vort Slægtsnavn frem, kan sige:

“Vore Fædre faldt med Ære for Danmark og for vores Konge.”

Husk, der er mange, der faldt før os. Husk danske Sømænd ude i Verden. Danske herhjemme før os, og dem efter os, – alle har vi gjort, hvad vi kunde, om det kun var lidt, men vi skammer os ikke, vi siger som Blicher: “La vos aalti blyv ved de, Faar sit Baan ka kinnes ve.”

Og vi kan være vore Børn bekendt, kære Gudrun, og bliv ved med den samme Opdragelse, så vil de ære dit og mit minde, og det vil blive bevaret i Frem tiden.

Der vil komme sorgfulde Dage for dig, min Elskede, med Kamp og Arbejde, men du må bære det i Herrens Navn og stole på ham, han har hjulpet mig i, de sidste Dage, læg trygt din Tillid til ham, og han vil hjælpe jer alle, Herren Vil hjælpe jer, Herren vil bevare jer, Herren vil lyse Fred over jer alle og Herren vil alle Dage være med Eder alle, I kære derhjemme.

Jeres Far og din Mand, Marius.
“My Last Farewell”
translation by Encarnacion Alzona & Isidro Escare Abeto [fra spansk, originalen findes i linket]

Farewell, my adored Land, region of the sun caressed,
Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost,
With gladness I give you my life, sad and repressed;
And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best,
I would still give it to you for your welfare at most.

On the fields of battle, in the fury of fight,
Others give you their lives without pain or hesitancy,
The place does not matter: cypress, laurel, lily white;
Scaffold, open field, conflict or martyrdom’s site,
It is the same if asked by the home and country.

I die as I see tints on the sky b’gin to show
And at last announce the day, after a gloomy night;
If you need a hue to dye your matutinal glow,
Pour my blood and at the right moment spread it so,
And gild it with a reflection of your nascent light

My dreams, when scarcely a lad adolescent,
My dreams when already a youth, full of vigor to attain,
Were to see you, Gem of the Sea of the Orient,
Your dark eyes dry, smooth brow held to a high plane,
Without frown, without wrinkles and of shame without stain.

My life’s fancy, my ardent, passionate desire,
Hail! Cries out the soul to you, that will soon part from thee;
Hail! How sweet ’tis to fall that fullness you may acquire;
To die to give you life, ‘neath your skies to expire,
And in thy mystic land to sleep through eternity!

If over my tomb some day, you would see blow,
A simple humble flow’r amidst thick grasses,
Bring it up to your lips and kiss my soul so,
And under the cold tomb, I may feel on my brow,
Warmth of your breath, a whiff of thy tenderness.

Let the moon with soft, gentle light me descry,
Let the dawn send forth its fleeting, brilliant light,
In murmurs grave allow the wind to sigh,
And should a bird descend on my cross and alight,
Let the bird intone a song of peace o’er my site.

Let the burning sun the raindrops vaporize
And with my clamor behind return pure to the sky;
Let a friend shed tears over my early demise;
And on quiet afternoons when one prays for me on high,
Pray too, oh, my Motherland, that in God may rest I.

Pray thee for all the hapless who have died,
For all those who unequalled torments have undergone;
For our poor mothers who in bitterness have cried;
For orphans, widows and captives to tortures were shied,
And pray too that you may see your own redemption.

And when the dark night wraps the cemet’ry
And only the dead to vigil there are left alone,
Don’t disturb their repose, disturb not the mystery:
If thou hear the sounds of cithern or psaltery,
It is I, dear Country, who, a song t’you intone.

And when my grave by all is no more remembered,
With neither cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let it be plowed by man, with spade let it be scattered
And my ashes ere to nothingness are restored,
Let them turn to dust to cover thy earthly space.

Then it doesn’t matter that you should forget me:
Your atmosphere, your skies, your vales I’ll sweep;
Vibrant and clear note to your ears I shall be:
Aroma, light, hues, murmur, song, moanings deep,
Constantly repeating the essence of the faith I keep.

My idolized Country, for whom I most gravely pine,
Dear Philippines, to my last goodbye, oh, harken
There I leave all: my parents, loves of mine,
I’ll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen
Where faith does not kill and where God alone does reign.

Farewell, parents, brothers, beloved by me,
Friends of my childhood, in the home distressed;
Give thanks that now I rest from the wearisome day;
Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, who brightened my way;
Farewell to all I love; to die is to rest.

Lidt om HCA og Rizal

Den danske ambassadør på Filippinerne har opdaget der er en forbindelse mellem Hans Christian Andersen og Jose Rizal og fortæller det på FB og twitter med henvisning til denne artikel. Ambassadøren, Jan Top Christensen, har UH omtalt bl.a. her.

Forbindelsen går videre end, at Rizal oversatte HCA til Tagalog, som er største sprog på Filippinerne og grundlag for filipino, den officielle fælles dialekt, omend den ikke tales af andre end tagalog talende og hverken er størst eller tales af en majoritet. Der er over 100 sprog på Filippinerne.

Rizal oversatte en lang række HCA tekster, i første omgang i breve til familien mens han opholdt sig i Europa, ikke mindst Tyskland. Nogen af oversættelserne blev så udgivet i en bog. Der står et eksemplar på HCA biblioteket i Odense. Rizal har skrevet tekster om mangt og meget. Omdrejningspunkt er dannelse af en Filippinsk nation og ikke mindst i den forbindelse, undervisning af folk i deres egen historien som middel til at nå målet. Rizal var en del af den gruppe der kendes som “propaganda movement”, som så i øvrigt ikke var enige om metoder og mål. Skulle man gå efter sit mål med magt og skulle man gå efter fuld selvstændighed, eller en ordning som ligeværdig partner indenfor en spansk ramme? Rizal var af den opfattelse, at forsøg med magt var tiden ikke moden til, med det synspunkt at det blandt andet handlede om folks bevidsthed om egen plads i historien, hvorfor uddannelse af samme grund måtte ses som en hjørnesten for videre udvikling. Målet, fællesskab på lige fod med Spanien eller fuld uafhængighed, var et spørgsmål hvor han var tilfreds med en af delene.

På nutidens politiskeskala kan han ses som nationalist, og liberal på økonomiske spørgsmål. Socialisme afviser han, med en kort bemærkning om, at det ikke passer til sædvane på øerne, samt at folk i de lavere økonomiske klasser har det bedre end deres tilsvarende i Spanien. Islam, hvor han udemærket kendte koranen, så han som en kilde til barberi og tilbageskridt. I sit personlige liv var han kosmopolit, men spor af synspunkter om, at al verdens folk skal gøres til ét, finder man ikke. Eller for den sags skyld, at kosmopolitisme skal gå forud for nationale interesser. I et dagbogs notat skrevet under et ophold i USA (med iagtagelser fra et ophold på en togstation), at visse (racer) ser ud til at leve i kummer kår og at det må overkommes, hvis USA skal være/blive én nation.

Tilbage til hans brug af HCA, det indskrænker sig ikke til oversættelse, HCA bruges som inspiratorisk kilde i ting han har skrevet f.eks. i dette citat fra Noli me Tangera (The Social Cancer):

“Listen, mother, to what I’ve been thinking about. Today there arrived from Spain the son of the dead Don Rafael, and he will be a good man like his father. Well now, mother, tomorrow you will get Crispin, collect my wages, and say that I will not be a sacristan any longer. As soon as I get well I’ll go to see Don Crisostomo and ask him to hire me as a herdsman of his cattle and carabaos—I’m now big enough. Crispin can study with old Tasio, who does not whip and who is a good man, even if the curate does not believe so. What have we to fear now from the padre? Can he make us any poorer than we are? You may believe it, mother, the old man is good. I’ve seen him often in the church when no one else was about, kneeling and praying, believe it. So, mother, I’ll stop being a sacristan. I earn but little and that little is taken away from me in fines. Every one complains of the same thing. I’ll be a herdsman and by performing my tasks carefully I’ll make my employer like me. Perhaps he’ll let us milk a cow so that we can drink milk—Crispin likes milk so much. Who can tell! Maybe they’ll give us a little calf if they see that I behave well and we’ll take care of it and fatten it like our hen. I’ll pick fruits in the woods and sell them in the town along with the vegetables from our garden, so we’ll have money. I’ll set snares and traps to catch birds and wild cats,2 I’ll fish in the river, and when I’m bigger, I’ll hunt. I’ll be able also to cut firewood to sell or to present to the owner of the cows, and so he’ll be satisfied with us. When I’m able to plow, I’ll ask him to let me have a piece of land to plant in sugar-cane or corn and you won’t have to sew until midnight. We’ll [117]have new clothes for every fiesta, we’ll eat meat and big fish, we’ll live free, seeing each other every day and eating together. Old Tasio says that Crispin has a good head and so we’ll send him to Manila to study. I’ll support him by working hard. Isn’t that fine, mother? Perhaps he’ll be a doctor, what do you say?”

“What can I say but yes?” said Sisa as she embraced her son. She noted, however, that in their future the boy took no account of his father, and shed silent tears.

Basilio went on talking of his plans with the confidence of the years that see only what they wish for. To everything Sisa said yes—everything appeared good.

Sleep again began to weigh down upon the tired eyelids of the boy, and this time Ole-Luk-Oie, of whom Andersen tells us, spread over him his beautiful umbrella with its pleasing pictures. Now he saw himself with his little brother as they picked guavas, alpay, and other fruits in the woods; they clambered from branch to branch, light as butterflies; they penetrated into the caves and saw the shining rocks; they bathed in the springs where the sand was gold-dust and the stones like the jewels in the Virgin’s crown. The little fishes sang and laughed, the plants bent their branches toward them laden with golden fruit. Then he saw a bell hanging in a tree with a long rope for ringing it; to the rope was tied a cow with a bird’s nest between her horns and Crispin was inside the bell.

Thus he went on dreaming, while his mother, who was not of his age and who had not run for an hour, slept not.

and this time Ole-Luk-Oie, of whom Andersen tells us, er en note fra oversætter Charles Derbyshire, der ikke findes i den spansk sprogede original. 

I øvrigt er Noli et must read for nationalt orienterede. Udover at være vittig og morsom; en kærligheds historie (om Rizals egen ungdoms kærlighed) så bliver de træk ved folk der danner en nation påpeget, hvordan man kommer videre derfra osv. Dertil er det mesterlig propaganda som man kan lære af. Og bogen og Rizal var trods forbud mod bogen, almindeligt kendt på øerne i samtiden. Og person galleriet i bogen er hentet ud af virkeligheden, de virkelige personer bag karaktererne er kendte.

 

HCAs Ole Luk øje:

Ole Lukøie.I hele Verden er der ingen, der kan saa mange Historier, som Ole Lukøie! – Han kan rigtignok fortælle!

Saadan ud paa Aftenen, naar Børn sidde nok saa net ved Bordet, eller paa deres Skammel, kommer Ole Lukøie; han kommer saa stille op ad Trappen; for han gaaer paa Hosesokker, han lukker ganske sagte Døren op og fut! saa sprøiter han Børnene sød Mælk ind i Øinene, saa fiint, saa fiint, men dog altid nok til at de ikke kunne holde Øinene aabne, og derfor ikke see ham; han lister sig lige bag ved, blæser dem sagte i Nakken, og saa blive de tunge i Hovedet, o ja! men det gjør ikke ondt, for Ole Lukøie mener det just godt med Børnene, han vil bare have at de skulle være rolige, og det ere de bedst, naar man faaer dem i Seng, de skulle være stille, for at han kan fortælle dem Historier. –

Naar Børnene nu sove, sætter Ole Lukøie sig paa Sengen; han er godt klædt paa, hans Frakke er af Silketøi, men det er ikke mueligt at sige, hvad Couleur den har, for den skinner grøn, rød og blaa, alt ligesom han dreier sig; under hver Arm holder han en Paraply, een med Billeder paa, og den sætter han over de gode Børn, og saa drømme de hele Natten de deiligste Historier, og een Paraply har han, hvor der slet intet er paa, og den sætter han over de uartige Børn, saa sove de saa tosset og har om Morgenen, naar de vaagne, ikke drømt det allermindste.

 

H C Andersen, Rizal, the Filipina

Other day, october 13, we bloged that celeb Valerie Wiegmann, had won a beauty contest. Valerie was mentioning her german/danish father as inspiration for her entrepreneurship, which is just fair. Germans and danish are entrepreneurish, in general. But they are not the only ones. Filipinas can be it as well. Which is an oppetunity to put a little attention to Jose Rizal’s letter to the young women of Malolos. Rizal by the way, was also translator of a number of danish fairytale novelist Hans Christian Andersen stories. And thereby likely the one who introduced Andersen in Asia and also likely the gate to make Andersen famous in China. It can be noticed, that Rizal get a little use of Andersen in Noli Me Tangere. Since the letter is written at a time, when Rizal had read Andersen, it’s possible that a trace can be seen. Please, point to it if you see it.

The letter:

 

NOTE: Rizal wrote this famous letter in Tagalog, while he was residing in London, upon the request of M. H. del Pilar.     The story behind this letter is this: On December 12, 1888, a group of twenty young women of Malolos petitioned Governor-General Weyler for permission to open a “night school” so that they might study Spanish under Teodoro Sandiko. Fr. Felipe Garcia, the Spanish parish priest, objected to the proposal.     Therefore the governor-general turned down the petition.     However, the young women, in defiance of the friar’s wrath, bravely continued their agitation for the school – a thing unheard of in the Philippines in those times. They finally succeeded in obtaining government approval to their project on the condition that Señora Guadalupe Reyes should be their teacher.     The incident caused a great stir in the Philippines and in far-away Spain. Del Pilar, writing in Barcelona on February 17, 1889, requested Rizal to send a letter in Tagalog to the brave women of Malolos. Accordingly, Rizal, although busy in London annotating Morga’s book penned this famous letter and sent it to Del Pilar on February 22, 1889 for transmittal to Malolos.  NOTE: This document was taken from José Rizal: Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and Naional Hero by Gregorio F. Zaide and Sonia M. Zaide (Manila: National Book Store).

 

When I wrote Noli Me Tangere, I asked myself whether bravery was a common thing in the young women of our people.  I brought back to my recollection and reviewed those I had known since my infancy, but there were only few who seem to come up to my ideal.  There was, it is true, an abundance of girls with agreeable manners, beautiful ways, and modest demeanor, but there was in all an admixture of servitude and deference to the words or whims of their so-called “spiritual fathers” (as if the spirit or soul had any father other than God), due to excessive kindness, modesty, or perhaps ignorance.  They seemed faced plants sown and reared in darkness, having flowers without perfume and fruits without sap.

 

However, when the news of what happened at Malolos reached us, I saw my error, and great was my rejoicing.  After all, who is to blame me?  I did not know Malolos nor its young women, except one called Emila [Emilia Tiongson, whom Rizal met in 1887], and her I knew by name only.

 

Now that you have responded to our first appeal in the interest of the welfare of the people; now that you have set an example to those who, like you, long to have their eyes opened and be delivered from servitude, new hopes are awakened in us and we now even dare to face adversity, because we have you for our allies and are confident of victory.  No longer does the Filipina stand with her head bowed nor does she spend her time on her knees, because she is quickened by hope in the future; no longer will the mother contribute to keeping her daughter in darkness and bring her up in contempt and moral annihilation.  And no longer will the science of all sciences consist in blind submission to any unjust order, or in extreme complacency, nor will a courteous smile be deemed the only weapon against insult or humble tears the ineffable panacea for all tribulations.  You know that the will of God is different from that of the priest; that religiousness does not consist of long periods spent on your knees, nor in endless prayers, big rosarios, and grimy scapularies [religious garment showing devotion], but in a spotless conduct, firm intention and upright judgment.  You also know that prudence does not consist in blindly obeying any whim of the little tin god, but in obeying only that which is reasonable and just, because blind obedience is itself the cause and origin of those whims, and those guilty of it are really to be blamed.  The official or friar can no longer assert that they alone are responsible for their unjust orders, because God gave each individual reason and a will of his or her own to distinguish the just from the unjust; all were born without shackles and free, and nobody has a right to subjugate the will and the spirit of another your thoughts. And, why should you submit to another your thoughts, seeing that thought is noble and free?

 

It is cowardice and erroneous to believe that saintliness consists in blind obedience and that prudence and the habit of thinking are presumptuous.  Ignorance has ever been ignorance, and never prudence and honor. God, the primal source of all wisdom, does not demand that man, created in his image and likeness, allow himself to be deceived and hoodwinked, but wants us to use and let shine the light of reason with which He has so mercifully endowed us.  He may be compared to the father who gave each of his sons a torch to light their way in the darkness bidding them keep its light bright and take care of it, and not put it out and trust to the light of the others, but to help and advise each other to fiind the right path.  They would be madman were they to follow the light of another, only to come to a fall, and the father could unbraid them and say to them: “Did I not give each of you his own torch,” but he cold not say so if the fall were due to the light of the torch of him who fell, as the light might have been dim and the road very bad.

 

The deceiver is fond of using the saying that “It is presumptuous to rely on one’s own judgment,” but, in my opinion, it is more presumptuous for a person to put his judgment above that of the others and try to make it prevail over theirs.  It is more presumptuous for a man to constitute himself into an idol and pretend to be in communication of thought with God; and it is more than presumptuous and even blasphemous for a person to attribute every movement of his lips to God, to represent every whim of his as the will of God, and to brand his own enemy as an enemy of God.  Of course, we should not consult our own judgment alone, but hear the opinion of others before doing what may seem most reasonable to us.  The wild man from the hills, if clad in a priest’s robe, remains a hillman and can only deceive the weak and ignorant.  And, to make my argument more conclusive, just buy a priest’s robe as the Franciscans wear it and put it on a carabao [domestic water buffalo], and you will be lucky if the carabao does not become lazy on account of the robe.  But I will leave this subject to speak of something else.

 

Youth is a flower-bed that is to bear rich fruit and must accumulate wealth for its descendants.  What offspring will be that of a woman whose kindness of character is expressed by mumbled prayers; who knows nothing by heart butawits [hymns], novenas, and the alleged miracles; whose amusement consists in playing panguingue [a card game] or in the frequent confession of the same sins?  What sons will she have but acolytes, priest’s servants, or cockfighters?  It is the mothers who are responsible for the present servitude of our compatriots, owing to the unlimited trustfulness of their loving hearts, to their ardent desire to elevate their sons  Maturity is the fruit of infancy and the infant is formed on the lap of its mother.  The mother who can only teach her child how to kneel and kiss hands must not expect sons with blood other than that of vile slaves.  A tree that grows in the mud is unsubstantial and good only for firewood.  If her son should have a bold mind, his boldness will be deceitful and will be like the bat that cannot show itself until the ringing of vespers.  They say that prudence is sanctity.  But, what sanctity have they shown us?  To pray and kneel a lot, kiss the hand of the priests, throw money away on churches, and believe all the friar sees fit to tell us; gossip, callous rubbing of noses. . . .

 

As to the mites and gifts of God, is there anything in the world that does not belong to God?  What would you say of a servant making his master a present of a cloth borrowed from that very master?  Who is so vain, so insane that he will give alms to God and believe that the miserable thing he has given will serve to clothe the Creator of all things?  Blessed be they who succor their fellow men, aid the poor and feed the hungry; but cursed be they who turn a dead ear to supplications of the poor, who only give to him who has plenty and spend their money lavishly on silver altar hangings for the thanksgiving, or in serenades and fireworks.  The money ground out of the poor is bequeathed to the master so that he can provide for chains to subjugate, and hire thugs and executioners.  Oh, what blindness, what lack of understanding.

 

Saintliness consists in the first place in obeying the dictates of reason, happen what may.  “It is acts and not words that I want of you,” said Christ.  “Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.”  Saintliness does not consist in abjectness, nor is the successor of Christ to be recognized by the fact that he gives his hand to be kissed.  Christ did not give the kiss of peace to the Pharisees and never gave his hand to be kissed.  He did not cater to the rich and vain; He did not mention scapularies, nor did He make rosaries, or solicit offerings for the sacrifice of the Mass or exact payments for His prayers.  Saint John did not demand a fee on the River Jordan, nor did Christ teach for gain.  Why, then, do the friars now refuse to stir a foot unless paid in advance?  And, as if they were starving, they sell scapularies, rosaries, bits, and other things which are nothing but schemes for making money and a detriment to the soul; because even if all the rags on earth were converted into scapularies and all the trees in the forest into rosaries, and if the skins of all the beasts were made into belts, and if all the priests of the earth mumbled prayers over all this and sprinkled oceans of holy water over it, this would not purify a rogue or condone sin where there is no repentance.  Thus, also, through cupidity and love of money, they will, for a price, revoke the numerous prohibitions such as those against eating meat, marrying close relatives, etc.  You can do almost anything if you but grease their palms.  Why that?  Can God be bribed and bought off, and blinded by money, nothing more nor less than a friar?  The brigand who has obtained a bull of compromise can live calmly on the proceeds of his robbery, because he will be forgiven.  God, then, will sit at a table where theft provides the viands?  Has the Omnipotent become a pauper that He must assume the role of the excise man or gendarme?  If that is the God whom the friar adores, then I turn my back upon that God.

 

Let us be reasonable and open our eyes, especially you women, because you are the first to influence the consciousness of man.  Remember that a good mother does not resemble the mother that the friar has created; she must bring up her child to be the image of the true God, not of a blackmailing, a grasping God, but of a God who is the father of us all, who is just; who does not suck the life-blood of the poor like a vampire, nor scoffs at the agony of the sorely beset, nor makes a crooked path of the path of justice.  Awaken and prepare the will of our children towards all that is honorable, judged by proper standards, to all that is sincere and firm of purpose, clear judgment, clear procedure, honesty in act and deed, love for the fellowman and respect for God; this is what you must teach your children.  And, seeing that life is full of thorns and thistles, you must fortify their minds against any stroke of adversity and accustom them to danger.  The people cannot expect honor nor prosperity so long as  they will educate their children in a wrong way, so long as the woman who guides the child in his steps is slavish and ignorant.  No good water comes from a turbid, bitter spring; no savory fruit comes from acrid seed.

 

The duties that woman has to perform in order to deliver the people from suffering are of no little importance, but be they as they may, they will not be beyond the strength and stamina of the Filipino people.  The power and good judgment of the women of the Philippines are well known, and it is because of this that she has been hoodwinked, and tied, and rendered pusillanimous, and now her enslavers rest at ease, because so long as they can keep the Filipina mother a slave, so long will they be able to make slaves of her children.  The cause of the backwardness of Asia lies in the fact that there the women are ignorant, are slaves; while Europe and America are powerful because there the women are free and well-educated and endowed with lucid intellect and a strong will.

 

We know that you lack instructive books; we know that nothing is added to your intellect, day by day, save that which is intended to dim its natural brightness; all this we know, hence our desire to bring you the light that illuminates your equals here in Europe.  If that which I tell you does not provoke your anger, and if you will pay a little attention to it then, however dense the mist may be that befogs our people, I will make the utmost efforts to have it dissipated by the bright rays of the sun, which will give light, thought they be dimmed.  We shall not feel any fatigue if you help us: God, too, will help to scatter the mist, because He is the God of truth: He will restore to its pristine condition the fame of the Filipina in whom we now miss only a criterion of her own, because good qualities she has enough and to spare.  This is our dream; this is the desire we cherish in our hearts; to restore the honor of woman, who is half of our heart, our companion in the joys and tribulations of life.  If she is a maiden, the young man should love her not only because of her beauty and her amiable character, but also on account of her fortitude of mind and loftiness of purpose, which quicken and elevate the feeble and timid and ward off all vain thoughts.  Let the maiden be the pride of her country and command respect, because it is a common practice on the part of Spaniards and friars here who have returned from the Islands to speak of the Filipina as complaisant and ignorant, as if all should be thrown into the same class because of the missteps of a few, and as if women of weak character did not exist in other lands.  As to purity what could the Filipina not hold up to others!

 

Nevertheless, the returning Spaniards and friars, talkative and fond of gossip, can hardly find time enough to brag and bawl, amidst guffaws and insulting remarks, that a certain woman was thus; that she behaved thus at the convent and conducted herself thus with the Spaniards who on the occasion was her guest, and other things that set your teeth on edge when you think of them which, in the majority of cases, were faults due to candor, excessive kindness, meekness, or perhaps ignorance and were all the work of the defamer himself.  There is a Spaniard now in high office, who has set at our table and enjoyed our hospitality in his wanderings through the Philippines and who, upon his return to Spain, rushed forthwith into print and related that on one occasion in Pampanga he demanded hospitality and ate, and slept at a house and the lady of the house conducted herself in such and such a manner with him; this is how he repaid the lady for her supreme hospitality!  Similar insinuations are made by the friars to the chance visitor from Spain concerning their very obedient confesandas, hand-kissers, etc., accompanied by smiles and very significant winkings of the eye.  In a book published by D. Sinibaldo de Mas and in other friar sketches sins are related of which women accused themselves in the confessional and of which the friars made no secret in talking to their Spanish visitors seasoning them, at the best, with idiotic and shameless tales not worthy of credence.  I cannot repeat here the shameless stories that a friar told Mas and to which Mas attributed no value whatever.  Every time we hear or read anything of this kind, we ask each other: Are the Spanish women all cut after the pattern of the Holy Virgin Mary and the Filipinas all reprobates?  I believe that if we are to balance accounts in this delicate question, perhaps, . . .  But I must drop the subject because I am neither a confessor nor a Spanish traveler and have no business to take away anybody’s good name.  I shall let this go and speak of the duties of women instead.

 

A people that respect women, like the Filipino people, must know the truth of the situation in order to be able to do what is expected of it.  It seems an established fact that when a young student falls in love, he throws everything to the dogs — knowledge, honor, and money, as if a girl could not do anything but sow misfortune.  The bravest youth becomes a coward when he married, and the born coward becomes shameless, as if he had been waiting to get married in order to show his cowardice.  The son, in order to hide his pusillanimity, remembers his mother, swallows his wrath, suffers his ears to be boxed, obeys the most foolish order, and and becomes an accomplice to his own dishonor.  It should be remembered that where nobody flees there is no pursuer; when there is no little fish, there can not be a big one.  Why does the girl not require of her lover a noble and honored name, a manly heart offering protection to her weakness, and a high spirit incapable of being satisfied with engendering slaves?  Let her discard all fear, let her behave nobly and not deliver her youth to the weak and faint-hearted.  When she is married, she must aid her husband, inspire him with courage, share his perils, refrain from causing him worry and sweeten his moments of affection, always remembering that there is no grief that a brave heart can not bear and there is no bitterer inheritance than that of infamy and slavery.  Open your children’s eyes so that they may jealously guard their honor, love their fellowmen and their native land, and do their duty.  Always impress upon them they must prefer dying with honor to living in dishonor.  The women of Sparta should serve you as an example should serve you as an example in this; I shall give some of their characteristics.

 

When a mother handed the shield to her son as he was marching to battle, she said nothing to him but this: “Return with it, or on it,” which mean, come back victorious or dead, because it was customary with the routed warrior to throw away his shield, while the dead warrior was carried home on his shield.  A mother received word that her son had been killed in battle and the army routed.  She did not say a word, but expressed her thankfulness that her son had been saved from disgrace.  However, when her son returned alive, the mother put on mourning.  One of the mothers who went out to meet the warriors returning from battle was told by one that her three sons had fallen.  I do not ask you that, said the mother, but whether we have been victorious or not.  We have been victorious — answered the warrior.  If that is so, then let us thank God, and she went to the temple.

 

Once upon a time a king of theirs, who had been defeated, hid in the temple, because he feared their popular wrath.  The Spartans resolved to shut him up there and starve him to death.  When they were blocking the door, the mother was the first to bring stones.  These things were in accordance with the custom there, and all Greece admired the Spartan woman.  Of all women — a woman said jestingly — only your Spartans have power over the men.  Quite natural — they replied — of all women only we give birth to men.  Man, the Spartan women said, was not born to life for himself alone but for his native land.  So long as this way of thinking prevailed and they had that kind of women in Sparta, no enemy was able to put his foot upon her soil, nor was there a woman in Sparta who ever saw a hostile army.

 

I do not expect to be believed simply because it is I who am saying this; there are many people who do not listen to reason, but will listen only to those who wear the cassock or have gray hair or no teeth; but while it is true that the aged should be venerated, because of their travails and experience, yet the life I have lived, consecrated to the happiness of the people, adds some years, though not many of my age.  I do not pretend to be looked upon as an idol or fetish and to be believed and listened to with the eyes closed, the head bowed, and the arms crossed over the breast; what I ask of all is to reflect on what I tell him, think it over and shift it carefully through the sieve of reasons.

 

First of all.  That the tyranny of some is possible only through cowardice and negligence on the part of others.

 

Second.  What makes one contemptible is lack of dignity and abject fear of him who holds one in contempt.

 

Third.  Ignorance is servitude, because as a man thinks, so he is; a man who does not think for himself and allowed himself to be guided by the thought of another is like the beast led by a halter.

 

Fourth.  He who loves his independence must first aid his fellowman, because he who refuses protection to others will find himself without it; the isolated rib in the buri is easily broken, but not so the broom made of the ribs of the palm bound together.

 

Fifth.  If the Filipina will not change her mode of being, let her rear no more children, let her merely give birth to them.  She must cease to be the mistress of the home, otherwise she will unconsciously betray husband, child, native land, and all.

 

Sixth.  All men are born equal, naked, without bonds.  God did not create man to be a slave; nor did he endow him with intelligence to have him hoodwinked, or adorn him with reason to have him deceived by others.  It is not fatuous to refuse to worship one’s equal, to cultivate one’s intellect, and to make use of reason in all things.  Fatuous is he who makes a god of him, who makes brutes of others, and who strives to submit to his whims all that is reasonable and just.

 

Seventh.  Consider well what kind of religion they are teaching you.  See whether it is the will of God or according to the teachings of Christ that the poor be succored and those who suffer alleviated.  Consider what they preaching to you, the object of the sermon, what is behind the masses, novenas, rosaries, scapularies, images, miracles, candles, belts, etc. etc; which they daily keep before your minds; ears and eyes; jostling, shouting, and coaxing; investigate whence they came and whiter they go and then compare that religion with the pure religion of Christ and see whether the pretended observance of the life of Christ does not remind you of the fat milch cow or the fattened pig, which is encouraged to grow fat nor through love of the animal, but for grossly mercenary motives.

 

Let us, therefore, reflect; let us consider our situation and see how we stand.  May these poorly written lines aid you in your good purpose and help you to pursue the plan you have initiated.  “May your profit be greater than the capital invested;” and I shall gladly accept the usual reward of all who dare tell your people the truth.  May your desire to educate yourself be crowned with success; may you in the garden of learning gather not bitter, but choice fruit, looking well before you eat because on the surface of the globe all is deceit, and the enemy sows weeds in your seedling plot.

 

All this is the ardent desire of your compatriot.

 

JOSÉ RIZAL