Next year, the country will be remembering the 115th anniversary of Rizal’s ‘Noli Me Tangere’ or ‘Huwag Mo Akong Salangin’ in Pilipino.
Several books have influenced Rizal’s work as stated by Benedict Anderson in his lecture entitled ‘The French Connection’. I had the opportunity to catch the event at the UP C.M. Recto Lecture Room, Faculty Center on January 23, 2004.
Anderson, a Cornell University professor, mentioned the book “Les Miserables” by Hugo as one of Rizal’s favorites. When the ‘Noli’ was being written, French intellectuals were taking their stand against bourgeoise values. This is one of the reasons why the Impressionist artists became popular (after a long time) as they made their artistic statements that ran against the style of the old school of academic art then.
Anderson mentioned other French writers such as Stephen Mallarme and Baudelaire. Anderson said that Rizal could have been using some of the literary devices preferred by these authors.
It really felt good to be in a typical “Cornell classroom” on that occasion and the lecture hall just couldn’t contain all the UP professors who wanted to listen to Benedict Anderson.
Despite Rizal’s seeming dislike for Spaniards, a research made by some scholars show that the hero had some kind words for the erstwhile corrupt rulers. Rizal wrote:
“We, Filipinos were well off with Spain…With Spain, notwithstanding all our complaints, we were united by three centuries of history, by one and the same religion, and by bonds of love and gratitude, things which we have not with any other nation…”
Today, many will disagree with this statement. It is however true that for all that they’ve done wrong, they have also done some things right. The Spaniards brought the cross to our shores. This cross that reminds us of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, has been with us for many centuries now. For all that we Filipinos are in the eyes of former colonial rulers, it is now good to know that we are different because we have the Christian Spirit in our native land. Read Psalm 8 verse 17 and you will know what will happen to a nation that forgets about the Lord.
I listened carefully to the good – looking Anderson and took down notes. Perhaps I can also say in all humility that I was able to attend a class in Cornell University ( New York) for two and a half hours…so to speak that is! : – D
Anderson, Benedict, The French Connection, Lecture on January 23, CM Recto Room,Faculty Center, UP Diliman, Q.C. , 2004.
Anderson, Benedict, Under Three Flags, Anvil Publishing & B. Anderson, 2005.
Eitner,L.,19th Century European Painting, Harper Collins, 1987, 1988, 1992.
Imperial, Princess, Healing the Rift w/ Spain, in KALAYAAN, March 1998, page 8.
THE HOLY BIBLE, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982.