Every December 30, local government units are enjoined to honor our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. This is why we see wreath laying ceremonies in front of Rizal monuments in every town (come to think of it,which town has no monument?).
2011 is the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of Rizal's birth, so I figure we must do something really special this year. And then I got to thinking: What could be more commemorative of the greatness of a man than to honor the work for which he was pilloried?
Rizal was meted the death penalty for writing two subversive novels, the Noli Me Tangere and the El Filibusterismo, two novels which, according to the noted scholar Benedict Anderson, made us imagine our country for the first time as a community, as one comprised of Filipinos, not merely indios who were subjects of a distant empire. It was in the Noli and the Fili that we first read about ourselves. Those two novels, according to Anderson, invented in our minds the concept of our nation.
And what greater way to honor a literary work than to read it? So on December 29, 7 AM, we are going to begin a marathon reading of the Noli Me Tangere. We are seeking volunteer readers who will each read aloud two pre-assigned pages from the Noli and, as much as possible, deliver his reading dressed as a character from the novel. Everyone will also be encouraged to bring food and beverage mentioned in the novel.
We want to make the event global (Rizal, after all, was hopelessly itinerant) and thus we welcome readers from abroad who can deliver their reading pre-recorded or live via Skype or Yahoo video chat.
Venue is tentatively set at the Monreal Ruins (inside Bicol University Gubat) on Rizal Street.
If you want to join, send me a quick message at ronnelATgmailDOTcom or message me through facebook. I will email you your assigned pages. We plan to serve tinola and tsokolate of uniform viscosity for everyone, no ah no eh.