Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Rizal-Blumentritt (A Friendship That Started In Mistrust)

One thing the Blumentritt-Schuchardt Correspondence has revealed is that long before Jose Rizal and Ferninand Blumentritt were communicating with each other, Blumentritt was already in contact with some of the leading illustrados and Filipino intellectuals particularly Trinidad Pardo H. de Tavera and Isabelo de los Reyes. In early 1881,  Blumentritt came to know Tavera by chance. Helping Schuchardt with his “Studium” of creole languages in Santo Domingo (the Dominican Republic), Blumentritt came in contact with the secretary of the Dominican ambassador to Paris (2me Secrétaire de la Légation de la République Dominicaine) who happens to be Tavera. Blumentritt was also receiving journals and newspapers from Manila. He mentioned to Schuchhardt in their correspondence of receiving a letter from Isabelo de los Reyes. Finally in a letter dated 14 August 1886 Blumetritt wrote to Schuchardt:

“ In Heidelberg, Obere Neckarstraße 11 wohnt jetzt ein deutsch schreibender Tagale D. José Rizal, man muss diesem Schüler der Ges. Jesu gegenüber auf der Hut sein, sonst gibt er, das was man ihm mittheilt als sein eigenes "Product" zum besten. Er hat mich mit einem tagalischen Buche beschenkt” .

(In Heidelberg, Obere Neckarstraße 11 now lives a Tagalog who writes in German, D. Jose Rizal, one must be wary of this student of the Jesuits otherwise he might claim what one imparts to him as his own "Product ". He gifted me with a tagalog book”).

Incredibly Blumentritt mistrusted Rizal at the beginning: "gegenüber auf der Hut sein, sonst gibt er, das was man ihm mittheilt als sein eigenes "Product" zum besten, it simply meant copyright issue. Blementritt wrote that Rizal might claim that what he learns from them as his own.

Portion of the Blumentritt letter to Schuchardt dated 11 August 1886  (Univertity ogf Graz)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Blumentritt-Schuchardt Correspondence

I have always pointed out to colleagues who are somehow into Germanistik (German Studies), Philology and Philippine Studies the incredible amount of datas, studies, and possibilities that scholars could learn just researching on both the writings of Ferdinand Blumentritt and Rizal. University of Graz (Austria), few years ago opened their "Sammlung" or collection of the Blumentritt-Schuchardt Correspondence. Reading it, I was led to consider new territories understand the beginnings and the minds within the Rizal and Blumentritt freindship.

The letter posted here, was written by Blumentritt to the eminent German linguist Hugo Schuchardt (1842 – 1927). Their correspondence, that lasted for almost 30 years would often talk about Rizal, the Philippine languages and the situation in the country that time. Very interesting to point out also that this letter of Blumentritt to Schuchardt dated 2. January 1882 mentions a Filipino who Blumentritt contacted in Paris and who recently wrote him a letter. It turns out that Schuchardt that time was studying the "creole" languages, particularly that of the former Spanish colony in the Americas- Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Blumentritt who was somehow helping Shuchartdt with his study was led to the Embassy of Santo Domingo in Paris. He communicated with the secretary of the ambassador whom he thought to be from Santo Domingo, to his surprise the man is a Filipino,who wrote him this letter stating: "“Yo soy Filipino: he nacido en Manila y por eso me ofrecen tanto interés las obras que se ocupan de mi tan hermoso como desgraciado pais." That Filipino was Dr. Trinidad Pardo de H. Tavera, (who was also a scholar of Philippine languages and ethnography etc.).

Going through the Blumentritt-Schuchardt Correspondence opened up many horizons...incredibly many! One is how Blumentritt introduced Rizal and other Filipino ilustrados that time to the European intelligentsia, those were big personalities. Another field is the study of Philippine languages itself with both even discussing "chavacano" etc. I keep on saying, "there is a world out there."

The letter of Blumentritt to Schuchardt metioning Rizal (University of Graz)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Trial of Juan Luna. Paris 1892-1893 (And The Napoleonic Code. Article 324 )

Paris, France September, 1892, in a fit of rage with jealousy, Filipino painter Juan Luna shot his wife and mother in law at point blank. Luna claimed his wife was seeing a Frenchman and that they were lovers. He was subsequently arrested and held for almost half a year while the case against him was being heard. One claim of the defense that became an interesting point among historians and those who study the case, was the reality of Luna coming from a lower race and is susceptible to irrational acts, being a "sauvage" (savage/wild). February 1893, Luna was acquitted, the murder of his wife and mother in law was declared a crime of passion and owing it to the temporary insanity of Luna and him being a sauvage, he was given his freedom.

Juan Luna

The Napoleonic Code. Article 324
Actually, right from the very beginning of the procedure against Luna, the Tavera women would have no case because the very essence of the Napoleonic Code or "Civil des Français" (particularly that 1810 French Penal Code Article 324) and the prevailing norm of the society that time was "anti women". It gives leniency to the so called "honor killings". It permitted the murders of an unfaithful wife and her lover at the hand of her husband. In Luna's case, proving his innocence  was simply secondary, right from the start of the the trial the nature of the law is on his side.

The French Civil Code. Opening Page

The Napoleonic code- was established by Napoleon I in  1804, its core purpose was to uproot the existing feudal law but like all laws it must have had its own loopholes. The Penal Code Article 324 which was actually implemented in 1810, also greatly influenced if not reinforced the existing laws and traditions of many Middle East countries.
It was only in 1975 that France repealed Article 324.