Saturday, March 25, 2006

Event brings together writers, activists and political personalities

Quezon City, 24 March -- The Foundation for Nationalist Studies (FNS) today launched the book The Poverty of Memory: Essays on History and Empire by Renato Redentor Constantino in an event that brought together a hundred guests and attended by writers, activists and political personalities. The event was held at the Balay Kalinaw in the University of the Philippines Diliman Campus.

The launching of the book was celebratory and at the same time solemn as the book's author, a grandson of the late nationalist and historian Renato Constantino, reminded the audience of the need to "remember, rejoice and resist as we confront the twin threats of global and national tyranny." According to Constantino, "the book is, above all, about remembering. It is not only our duty to stand together against the ambitions of empire and small-minded despots; we must also strive to remember together if we wish to build a common peaceful and sustainable future," said the writer.

In his review of the book, the banker and writer Dean de la Paz remarked, "History is not just dates, places and people. For history to matter, it must transform. If that be the measure of history, then Constantino's book is perhaps one of history's most eloquent essays." Lourdes Molina-Fernandez, the editor of the Business Mirror newspaper, described Constantino's essays in the foreword she wrote for the book as "history and the breaking story in one seamless tapestry."

The event was graced by personalities such as former senator Wigberto Tanada, Cong. Del de Guzman, Cong. Rene Magtubo and Cong. Mayong Aguja, including the eminent scholar Bienvenido Lumbera and activists such as Carol Araullo of Bayan, Wilson Fortaleza of Sanlakas and the political economist and author Walden Bello of Akbayan.

"It is difficult to follow the footsteps of a famous grandfather because people are prone to compare him with the ancestor whose name he bears," said the former president of the University of the Philippines, Francisco Nemenzo. "But Red Constantino, in The Poverty of Memory, compels us to judge him on his own terms," said Nemenzo.

The book's author opened the event with a statement of solidarity against authoritarianism. "I am not an Arab or a Muslim or a member of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. But for the purposes of the malevolent anti-Left, the anti-Muslim and the anti-Arab, I am an Arab, a Muslim and a member of Bayan," said Constantino. The writer also slammed the Armed Forces of the Philippines for targeting journalists and called on its leadership to immediately drop from its "order of battle" Negros-based journalist Julius Mariveles, the news director of Aksyon Radyo-Bacolod.

The Foundation for Nationalist Studies has been publishing progressive literature for thirty years. The Poverty of Memory: Essays on History and Empire is available at leading bookstores. Direct orders from the FNS will receive hefty discounts. Call 3732505, 09173814172 or email lrc_fns(at)yahoo(dot)com. For press inquiries, contact the same details and look for Emily.


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