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Rede auf der internationalen Tagung der Kababaihang Rizalista in Heidelberg
gehalten am 22.10.2006
Dear Ladies of the Kababaihang Rizalista! Dear Confraters of the Order of the Knighths of Rizal!
First of all many thanks for your kind invitation to your important meeting and my congratulations to the first anniversary of the foundation of your chapter.
I am really happy to be here with you to celebrate the important event. The only problem is the distance of 600 km between Heidelberg/Wilhelmsfeld and Berlin.
But nevertheless, we know how much Jose Rizal travelled across Germany under the conditions of a very poor infrastructure of that time. I remember, one day in 1986 Prof. Esteban de Ocambo and me went by car from Manila to Calamba and he told me: „You see, Jose Rizal had gone this way always on foot.“
During my active time in Manila, my work as German Ambassador to the Philippines I met many female scientists at the UP who were really annoyed not to be able to become a member of the order of Knighths of Rizal because the charter of the order founded in 1909 as a patriotic organisation of men denies the membership of women in the order. Especially femninists criticised the order for that.
Therefore it was a very important event that in 1959 the Kababaihang Rizalista was founded. At the instigation of the Supreme Commander of the order of the Knighths of Rizal ,
Sir Hermenegildo Reyes the Kababaihang Rizalista was fonded by Dr. Severina Luna Orosa, a well- known physician and philanthropist. The social and civic organisation was registered on April 29th 1959 by the Securities and Exchange Commission in Manila and was recognised by the order of the Knighths of Rizal as partner organisation. The two organisations cooperate in a very friendly atmosphere, help each other in a very amicable way. This cooperation is very important in order to organise together the study and the propagandation of the ideas, ideals, teachings and writings of the Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal!
Only 25 days ago there was the 48th anniversary of the foundation of the Kababaihang Rizalista. September 27th is the Foundation Day of your organisation. A small group of 20 foundation members organised the Kababaihang Rizalista. First President of the Kababaihang Rizalista was Dr. Encarnacion Alzona, a professor of history at the UP. She translated the entire exchange of letters of Dr. Jose Rizal, his essays and other writings for the Centennial Edition of the Rizal National Commission.
In 1932 Lady Alzona wrote the first scientific history of education in the Philippines which is said to be the first serious book written by a Filipina woman.
Second President became the founder of the organisation Lady Dr. Severina Luna Orosa. She and her husband Dr. Sixto Orosa were ardent Rizalists and nationalists.
Out of the small group of 20 women the Kababaihang Rizalista became a big organisation which has to-day chapters not only in the Philippines but in many other countries, for instance in Germany, in Belgium, in the USA, in Canada, Great Britain, in Spain.
To-day we have 26 active chapters with nearly 2000 members, among them of course your chapter which is really very important because Jose Rizal liked the area of Heidelberg-Wilhelmsfeld very much.
We all know that 120 years ago Jose Rizal stayed in Wilhelmsfeld and celebrated his 25th birthday together with the familiy of Pfarrer Karl Ullmer.
Jose Rizal would be very happy about the existence of your chapter and would write – I am sure – another poem not only about the flowers of Heidelberg but about the Ladies of Heidelberg.
There are 4 other chapters of the Kababaihang Rizalista in Germany – the Hamburg chapter, the Bonn chapter, the Köln chapter and the Berlin-Brandenburg chapter. I am very glad that I have had the honour to have been guest at the chapters in Köln, Hamburg and Potsdam, now last but not least guest at the chapter in Heidelberg/Wilhelmsfeld.
The Hamburg chapter was founded on June 9th 5years ago, the Berlin-Brandenburg chapter in Potsdam on August 14th 2 years ago. Lady Stella Pimentel Schnell is the initiator, organiser and President of the charter of Berlin-Brandenburg. I am sure she can help you a lot in developing your chapter. Your chapter is extremely important for the Kababaihang Rizalista, because the location is a special area in order to remember the Philippine national hero and to honour him, to propagate his ideals and teachings. Not far from your chapter there is Lady Jane Mushake, the Over-all Coordinator and Advisor of the Kababaihang Rizalista for Europe. I am sure she is always ready to give you a helping hand and to give you professional advices. Sir Alexander Mushake, the Knight Grand Cross of the order of the Knights of Rizal, Senior Executive Assistant to the Supreme Commander and Over-all Advicer of the Knighths of Rizal for Europe is the most important man in Europe to assist your efforts.
Two years ago he called me on telephone. He is the man responsible for the fact that since than I have been actively involved in the different events of the Knights of Rizal and the Ladies of Rizal. I am very happy about that!
We all know that Jose Rizal held woman in high esteem and expected much from her.
„If she is a maiden“, he pointed out, „let her be loved not only for her beauty and amicable character, but also for strength of mind and loftiness of purpose which enliven and raise the feeble and the timid and ward of vile thoughts. Let her be the pride of the country and let her command respect.“
My very good friend Prof. Esteban de Ocambo declared in his „Rizal’s Legacy to the Filipino young women“: Our hero’s most important legacy to the Filipino young women is the collection of progressive and modern ideas on the education and training of our girls and women.“
So, my dear friends, in this sense I wish you much success in your important activities, all the best in your life!
Thank you very much for your kind attention!