By Anton Lutter
The year 2021 marks the 130th anniversary of the publication of Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo. His second novel, in English known as The Reign of Greed, was banned as a result of portraying colonial abuse and corruption. First published in September 1891 in Ghent (Belgium), it had a profound effect on Philippine society especially on views of national identity.
For that reason, Philippines’ ambassador to The Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Jose Eduardo Malaya, recently visited the commemoration – organized by the Knights of Rizal – Ghent Chapter in cooperation with the City of Ghent. The first Dutch translation of El Filibusterismo by Mr. Gerard Arp in 2019 was presented to the Mayor of Ghent, Mr. Mathias de Clerq, by ambassador Malaya and Sir Anton Lutter, KCR, chapter commander of The Hague chapter.
Amongst the many prominent guests attending were the Philippines’ ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, H.E. Mr. Eduardo J. de Vega, the regional commander for Europe, Sir Albert Arevalo, KGOR, the area commander for Belgium, Sir Jim Rebong, KGOR and from The Hague chapter the former Utrecht provincial assemblyman, Sir Steef Klarenbeek, KOR.
The event consisted of a reception at Ghents historical city hall, exhibition of Rizal’s works and a grand dinner preceded by the chartering of the Knights of Rizal Gomburza chapter, earlier in the day there was a flower offering ceremony at the Jose Rizal marker at the building where El Filibusterismo was printed.
In his speech at the historic city hall of Ghent ambassador Malaya highlighted the importance of the literary masterpiece El Filibusterismo and spoke of how Jose Rizal was inspired by the Dutch book Max Havelaar written by Multatuli.