Tuesday, May 12, 2009
[This letter was written in French, which Rizal knew well. Dr. Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austrian ethnologist, was of Rizal's good friends.]
Berlin, March 5, 1887
My dear friendd:
In your letter you chided me for my silence. You are right: forgetfulness is the death of friendship, but I would like to add that in true friendship, forgetfulness has no place, and this fact I will prove right now. For a long time past you have been wishing to read a novel written by me. you have been telling me that I should write something more serious, more lasting than articles that live only in the pages of the newspaper. Very well; in response to your wishes and letters, I am sendingyou by this mail my novel Noli Me Tangere. "Noli Me Tangere", words from the New Testament, means "Touch me not." The book contains subjects which until now nobody has dared talk about; so delicate are they that they cannot bear any touch. In this book I have attempted to do what no other person has been willing to do; I have tried to answer the calumnies that for centuries have been heaped upon us and our country. I have also descibed our social conditions, our mode of living, our belies, our hopes, our longings, our complains, and our sorrows.I have unmasked the hypocrisy which under the cloak of religion has impoverished and brutalized us. I have tried to show the difference between true religion and false religion, which fosters superstition and uses saintly words to draw our silver, to make us believe things which the true Catholic religion would never sanction if it only knew. I have brought to light evils which have been hiding behind external grandeur and brilliance of our government. I have dwelt at lenght on our mistakes, our vices, faults, and our holy resignation to what we think are inescapable miseries. Where I have found virtue, I have given sufficient praise for it; but I have not not wept over our ills. Instead, I have laughed at them. No one would like to read a book full of tears, and besides, laughter is the best means of concealing pain. The incidents which I have related are true and have actually occured; I can readily give proofs. My book contains defects from the literary or aesthetic point of view, but no one can rightly accuse me of not being impartial.