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BRIEF MESSAGES & LETTERS, 2001 - Present
TRIBUTE TO DOREEN GAMBOA FERNANDEZ
7 July 2002
We are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend Doreen. And we wish to extend our sincere condolences to her mother, Alicia, her sister Della and brother Nil, to all her nieces and nephews, and to her colleagues and friends.
While we grieve Doreen's leaving us, we celebrate her life and her achievements. We are inspired by her fruitful and meaningful service to the people.
We all knew Doreen. Some of us knew her since childhood. Others since the '60's, '70's, '80's and '90's, meeting and working with her in one or more of her numerous activities and in organizations to which she belonged.
Doreen had a high sense of patriotism, manifested in her various forms of participation in the struggle for national independence and democracy. This was especially so in the field of culture.
She was a literary and cultural critic and scholar and a promoter of the national cultural heritage. She took pride in our people and nation, and she used her numerous skills to make known their admirable aspects and in a didactic and pleasant way to point out their weaknesses.
We admire her acute sense of social justice, profound sympathy for the poor and oppressed and her readiness to stand up for their rights and interests.
Julie remembers approaching her for help in 1974. Doreen readily agreed to take on special tasks in the service of the people and in the resistance movement against the Marcos fascist dictatorship.
Julie is grateful for the advice and assistance she gave to the Free Jose Maria Sison Committee from 1982 to 1986.
Joma has always admired Doreenís progressive activism in the field of art and literature since the early 1970s. He was elated when soon after his release from military detention in 1986, he met her and she treated him and Julie to a delicious lunch of pagkaing masa that she loved in an Intramuros restaurant.
He felt honored when Doreen attended his lecture series on the Philippine crisis and revolution at the UP Asian Center from April to May 1986 and she subsequently computer-inputted and compiled his ten lectures.
He fondly remembers Doreen coming to Utrecht in the early 1990s to tape his narrative of experiences for her collection of oral history on the Philippine revolutionary movement. He regards Doreen as an outstanding scholar enriching the memory of our people.
Doreen, says Coni Ledesma was part of her childhood. One of the older cousins she looked up to. They did not get to see much of each other in their adult years, but Coni would hear of her achievements, read her columns and somehow kept in touch that way.
Doreen too continued to be interested in what Louie and she were doing. They connected again, and bonded when Doreen came to Utrecht in the early '90's, and they spent the whole day together.
They were again able to spend an afternoon together in January this year, when Coni was back in Manila for a visit. She was ever interested in our work, especially in the work among overseas Filipinos. A few weeks before her death, Coni received several of her books on Philippine food and culture. She sent these to help in the work among our compatriots abroad.
Mela Castillo Zumel remembers Doreen as a warm and gentle lady kasama, welcoming to her home those who resisted the fascist terror. She made her home available to them not only for meetings but also for rest and recreation both for them and for their children.
She remembers accompanying Doreen to a trip in Central Luzon. On the way they talked about social relevance in paintings and how hard it was for social realist artists to gain acceptance in the mainstream world of art.
Doreen will always live in the hearts and minds of those who had the privilege of knowing and working with her. And she will live on among the many Filipinos who have read her books and who, through her, will learn and be proud they are Filipinos.
Her death is heavier than the Sierra Madre
Julie de Lima